Surveys – What Are the Promises & Pitfalls?

Surveys are often snubbed as time-consuming, costly, nonessential activities, particularly during tight financial times. However, they can be effectively used to encourage a culture of employee engagement. In addition to general staff surveys, you may also survey your managers to find out how well they understand their roles in communicating the mission, goals and needs of the business unit with their staff.
First, we’ll look at the benefits (promises) of surveys and how you may use the information you gain, and then I will tell you about the pitfalls. There are significant benefits gained when you ask managers and staff about their openness to new ideas. It’s helpful for your leadership to know if your staff has a readiness to change. It offers you a method of having two-way communication with your employees in a non-threatening way.

Other survey benefits may impact profitability and includes such items as:
? Staff proficiency – Ask:
o How well do they focus on operational excellence and what’s being done right?
o What additional knowledge do the employees need to perform their job?
o Do they have the resources available to complete their tasks?
? Compliance with regulations – both internal and external
? Motivation and success of the organization, and commitment of the staff
? Monitor aspects of the company’s culture

I have found three major pitfalls of surveys with negative consequences. You may know of others, but these stand out.
1. Questions asked cover too broad of a scope and are not specific to the target audience.
2. Staff is hesitant to respond for fear of repercussions.
3. Not knowing what you want to measure and how you will share the results.
– Prior to writing the survey question, ask ‘Is this important to us? And, what are we going do as a result of the survey?’

These pitfalls tend to lead to complacency within the organization. And, in a worst-case scenario, if you don’t take action, nothing will change, or it may even decline. Make your surveys count and give managers and employees the ability to share their knowledge with others in the organization. Avoid the tendency of many organizations that use surveys and fail to act on the results. With properly conducted surveys, you can meet greater business challenges with wider acceptance and profitable results.

Create Unforgettable Outcomes (R)

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