Here are some tips on how to get the best results from surveys.
It seems like surveys are being used everywhere. From doctor’s visits to car repairs to online shopping, we are often asked to complete a survey. What do organizations really gain from the results, and does it make a significant difference?
Maximizing Survey Success
Define the Goal. One survey can’t capture every aspect of your business. Define the goal and then design the questions around that objective. To measure customer service, focus the questions on human interactions. If you want to measure your software, ask questions about usage and results. Do not try to mix customer service with technology – limit the survey to the goal at hand.
Carefully Craft the Questions. Nothing is worse than agreeing to a survey, thinking it will take a few minutes, and then opening it to see 30 questions. If you are like me, you quickly log out. Limit questions to less than 10. Closed-ended questions with pre-populated answers are easier for respondents to answer. Open-ended questions are valuable, too, but should be limited in number and placed at the end of the survey. Don’t ask leading questions and avoid absolutes, like “always” and “never.”
Know the WHY. Before you ask, consider how the results will impact your overall mission and goal. Are you measuring the right things? Will you be able to make changes based on the results? Are changes even possible?
Analyze Data Appropriately. Consider how you view the results and who has access to it. Artificial intelligence and outside consultants can help you analyze data with an unbiased perspective. Will the results be confidential or shared with others? Which stakeholders, if any, should have access to the information? Trends may appear as well as specific flaws; before jumping to conclusions or making rash decisions, consult with others.
Work with HR. Survey results may have an impact on your people, and HR can help. There may be insight into the work quality of specific departments or individuals. Your PEO or HR department can help you determine the next steps, such as coaching or a performance improvement plan. When results are exceptional, use the opportunity to praise performance and celebrate success. And ask yourself if the measurements are fair. I have been asked by individuals to give them a 5-star rating, or else they would be disciplined. This doesn’t make sense. A survey should be used to improve, and employee evaluations should not be solely tied to the results.
Surveys can be very helpful tools for businesses to streamline processes, evaluate tools, and improve customer service. Yet, if not used properly, they are just a waste of time. Businesses need to evaluate what they gain from the questionnaires and how they can be used for growth. Modern survey platforms are wonderful ways to gather information and hear directly from your customers. But don’t forget that old-fashioned conversations with your clients are the ultimate test of your service. As a leader, it is important to spend time with your customers and to spend time considering your clients’ experience. Good leaders gather data, talk to employees, evaluate staffing needs, and spend time in the trenches to see what adjustments need to be made.
About Lee Yarborough, Propel HR President
Active in many professional and community organizations, Lee recently served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO). As NAPEO Chair, Lee focused on diversity and initiatives to deepen member relations. Under her leadership, she formed Women in NAPEO (WIN), a networking group designed to engage, empower, and encourage women working in the PEO industry. In 2023, she was honored with the NAPEO Michaeline A. Doyle Award for her leadership and contributions to the PEO industry.
On the local level, Lee also served as the Chair of NAPEO’s Carolinas Leadership Council for more than a decade. In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the eleventh class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and an Aspen Global Leadership Network member.
An advocate for public education, Lee has served on the executive board as Chair of Public Education Partners and is the founder and director of Read Up Greenville, a young adult and middle grades book festival in downtown Greenville, SC.
When she breaks from board meetings, client visits, and networking, you will most likely find Lee reading, camping, or spending time with her family. She also enjoys volunteering at her church and staying involved with her children's schools.
About Propel HR. Propel HR is an IRS-certified PEO that has been a leading provider of human resources and payroll solutions for more than 25 years. Propel partners with small to midsized businesses to manage payroll, employee benefits, compliance and risks, and other HR functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and reduces costs. Visit our new website, www.propelhr.com.