Here are three elements of a survey that can lead to failure or success:
1. The survey is complicated or confusing
To fail: Questions are double-barreled or measure two different things. Both negatively worded and positively worded statements are used in the survey. Different rating scales are used. These types of questions provide mixed results, as participants have interpreted the questions differently.
To succeed: The survey should be easy to read, understandable, simple and straightforward. Ensure their responses will be confidential, and not result in any backlash from senior leaders. Be honest from the beginning about how long the survey will take. (Longer than ten minutes, and you’ll be in jeopardy of hitting the non-completion zone. Limit your survey to fifteen questions.)
2. Survey results are not fed back to respondents
To fail: The longer you wait to get survey results into the hands of stakeholders, the more they assume that the results will mean bad news. Even worse, no results are published.
To succeed: Get results back as soon as possible. A good time frame for this is no later than thirty days after senior management has reviewed the data.
3. There is no follow up on feedback
To fail: The number one contributor to ‘survey fatigue’ is setting a pattern that those surveyed learn they have wasted their time, and actions are never taken as a result of their feedback.
To succeed: Communicate the results of the survey with your team and our stakeholders. Share plans with them on how you are going to follow through on the feedback.
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