Sunday, October 19, 2008


I often hear: if you don't know the answer to something, you should ask. So, who better to ask then the people you are there for, right?

Last week I was invited to participate in 2 different surveys. One from my employer and one from a web community.

The employer survey went like this:
  1. An enterprise email from the Behavior Improvement Team (sic) promising it will only take 20 minutes and is anonymous.
  2. 29 questions, of which 25 are required.
  3. When you put the first 5 questions together, you can figure out who the responder is.
  4. A follow-up enterprise email stating that it really is anonymous.
The web community survey went as follows:

Q1: How likely are you to attend and event in Milwaukee?
A: 1 (unlikely) to 10 (very likely)

Q2: What is the reason for your answer?
A: a text box where I can enter my reason how ever I choose.

So what's the point of highlighting these two surveys?

The web community survey made me feel as if a real person was reading the responses. Then this real person would actually use these responses to determine if the event was good as stated, or needed to be modified. Also whether Milwaukee is a good choice of location. Two thoughtful answers from one question for less than 2 minutes of interruption from it's constituents.

My employer's survey, felt more like bait and switch. True, employee satisfaction is meatier than a one-time event, but... (1) a Behavior Improvement Team feels like something you would encounter in a Corrections Facility, (2) multiple promises of anonymity makes me feel they don't mean it, (3) previous similar activities resulted in no action.

Wouldn't it have been better for the employer to actually observe their constituents, make changes accordingly, and lead with action not words? This builds trust. Then they could use the survey tool for one topic such as "Do you know how you fit into the company mission?"

I don't think organizations want to intentionally irritate or insult their constituents.

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