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Help / FAQ - Workforce Surveys


Survey Questions
Mandatory Questions:

Why the "mandatory" baseline questions? These questions have a proven track record of getting at your employees thoughts and ideas. These questions are widely used by business rating companies and by companies like yours who have earned (or are striving for) the U.S. Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, US state awards for excellence or other globally recognized quality award organizations. Compare your data to others.

Additional Questions:

Why add more questions? The purpose of the additional questions is to allow you freedom in asking questions that may have additional relevance to your organization.

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Survey Title

Your title will appear on the actual survey page that your users will see when they begin the survey. It will also be the title used on your resulting report.We suggest you include a date or year in your survey. This will help when you conduct your next survey... you'll be able to easily distinguish between the surveys. Sample titles:

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Survey Instructions
The purpose of the instructions is to:

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Survey Start and End Dates

The Start Date is the date you have chosen to make you survey "active." At 12:01 AM (CST) your survey will be accessible via the internet to your employees. The End Date is the date on which your survey will be made "inactive." At 11:59 PM (CST) on that date, your survey will no longer be accessible for input data via the internet. The survey results report will be sent to you within five (5) business days.

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What do you mean by "Favorable" and "Unfavorable"? Your Favorable score is a combination of the Agree and Strongly Agree Responses. Unfavorable is a combination of the Strongly Disagree and Disagree answers. View Sample Survey and Report.

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What can be done to encourage our employees/staff to want to participate in this survey process?

Prior to your survey becoming active you might want to consider several methods to promote participation. Some organizations have senior leaders announce the survey at "All Employee Meetings" or in broadcast emails, some post notices on break room bulletin boards and some announce surveys in pay envelopes. What you do depends on what you believe works best for your organization and that will generate the most positive and excited feeling for your employees. Seeking and acting on the input of employees is what high-performance organizations do. Make this a positive experience for everyone involved.

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How long does it take to complete a full survey (112 questions)?

Under normal circumstances a full survey will take 15-20 minutes to read and respond.

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How do I decide how many participants to order surveys for?

You want to purchase enough participant surveys to ensure that everyone in your organization who desires to participate has an opportunity to do so. However, there is no reason to buy a great deal more than you need. Ask HR or your payroll administrator how many employees currently work for your company/organization. Consider purchasing 90-95% of that number.

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How do I determine what questions to ask?

Surveys cost money. Unless you have money sitting around to burn, why craft survey questions that simply lead people to the answer you want to hear?

What about those questions that give you useless data? WOW - all of that wasted money and energy getting answers you either already know or that won't open eyes to the opportunities to improve your business or give you anything to act upon... remember, just because data exists doesn't make it useful.

It's an easy trap to fall into to craft a survey leading a responder to the answer you want.
For example: "Continued employment is important to me."

You will probably get favorable responses from the vast majority of your employees and lots of good warm feelings thinking you've actually learned something. But consider... what have you learned that is of value? There's just no surprise here.

It's just as easy to craft a question that will provide you new, but meaningless data.
Try this one: "Most employees feel free to voice their opinion openly at our company."

We have seen favorable scores (Strongly Agree and Agree) for this question as low as 46.2%. This says 53.8% of the employees don't think others feel free to voice their opinion." What do you do with that information? Is it valid to base actions on what one person believes another is thinking? You still haven't gotten at Jane's problem - you're just getting at what Joe believes Jane has a problem with.

At that same company, on the same survey employees were also asked to score "I feel free to voice my opinion openly at our company."

The score to this question was 76.9% favorable (Strongly Agree and Agree). Now, this begins to get at actionable and meaningful data. I can now present the question to employees and ask, "Why don't you feel free to voice your opinion?" This is real - I can tell you what I think - in a "safe" environment.

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I want to write my own workforce survey, is that a good idea?

We don't recommend writing your own workforce survey for several reasons:

  1. While you're probably a very good leader in your field of expertise, unless you've been trained to write survey questions, it's probably safer to use questions that have been tested over time by top companies and organizations around the world. You may save your organization time and money in the long run.

  2. You want your employees to have confidence that the origin of their responses is kept confidential. One of the great temptations of writing custom surveys is to include information such as corporate/organizational logos, lingo or phrases that are frequently used only in your organization, and questions that pertain only to your firm. While at first glance this might seem good, to an employee who wants to be open and honest with their responses, this may cause concern that the collection of the data they supply is less than anonymous.

  3. If you intend to measure the success or failure rate of the adjustments you make as a result of your data, you need to make sure that the collecting entity can and will retain your raw data for comparison purposes. Otherwise, at the very least you'll be increasing your own workload to do so.

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What can be done to ensure the highest level of honest feedback from those taking the survey?

Several things need to be considered...

For example:

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Why would I want to add demographics to my survey?

In addition to the overall statistics provided by your survey, you may find it useful to know a bit more about how segments of your company/organization responded to each statement of the survey.

For example:
For the statement, "I am satisfied with the recognition I receive when I do a good job." - Suppose your overall company/organization score is 75% favorable (in agreement with the statement). You might find it interesting to learn that when the score is broken down into "management vs. non-management" the score is 90% favorable for management but only 60% favorable for non-management personnel. Or if you have selected demographics by location, that people in the "northern region" score 80% favorable while people in the "southern region" only 65% agreed with this statement.

Consider how learning specific scores by department, tenure, job level, job function or location will assist you in making the best decisions.

One of the best opportunities found with this option is for internal education, training and mentoring. From your scores you can determine who in your organization is the "best" in any area. You may want to ask these leaders to help train and mentor others for similar results.

For each demographic report you select, 50 cents per person surveyed will be added to the total cost of your survey. You will be asked later in the purchase process to define up to 20 demographic divisions (labels) per demographic selected. Help will be provided there as well.

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How do I decide what demographic divisions should be used to maximize the effectiveness of our reports?

When determining what demographic divisions (labels) will help you make solid business decisions from the results of your survey consider:

  1. The size of the various demographic options. For example, if you decide to make a label called "Accounting Department" under the Department demographic but this department only has one or two people in it, these people may be hesitant to provide you with completely candid remarks for fear they could be identified by this demographic label. It may be prudent to group some areas together if the label you are considering has less that 5-6 people. If you decide to do this simply place all the groups together on one label with commas or dashes between the groups -- e.g. "Accounting, Audit, IT" may be one label. Another label may be "Sales and Customer Support."

  2. When selecting labels make sure that you name the labels something that your staff can understand and identify with. Ask yourself, if you chose "Administration" as a label under the Department demographic heading, do the people in that "department" know that is what they are called?

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What is the difference between TRADITIONAL and CONTEMPORARY responses? How do I decide which is best for our organization?

Depending on the culture of your business/organization you may elect to use traditional responses or contemporary responses. To choose the proper response type for your survey consider:

  1. If your organization is more formal in nature (structured hierarchy, more written than oral communication, strong policies and procedures) traditional responses may fit your survey better. These responses are Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree and Strongly Agree.

  2. If your organization is less formal in nature (somewhat flattened organizational chart, mostly oral communications, less structured policies and procedures) contemporary responses may fit your survey better. These responses vary from question to question but contain responses such as: No, Not at All, Somewhat True, Definitely, Absolutely True, etc.

Consider your workforce. Choose the response type that would make them feel more comfortable, thus encouraging them to give you maximum information from the survey.

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How long is the order process (in terms of time)?

The order process is simple and straightforward. Depending on the number of people you want involved with the question selection process (some organizations want to use a committee or team to select the survey questions and some want only one or two people to complete this task), the actual order time requires about 15-20 minutes.

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How are results tabulated so that wise business decisions can be made from what you learn?

Consider your audience. Who in your organization will read and make decisions based on the results feedback? Who will want:

Do you have the time and expertise to convert your survey response data into a spreadsheet program and then produce different reports that are useful and meaningful to your decision-makers?


Do your results vary from department to department, location by location? Do your "new hires" think differently than employees who have been with the company/organization for an extended period of time? Demographics are not only interesting, they are often quite useful to preparing an action plan based on the results of your survey.

Analyzing & Benchmarking:

What do the numbers mean?

Action Planning:

Once you have the data accumulated, what are you going to do with it? It is often helpful to learn what other companies/organizations have done to improve performance in their "problem" areas.

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