It’s no secret that the world we do business in is changing, and changing fast. Organisations have to do more with less in order to remain competitive. The effects of this are felt by all, regardless of their hierarchical position. It is often difficult for C-level staff to make changes which accurately reflect the desires of those employees at the coalface. A commonly used, cost-effective solution to identify a wide variety of employee feedback is surveying.

When IT managers run their surveys properly, it can provide decision makers with an abundance of important information. It is a perfect tool for making long-term positive changes. However, when the survey is inefficiently run it can produce damaging results and limit the ability to run future surveys. Here are 3 common mistakes when surveying internally that we have noticed over the years.

  1. Ineffective questions

The ideal questions to include in any end-user surveying are the ones which come across in a clear. A concise manner which leaves no room for personal interpretation or doubt. Asking a double-barrelled question should certainly be high on your list of things to avoid in your own internal survey. A double-barrelled question occurs when multiple questions are merged into one. Is might often be an attempt to shorten surveys and extract more information with fewer total questions. An example of a double-barrelled question could be: How satisfied are you with your direct workplace environment and general facilities? As a tip, double-barrelled questions often include the word “and”. If you notice this, you should relook at the question to make sure it is asking for the information you’re looking for.

Leading Questions

Further common mistakes when surveying internal end users include leading questions & emotionally-loaded questions. A leading question is one which has been incorrectly designed and leads down a particular path. These questions do not allow respondents to make up their mind entirely on their own. An example of a leading question could be: Employees who are satisfied with their workspace produce better results. How satisfied are you with your workspace? You can often avoid these leading statements altogether by taking a step back and approaching them with a more neutral tone of voice.

Emotionally-loaded Questions

Finally, an emotionally-loaded question, or an emotionally-charged question, is one which incites or places a certain ‘emotional’ image in the mind of the respondent, ultimately shifting their perception due to this emotional shock. An emotionally-loaded question will skew your data and not provide you with your end user’s true views. An example of an emotionally-loaded question could be: How satisfied would you be if we were to offer you a new role within your department? There are a time and place to utilise emotionally-loaded questions. However, for the purposes of an internal surveying, you’re looking to receive true information without any form of bias.

  1. Lack of clear communication while surveying

It is incredibly important to place an emphasis on communication upfront, during & post the surveying. We frequently run into managers who have previously run surveys without utilising these basic principles. Their feedback to us outlines many things, but a common recurring theme is that there is a lot of confusion from their respondents. For example, why they should go out of their way to provide feedback when previous surveys have done nothing to incite noticeable change.

Your initial communication should include reasons why this internal surveying is important. You should communicate how it will ultimately assist them to do their job better, what would the ideal outcome be. Communication during your surveys should be in the form of reminders. These should reiterate why it’s crucial to receive this information from them and provide an additional survey invitation link to them. Finally, this post-survey communication should outline the positive changes that were made as a result of this survey. Your experiences as a leadership team in general and what learning points you’ve identified for future surveys should be here as well.

  1. Attempting to obtain too much too soon

Your organisation should see surveying as an ongoing process. It should not be a one-off attempt at obtaining every piece of information possible. As alluded to above, the business environment is ever-changing. A frequent flow of information will allow you to stay informed year-round. Having a long-term plan to extract information from your end users will produce far better results. Thankfully, there is an easy workaround that we advise. Run an Overall survey upfront where you briefly touch on a wide variety of topics. Utilise that information to dive deeper into certain aspects in follow-up surveys. When surveying, you should want to keep things short, sharp and to the point. It will allow you to increase the frequency and ultimately, the flow of information.

Remember, keep surveys simple, short and transparent. Do this in order to greatly benefit yourself in the long run and to avoid these common mistakes when surveying internally. 

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