DWP Insights: Polls & Surveys

A previous blog’s article showed that an effective innovation strategy within an organisation can rely on an ideation platform in order to source and enrich ideas from all employees.  However, innovation can also use polls and surveys to find out what employees think about certain issues, the direction of research projects, new developments or potential ideas. This article recalls the definition of polls and surveys, how to effectively create them and which advantages do they bring to the organisation.

DWP InsightsPolls & Surveys Definition

A poll is usually composed of a single multiple-choice open-end question. Participants can choose from among pre-defined answers. They can select just one or several answers. If requested, the “Other” field can be added, which allows participants entering their own answer. An example of a poll would be:

  • What do you think of our new website?
    • It looks great
    • It is alright
    • I prefer the old site

A poll is ideal for getting quickly a general overview of employee’s opinion about a specific product, process, service… It is however limited to the pre-defined answers.

A survey is more comprehensive than a poll since it is usually composed of several questions across a wider range of question types: multiple-choice, close-ended questions, open-ended questions… Here is an example of a survey:

  • Please provide your name
  • Please provide your email address
  • What do you think of our new website?
    • It looks great
    • It is alright
    • I prefer the old site
  • What recommendations would you offer for improving the website?

Compared to a poll, a survey is more time-consuming to fill but it gets more detailed answers and provides a more comprehensive picture of the employees’ thoughts and feelings.

Polls & Surveys Generation Rules

Employees have already enough to do at work and answering to polls and surveys is not at the top of their priorities. In order to encourage employees to fill them, polls and surveys need to be attractive. For this purpose, the following rules1 can be of a great help:

  • Keep them short: polls and especially survey need to be concise and to the point. More than twenty questions may have a negative impact on the participation’s level
  • Provide a timeframe: employees appreciate a rough time estimate for the polls and surveys completion since they have a better idea of what they are in for
  • Seek guidance: some questions should not have a definitive answer. This gives more freedom to the employees, who can say what is really in their mind
  • Provide incentives: like for an efficient ideation platform, rewarding mechanisms increase the employees’ participation rate
  • Share the results: since employees provided their answers, it is worth to share with them the results. This approach demonstrates the value of their participation
  • Show your gratitude: a personalized message thanking the employees for their participation increase their feeling of inclusion and lead to loyalty

Polls & Surveys Advantages

If polls and surveys are effectively generated, they can bring many advantages2 to the organisation:

  • Versatility: both tools can be used to measure a variety of things inside the organisation; from employee satisfaction to opinion surveys about organisation’s policies and procedures, all aspects can be covered by these tools
  • Anonymity: many employees are reluctant to share their true opinions for fear they will be criticized or terminated. Anonymous polls and surveys can provide honest and insightful feedback that employees might not be comfortable to bring in person
  • Inclusion: carrying-out polls and surveys show the employees that their opinions count within the organisation. This will build the employee’s morale, especially if their opinions are implemented in the workplace. In turn, it will increase their loyalty
  • New ideas: similarly to an ideation platform, polls and surveys allow employees to suggest new ideas or concepts, which can bring an added value to the organisation
  • Sensitivity: polls and surveys that invite employees to share concerns about the workplace can discover underlying issues e.g. an employee being intimated by a co-worker
  • Reduced turn-over: conducting exit surveys can improve the organisation’s processes and reduce the turn-over. For instance, if an employee leaves because there was no potential for growth, it may be worth establishing a mentoring program and cross-training for employees interested in moving up in the organisation.

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DWP Insights: Polls & Surveys
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DWP Insights: Polls & Surveys
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Atos Consulting CH
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