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HR & Employee Surveys

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    Do your employees think your company belongs on a best places to work list?

    It's that time of the year again. Allergy season? March madness? Yes, those too, but more importantly it's time for the Best Places to Work survey results to come out! Some believe that getting on lists from publications like AdAge or Washingtonian is about frivolous self-promotion and is a waste of time. But those articles continue to be hugely popular for a reason, so it's certainly worth a shot to make use of a potentially powerful recruiting tool.

    What are the common characteristics of those companies that repeatedly top the lists? Here are a few, based on results from AdAge, Washingtonian, Glassdoor, and CNNMoney:

    • Personal touches, such as hand-written birthday cards and one-on-one meetings with executives make employees feel valued by upper level management. 
    • Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? Some offices offer monthly catered lunch, stocked refrigerators, happy hours and homemade breakfasts. Just like Mom's house!
    • Family-friendly companies offer flexible work schedules, childcare and breastfeeding rooms to encourage work-life balance.
    • Workers who are in shape and healthy are less likely to use sick leave and run up high health insurance bills. So offering gym membership and well-being subsidies, like many "best of" companies do, is a win-win.
    • Employees realize that they're at work to do work, so make it worth their while. The companies at the top of the list tend to focus on training and development, challenging their people often.
    • And of course, who doesn't like a raise or bonus? Don't forget the value of a great compensation package.

    You don't have to wait till these articles come out to find out if you'll be on the list. Be proactive! Start polling current employees to see if they think you would make the cut by sending out a firm-wide employee satisfaction survey. If the results aren't terribly flattering, figure out why and what you can do to fix them. If your employees think your company is a great place to be, don't be afraid to advertise those selling points to prospective employees and, if it's something you think your organization would benefit from, encourage your employees to officially vote for you. Finally, don't forget to ask your former employees to fill out a survey as well—they're more likely to give you honest answers and can be particularly helpful if you have a high turnover rate.

     

    Learn more about how a professional online survey solution could help you get on the right track by registering for an upcoming demo.


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    Correlation between Employee and Customer Satsifaction RatingsIs customer satisfaction strictly a function of the product or service the consumer purchased? The short answer is no. Is it solely dependent upon the context of the purchase situation? Again, no. From the depth of customer satisfaction research we can glean that customer satisfaction is a multi-dimensional construct, in other words there are several variables which feed into the overall satisfaction calculus. Several of these are within the control of the marketer, while others are internal to the company, but may be outside of marketing’s control (e.g. billing, customer service, shipping, etc.). And lastly, there are those exogenous variables which are outside of the company’s control and range from the weather and economy to the consumer’s state of mind.

    One area that should not be overlooked, but frequently gets passed by, is employee satisfaction. Again there is a wealth of academic and practitioner based literature on the connection between happy employees and satisfied customers. So the connection between the two constructs has been vetted out. Without going into the level of academic rigor, I can say that steps taken to measure and increase employee satisfaction, if it is below norm, can produce gains in customer satisfaction, assuming all things are equal.

    Just as customer satisfaction is multi-dimensional so is employee satisfaction. Surveys designed to track employee attitudes typically include measures of interaction with customers, management and vendors, satisfaction with job tasks and roles, feelings on compensation, corporate culture, work environment and opportunities for growth and advancement, to name a few.

    Things to consider when looking at employee satisfaction:

    1. Ensure anonymity
    2. Keep surveys focused
    3. Provide feedback by letting employees know their opinions are being heard

    The first point, anonymity, often requires that human resource departments look to an outside vendor to conduct the survey. Alternatively, online survey tools such as Cvent can be used to measure employee attitudes offering a high degree of discretion. Best practice in survey design includes keeping surveys as brief and focused as possible. This ensures engagement and a higher likelihood of cooperation and completion. Lastly, feedback is currency. If someone shares their opinion with you, they want to know they are being heard. Alternatively, why ask for employee sentiment if you are not planning to do something with it?

    Satisfied employees typically think in terms of doing what is best for ‘their company’ not ‘the company’. This translates to going the extra mile for the customer. A winning solution for all.

     

    Get started tracking employee attitude and improving customer satisfaction by participating in an upcoming webinar on how technology can help you acheive these goals.


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    The workplace can seem like Laughter at work can help build rapport.such a serious place, and sometimes it should be. Research from fall 2011 that was conducted for Accountemps found that nearly 60 percent of chief financial officers thought that having a sense of humor helped an employee fit in with the companies' culture. That's right, the survey results come from CFOs, probably the business leaders many employees assume to be the most serious when sitting around the conference table. Another 22 percent said a sense of humor was very important, and 20 percent that it was important.

    The survey results, which were included in an article for members of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), probably illustrate how humor can help build rapport and likely improve employee attitude. The SHRM article also emphasized the importance of "lightening up" among managers, making them more approachable. Of course, the humor needs to be appropriate and well-timed.

    Humor in the workplace can help even more in situations when employees tend to be unhappy. A survey from Right Management found that pressures in the workplace have been building, and up to 49 percent of workers surveyed around January 2011 were in jobs they found unrewarding to the point that the jobs sapped the employees' energy. That can affect workplace performance, turnover and a company's bottom line.

    What do all these studies tell us? A little humor may be all you need to turn the ship around. Of course it goes without saying that you should be keeping a pulse on your employee satisfaction levels (we suggest using an online survey tool to do this), but if you notice job satisfaction and employee loyalty is down try infusing some humor into the work day. Afterall, happy employees are more productive, and they also lead to happier customers!


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    Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book The Happiness Project, recently sat down with OPEN Forum contributor Barry Moltz to talk about her experience learning to make her own happiness. While Rubin's book explores many methods of achieving personal happiness, her findings can also be applied to keeping employees happy in the workplace. First, the reasons happy employees are good employees:

    • They're more productive. When you're happy, you're not spending half your workday worrying and taking personal calls. Happy employees are also less likely to miss work..
    • They're better leaders. Happy people tend to be more engaging, more confident, and less risk averse. Plus, they're just more enjoyable to work with.
    • They're more creative. Employees who aren't bogged down with stress are able to think more freely and openly.
    • They're better team players. Happy people are more willing to help other people and to tackle tough work problems.

    Now, here are seven things Rubin learned from her own happiness project that you can apply to your organization (and your home life too!):

    • Recognize progress and achievement. Notice when your employees are performing well, and don't forget to say thank you.
    • Encourage a sense of belonging. Employees are more likely to be happy if they feel like they work with friends, for an organization they can believe in.
    • Get to know your employees. Ask them about their families, their hobbies, or anything else that shows you are interested in them as a human being.
    • Be "light". Not everything is a big deal - it's okay to laugh, or to shrug off a mistake. Anger or frustration is an "easy" emotion; keeping things fun is actually pretty hard.
    • Allow people to disengage. Having a smart phone that lets you be "on" all the time can be stressful for employees. Let them have time to unwind and deal with their personal priorities.
    • Get enough exercise and sleep. Let your admin assistant leave early on Tuesdays to go to spin class. Think about implementing an employee benefit program encouraging health and wellness. And if you do have a late night in the office, remember to give your employees some leeway the next morning so that they can recharge.
    • Stop calculating everything. Rubin made a conscientious effort to stop keeping tabs of household chores ("I washed the dishes every night this week and my husband only took out the trash once!") and found that everyone was happier for it. Don't keep score in the workplace either; it only makes for winners and losers. Just do the right thing, and hopefully others will follow your lead.

    If you're not sure how happy your employees are, it might be a good idea to administer an employee satisfaction survey to find out. Cvent can help you determine the right questions to ask ("Are you happy?" probably isn't going to get you the sort of responses you're looking for here), as well as the formatting and analysis.


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    Best of the Survey Blog: Happy 4th Birthday!The Survey Blog turned 4 this month! Reflecting back over the last year, we wanted to share some of our favorite posts from the last year. Enjoy!

    ABC's for Trainers
    Sarah has tips for every letter of the alphabet from ADDIE to Metrics aren't evil to Perceptions are not always Reality to Zinc. Pick a letter and tell us what your ABC's of Training would look like!
    Read more

    The Secret to Buying Employee Happiness
    Word is, "money can't buy happiness." That's what we've been told anyway. Well, Michael Norton calls the bluff on this old adage in his recent TED Talk. Could it be that you're spending wrong? Check out this video and find out what it really means to be Pro Social.
    Read more

    The [Employee] Happiness Project
    Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book The Happiness Project, recently sat down with OPEN Forum contributor Barry Moltz to talk about her experience learning to make her own happiness. Happy employees are more productive, better leaders, more creative and team players. Here are seven lessons you can apply to your organization
    Read more

    Has CSat Got You Down?
    Tracking customer satisfaction trends over time gives companies the foresight needed to better manage customer retention programs. Take a look at two popular satisfaction measurement: Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Burke Secure Customer Index (SCI).
    Read more

    5 Best Practices for Designing Mobile Surveys
    Organizations should no longer be debating whether mobile should be part of their 2012 strategy. They should be figuring out how quickly they can optimize their interactions with customers, prospects and employees for mobile.
    Read more

    Perceptions Are Not Always Reality in the Classroom
    Trainers are often asked to provide assessments (your perceptions) of staff's ability to do perform. I'm sure you've heard "perception is reality," but this is only true in some cases, and as a trainer it doesn't apply to your perceptions. These two stories explain why
    Read more

    10 Lessons from Jeff Bezos [½ are Customer Focused]
    Recently, Forbes published Jeff Bezos's Top 10 Leadership Lessons. We were pleasantly surprised to see that half of them were focused on customers. Check out these tips from the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Inc. and find out how many of these your company is using.
    Read more

    5 Strategies for Securing Devoted Customers
    Dogs are well-known for being man's ultra-faithful best friend, asking for very little in return. Unfortunately, the average consumer needs a bit more TLC before pledging their eternal support to you, so here are five "squeaky toys" for securing engaged customers.
    Read more

    Maximizing Value in Open-Ended Questions
    The quality of the data we analyze in consumer or B2B marketing research is a direct function of the quality of the questions we ask. Nowhere is this truer than with open-ended questions. These three best practices will help you improve the quality of open-ended comments.
    Read more

    8 Reasons Why CEOs Are Bad at Customer Service
    Marketing guru Tom Smith recently posted an interesting blog containing eight ways CEOs don't "get" customer service. It seems odd that the head of a company wouldn't understand how to please customers, but these eight insights really make sense.
    Read more

    Subscribe to our newsletter to get the Best of the Blog delivered to your inbox every month.


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  • 11/28/12--05:00: The Future of Reviews
  • reviewWhat are your annual, quarterly or monthly reviews based on? Sales numbers? Goals? Campaigns executed? Leads generated? Probably something along those lines, right? Well, things might be different in the near future: employee reviews could be based on organizational influence.

    Last spring, Salesforce.com’s Chatter system released a new feature called Influencer. It aims to measure how influential employees are, by tabulating, for example, how your fellow workers respond to the items posted to the corporate social network.

    In a recent interview with Fast Company, the Senior Director of Chatter Product Marketing, Dave King, said companies are using this tool to operate more smoothly. King said he’s heard stories about companies launching new releases, and they’ll look up who the most influential people are throughout different departments, based on the rankings on Influencer. This way, executives can look to these employees for ideas of how to best roll out the new system.

    Chatter is not the only product that has a tool to rank influence among organizations. Yammer and National Field are also working to create similar programs.

    According to Fast Company’s article, “The most progressive organizations have always realized that the informal connections employees make with others and the amount of knowledge and expertise they share outside of prescribed work responsibilities contributes mightily to the bottom line. But until now, they haven't had an empirical way of measuring that activity.”

    In addition to increased productivity and knowledge sharing, both within their own right a big value add, tools like this have the opportunity to increase satisfaction and loyalty. Empowering employees to share their ideas and collaborate across the enterprise can dramatically increase their engagement and overall job satisfaction. This will ultimately lead to increased customer retention. It’s a fact that happy employees deliver better customer experiences, and are more likely to go the extra mile to make customers happy.

    Influencer’s algorithm is confidential; however, Salesforce.com will say that simply “being noisy” does not count. Posts to the corporate social network need to contain functional content, not fluff.

    What are your thoughts on this? Does your company have something like this in place already? Does this seem like a fair way to determine an outcome of an employee review? Would your employees be satisfied with this?

    I personally have mixed feelings on this topic. What about the employees who have been with the company for many years that always excel within the realm of their responsibilities (but are not familiar with social networks or expressing their ideas online because tasks like that are not part of their day-to-day job). What about those employees who are not fond of publicly sharing their ideas, but out-perform their numbers year after year? I understand leaders should be influencers, but I don’t think companies can move to solely using a tool like this to determine an employee’s review/raise/promotion. Other factors that we currently use should still be mixed into the equation.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts! Read the full article for more information.


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    Poor customer service could land you a prime time business newsspot filled with bad reviews on various social media channels for everyone to see.

    Customers have power, which means they can and will publicize both good and bad experiences, so exceptional customer service is necessary. You probably already know that it’s critical though ‒ most likely you allocate a great deal of budget every year for customer service initiatives and employee development.

    But ‒ are you getting the results you’re seeking?

    If not, maybe you are training your employees instead of educating them.

    What’s the difference? Training is like a recipe. It teaches employees to do something step by step. Education, on the other hand, teaches employees how to think about service in any condition and then choose the best action to take (and think outside the box) depending on the situation.

    I was reading a recent article, Train in Vain: Why is Your Customer Service Training Not Working?, and the author put it perfectly: “Educated service providers understand that sticking to the script and providing the service isn’t enough. Great service is not just about following a procedure or a sequence of steps. It’s about applying your service mindset to proven service principles.”

    Here are a few points to consider as you think about service education at your organization: 

    1. Carefully select those who train (and lead) your customer service team.
    2. Remember it’s not a sprint, so focus on long-term results.
    3. Engage everyone from the c-suite to supervisors to front line staff to successfully shift the culture.
    4. Support and reinforce desired behaviors. Don’t expect instant change in the culture.

    In order to successfully educate your employees, you need to incorporate all aspects of your service culture in your education: customer comments, compliments, complaints, and competitive information are all key for this. Hopefully you have some type of customer satisfaction results you can use as a backbone. If not, it’s probably a good idea to start surveying your customer base to see how they view all aspects of your organization to get an idea of what you need to improve upon, keep the same or change.

    We’d love to help you jumpstart your service education – and we can start by inviting you to watch a demo of our online survey solution to see how easy tapping into your customers really is and how our tool can easily help you do so.


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  • 12/11/12--05:30: Early Bird Gets the Worm
  • early birdQuestion: When should you start engaging employees?

    Answer: During the hiring process.

    It’s important that a potential hire is aware that an organization’s cares about their success and that they understand the work environment and culture right from the get-go. If a potential hire knows what’s expected of them and what they can expect of the company, the employee will be far more engaged from day one.

    As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm.

    It also needs to be instilled in the beginning that employee performance directly relates to customer satisfaction. You need to let your staff know what you expect of them and how they should treat the customers. You don’t want to waste time down the road teaching your employees the basics. Tell them up front. However, in order for them to be accepting, you need to provide an enjoyable working environment and give them freedom.

    According to a recent Customer Management IQ article, Optimizing Performance, Customer Satisfaction Through Employee Engagement, there are a few tips to help facilitate this:

    • Do not scare employees of taking risks or making mistakes
    • Let them make gut reactions about what to do
    • Let them improve their decision making skills
    • Give them freedom to be creative in reaching solutions

    By providing a more laid-back environment, employees will be more productive and your customers will be happier – both resulting in business growth.

    The challenging part of this is tracking your success. You think you have a great Voice of Employee and Voice of Customer program in place, but how can you assure that these are the components related to business growth?

    A great way would be to send out employee and customer satisfaction surveys. Whether they are quarterly or annually, these tools are great to gather feedback, track progress, and turn insights into positive change. You can hear what employees are saying about the work culture, management and any other current issues. You can also tap into customers to gauge how they feel about the customer service they are receiving, what they like, what they recommend you to change, etc.

    The goal is to then take the survey results and see if they relate to the improved business results.  Ideally, they will and results will show:

    Increased employee engagement + increased employee performance = increased customer engagement.

    But remember, you must start early on!


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    While we highlight the most popular posts from a given month in our newsletter, one of my favorite activities is to look back and see what posts were the most popular overall each year. Keeping with tradition, here's a look back across the 20 most popular posts of 2012!

     

    The Best of 2012

    Customer Loyalty Month: 25 Quotes to Inspire

    It should go without saying that April should not be the only month you give customer loyalty focus. However, Customer Loyalty Month should serve as a reminder to review your customer programs and evaluate your loyalty KPIs. Get motivated to improve your customer loyalty scores with these customer-centric quotes!

    On of my favorite from these inspirational quotes comes from Shep Kyken, There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.
    Read More

    ABC's for Trainers

    Sarah has tips for every letter of the alphabet from ADDIE to Metrics aren't evil to Perceptions are not always Reality to Zinc. Pick a letter and tell us what your ABC's of Training would look like!
    Read More

    10 Ways Customer Service Reps Anger Your Customers

    A recent survey polled 6,000 adults on what store had the worst customer service and why. While the first half of that questionnaire would probably be beneficial for big box stores, the reasons for the choices are most telling for the rest of us. Check out the list.
    Read More

    Data Types: Interval and Ratio Data

    In marketing research, interval and ratio data are king. What makes interval and ratio data exciting is that they support a full-range of statistical tests and transformations. In this post, Greg examines how each type of data can be used to tease out important insights from survey results.
    Read More

    Data Types: Using Nominal Data in Survey Research

    Nominal Data is one of the four types of survey questions. There is nothing marginal about nominal data. In fact the majority of survey questions are nominal in nature. That is they are categories with numbers assigned to them to facilitate analysis. In most research courses they are introduced as variables such as eye or hair color, a person's name or the state they live in. Let's look at a few question types useful for collecting nominal data.
    Read More

    Do Incentives Matter?

    In our busy society, there seems to be less time for the smaller things. This is a trend negatively impacting survey response rates, and unless you are lucky enough to survey a rabid fanbase then response rates will always be a concern. Are incentives the right answer?
    Read More

    Revisited: 5 Email Marketing Tips to Increase Online Survey Responses

    Want more responses to your surveys? Changes to your email marketing is one of the easiest ways to give your response rates a boost! Take a look at these tried-and-true tips and reap the rewards.
    Read More

    How to Annoy Your Customers

    Weekly emails, offers from third-parties and overly friendly call center reps all ranked in the top ways you can annoy customers in a recent survey. However, 75% of those surveyed said they WANT to give feedback and are happy to complete customer satisfaction surveys.
    Read More

    5 Best Practices for Designing Mobile Surveys

    Organizations should no longer be debating whether mobile should be part of their 2012 strategy. They should be figuring out how quickly they can optimize their interactions with customers, prospects and employees for mobile.
    Read More

    The Secret to Buying Employee Happiness

    Word is, "money can't buy happiness." That's what we've been told anyway. Well, Michael Norton calls the bluff on this old adage in his recent TED Talk. Could it be that you're spending wrong? Check out this video and find out what it really means to be Pro Social.
    Read More

    5 Most Hated Customer Service Sayings

    Dealing with customer service can be a frustrating experience. Minimal training service can lead to maximum annoyance for those on the other line who are looking for a personalized experience rather than a canned response.
    Read More

    The [Employee] Happiness Project

    Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book The Happiness Project, recently sat down with OPEN Forum contributor Barry Moltz to talk about her experience learning to make her own happiness. Happy employees are more productive, better leaders, more creative and team players. Here are seven lessons you can apply to your organization.
    Read More

    What is Significant?

    As market researchers, we are tasked to conduct survey data analysis and extrapolate meaning from our work. When we dig into the details underlying our data, we are often confronted with a fundamental question: What is significant and what is not?
    Read More

    Imporance of Qualitative Feedback

    The survey is one of the most important means of collecting data. The advantage is that it can be given to a large sample that may ensure a reasonable rate of return. However, the survey has disadvantage—it may not yield the finer details for what you are seeking data. You need to design the survey in a manner in which you get the critical information, and other relevant information, without making the survey very lengthy. How can you do that? You can do this by creating a survey that has a qualitative part integrated into the quantitative part. 
    Read More

    True or False: An Alternative to Likert Scale Survey Questions

    There is always more than one way to ask a question. Some of these methods are easier on the part of the survey respondent, while others although a bit more complicated yield richer results for our survey data analysis. When we are interested in measuring customer satisfaction or attitudes toward companies, brands or products, we typically call on the tried and true Likert scale. Yet to facilitate analysis, and presentations to senior management, we often end up collapsing these scales into a top-2 box or some derivative. If we are going to ultimately go there, then why not consider a binary alternative up front and save yourself the trouble recoding variables. 
    Read More

    27 Ways to Always Deliver Excellent Customer Service Experiences

    In August, Be Kind to Humankind Week reminded us of some of the ways we can deliver memorable, and excellent, customer service to our customers. As a reminder, here's an essential list. You may want to laminate it!
    Read More

    The Mathematics of Customer Satisfaction

    Customer satisfaction is often considered to be a fairly soft measurement, relying on such markers as client feelings and industry leanings. But Zack Urlocker, a guest contributor for Forbes, has provided an interesting formula for quantifying all of this data.
    Read More

    Best Practices for 360 Peer Reviews

    Performance reviews are no fun. Although 360 reviews seem like they would be the perfect complements to standard annual reviews, they have the potential to wreak havoc on morale, productivity and employee retention. Keeping in mind these best practices from the experts not only can you avoid common pitfalls but also ensure they're useful tools!
    Read More

    Perceptions Are Not Always Reality in the Classroom

    Trainers are often asked to provide assessments (your perceptions) of staff's ability to do perform. I'm sure you've heard "perception is reality," but this is only true in some cases, and as a trainer it doesn't apply to your perceptions. These two stories explain why.
    Read More

    10 Lessons from Jeff Bezos [½ are Customer Focused]

    Recently, Forbes published Jeff Bezos's Top 10 Leadership Lessons. We were pleasantly surprised to see that half of them were focused on customers. Check out these tips from the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Inc. and find out how many of these your company is using.
    Read More

    Now it's your turn, what was your favorite post this year? What would you like to read more of in 2013?

    Don't miss any of 2013's most popular posts. Subscribe to the Cvent Web Surveys Newsletter and get them delivered directly to your inbox each month!


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    It is January and an excellent time to begin listening the voice of the customer (VOC). Regardless of whether or not your focus is consumer-based or B2B market research your customers (both existing and prospective) have something to say. Are you listening?

    If you do not have a formal VOC program you are not alone, nor should you fear getting a program started. Yes, there are costs involved, but the question remains: what are you missing out on by not incorporating customer feedback into your marketing and business efforts? The simple answer is lost opportunities to gain market share and the ability to contain costs. Both of these actions are critical if your organization is to grow in an otherwise sluggish economy. In fact, it is when growth is difficult to come by that investments in voice of the customer are the best prescription.

    Why you may ask? When the economy is growing significantly, company revenues will grow almost in spite of themselves. However when there isn’t a growth wave driving increased sales and profits, incremental gains must come from increased cost consciousness and market share gains. These can only be achieved if you are fully aware of what matters most to your customer segments.

    A VOC program should include both qualitative and quantitative research components. These can be supported by an online survey program such as Cvent, any of the numerous online qualitative research tools, as well social media listening. An effective VOC program must focus on key market segments and what drives their purchase process. It also must include input from your employee base. As Zig Ziglar would say, “Not everyone is in sales, but everyone can impact a sale.”

    Employees from sales, fulfillment and even finance have insight into what customers are thinking. Hence it is critical to include employee feedback into your VOC program.

    Yes it is January and it is cold outside, but the customer, their opinions, and their dollars do not hibernate in the winter. Now is the time to begin exploring ways to incorporate their voice into your marketing, product development, customer service and operational processes.

    For more tips, download our 5 Steps for Driving Sales with Customer Insights whitepaper.


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    stand outAt some point throughout the year, you need to reach out to your stakeholders to increase your organizations’ understanding of their opinions, knowledge and attitudes in order to optimize success. 

    “A survey is the natural way to go about this, but while the survey concept is straightforward, effective execution requires a bit of finesse,” according to a recent Business Insider article, 5 Keys to Simple, Effective Feedback Surveys.

    Regardless of who your stakeholders are, everyone creating a survey probably asks the same question, “How do you create simple, effective surveys that stakeholders don’t ignore, delete, or wish they could set on fire?”

    Here are a few tips that Scott Maxwell, Sr. Managing Director and Founder of OpenView Venture Partners, suggests to help your survey stand out in order to obtain the response rates and feedback you’re looking for:  

    1. Know Your Stakeholders – Make sure you know who you are surveying and tailor the messaging.
    2. Choose from the Right Platform – When choosing a survey provider, there are a number of key questions to identify the right solution for your needs. Read our buyer’s guide to help you through the decision process.
    3. Keep it Simple – Make questions concise and straight to the point.
    4. Consider Your Question Types – Getting accurate and useful data is dependent upon asking the right questions. Cvent’s survey system ensures you have the tools you need to ask every question in the best way.
    5. Get a Second Opinion – Have a co-worker check your survey for errors and test it to make sure it works before you send it out.   

    Make sure to follow these tips when creating your stakeholder survey! Want more tips for creating effective online surveys? Download our complimentary whitepaper today.


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    In the course of survey research several topics have developed a reputation for being ‘sensitive’. In short this means the topical areas are perceived to be just short of off limits by the culture we live in. Examples include cultural diversity, recreational drug use, sexual activity, alcohol use, thoughts on investment and other income-related issues, etc. There is a tendency on the part of the respondent to provide a ‘perceived’ correct answer, based upon cultural norms. This inclination increases if the survey is administered in person and decreases if it is administered via an online survey platform.

    As researchers we ourselves need to be sensitive to these issues and adapt our survey design and implementation accordingly. For example, in creating an employee attitude survey to measure thoughts on diversity in the workplace we need to reassure the participant that his or her responses will be completely confidential. In the example below a university president solicits input from her faculty and staff:

    I would appreciate your completing the survey in the next week. The survey is anonymous and no responses are linked to any name, so please take this opportunity to be direct and candid. We only get a report on who has/hasn't completed the survey so that reminders can be sent to non-respondents. Your responses will help us better serve the university community and continuously improve the connections among faculty, staff, and students.

    The president, who in the case of an employee survey is the best person to be sending the invitation, noted explicitly that survey responses were anonymous. She further encourages respondents to be open and candid with their opinions. Regarding workplace topics human resource departments first should consider a survey, as they are the best tool for gathering opinions on sensitive topics. Second, in order to add another layer of perceived anonymity, the use of neutral third-parties or outside vendors should be considered.

    Assessing group opinions on culturally sensitive topics is best handled anonymously. Participants are less likely to give biased responses when they can provide feedback by online survey. The information gained from this type of HR internal customer survey can help guide companies through the often challenging waters of organizational change.


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  • 04/08/13--10:57: Taking a Random Walk
  • It has been said many times that randomness is next to godliness in the world of experimental design. I would extend this thinking to the structured world of survey research as well. In this post we will look at two methods for incorporating randomness into your online survey design.

    Cvent offers the researcher two forms of randomization. Both can be employed in a survey or assessment, but there are some caveats.

    Within a question the categories offered to the respondent can be randomized. This is a perfect fit for long lists in a multiple response formatted question. Randomization of categories minimizes order bias. This form of bias relates to the greater likelihood of items that are in the beginning or ending of the list being selected over items in the middle of the list. If you are creating assessments then randomizing categories is also called for. Categories can be set for randomization while in the edit mode (see below).

    randomize

    The other option available is to randomize the question order on a page. A use case for this would be to randomize Likert type questions where multiple items form one or more scales. The researcher can employ question randomization on any or all of the pages in a survey, unless there is logic involved.  If skip logic or other forms of advanced logic (e.g. masking) are being used then question randomization cannot be employed on the affected pages.

    Randomization is a critical tool for survey design in consumer and B2B market research. It’s primary use is to mitigate for bias for which it is very effective.

    Want to learn more about Cvent Web Survesy? Register for a demo and we'll find a time that's perfect for you!


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    Collecting feedback from employees and asking the right questions can be difficult. And, let's be honest, sometimes it's downright awkward! But it's critical if you want to improve employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Couple those goals with the fact that employee engagement is the next frontier of customer experience management and it can get really awkward (between departments that is...)

    By surveying your employees early and often, you can say hello to feedback that matters and goodbye to those awkward moments like in this video (How awkward do you feel watching it?!).

    On Tuesday, April 23rd @ 2pm ET / 11am PT we will be hosting a webinar on Avoiding Awkward Moments in Employee Feedback. We'll highlight how to increase employee satisfaction, engagement, loyalty and retention. Attend to learn:

    • Why you need to collect employee feedback
    • How to identify trends and analyze sentiment within feedback data
    • What the next steps are for implementing a successful program

    Trust me, your employees won't want you to miss this webinar! Sign up now!

    Register for the webinar


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  • 04/17/13--04:23: Measuring Work Personalities
  • Survey research can be used to assess the attitudes and opinions of virtually any group or sub-group. Most of my work has been in the areas of consumer and B2B market research, but from time to time my focus has shifted toward surveying employees. This makes perfect sense as our employees are the single largest contributor to organizational success. They can make or break a deal, even though they may not be in sales. They can have an overwhelmingly positive or negative impact upon customer satisfaction. They are also one of the primary reasons our customers return time and time again.

    So do you think it makes sense to take a pulse check by conducting employee surveys? Checking in with your employees and responding constructively to their suggestions is one of the easiest ways to increase employee loyalty. This leads to reduced churn and lowers hiring costs, which can be substantial depending upon the level of the position. This leads me to a question that was presented to me in a recent survey. The question is in multiple-response format and focuses on the respondent’s work personality.

    work personalities
     

    This could have been asked as a series of Likert scale items, or perhaps even as a semantic differential. These techniques are certainly valid and have a long history at measuring personality constructs. However as a multiple response item it is simplistic in nature and puts the power in the hands of the respondent. They can choose as few or as many statements as they believe adequately fit their work personality. Since these items are binary (0 if not selected and 1 if selected) they can be summed to form a composite scale. This provides a basis for a segmentation of employees based upon their work personalities.

    The impacts that a well-oiled and actualized workforce can have on the success of sales, marketing and customer satisfaction efforts are well documented, as are the internal effects of building teams around employees with synergistic personalities. Keeping a pulse check on your employees will pay dividends in both the short and longer-term.

     

    Learn more about employee surveys in our upcoming webinar:
    Avoiding Awkward Moments in Employee Feedback

    In fact, we just added a second session due to popular demand! Signup now!


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    My interest as of late as turned to surveys that support employee loyalty, however, today’s topic applies just as well to consumer or B2B market research. As a research professional, I find it useful to keep my feet on the ground and participate in surveys where feasible. This keeps me grounded in the respondent experience. Be wary of the researcher who strays too far from what he or she is asking their respondents to do.

    One of the easiest ways to increase survey abandonment and reduce the overall quality of your data is to lose sight of respondent engagement. This can easily happen when we ask lengthy and often repetitive questions. The rank-order exercise below was part of an overall assessment of employee satisfaction. Keeping your employees satisfied offers numerous benefits to the business.

    rank order

    With that said this exercise was buried two-thirds of the way into the survey. What challenges me is the length of the exercise, as in number of options to rank. Best practices would be to keep this to five to seven items. By placing a limit we are minimizing the cognitive load placed on the respondent. We are also preventing items deeper in the list from being glossed over.

    This may not be possible in all scenarios. However, a workaround would include breaking the list into two groups, randomizing the order within each question and then randomizing the order of the two questions. This would yield two lists from which you could extract the top three from each list and then ask the respondent to select his or her final order. Yes, this sounds like more effort because it is, however it breaks the overall task down into smaller discrete tasks.

    Another option would be to employ a technique such as MaxDiff (short for Maximum Difference Scaling). This approach is akin to conjoint analysis and requires the respondent to make a series of most/least important tradeoffs. MaxDiff is very robust, but does require special programming to implement.

     

    Cvent will be hosting a webinar, Avoiding Awkward Moments in Employee Feedback, Tuesday of next week with an encore session on May 1st. If you'd like to learn more about ways to improve your survey engagement (which results in more meaningful data and higher participation rates), regsiter today!

    Register for the Avoiding Awkward Moments in Employee Feedback Webinar


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    Here’s an analogy for you

    Employees : Company :: Athletes : Team

    football

    Why am I making this relation? Well, I recently read an article on Virginia Tech’s spring football practice and it got me to thinking about how athletes and employees have very similar positions and expectations that they need to meet.

    The article touched on how the O-line players won’t perform well if they don’t play hard every play. The O-line coach, Jeff Grimes, doesn’t sound pleased at this point in the season with the level of effort the players are putting forth. He wants to see aggressiveness and leadership – which he only sees in a handful of players so far. However, we all know how the saying goes, “there’s no ‘I’ in team ‒ everyone needs to be on board.

    The same goes for any company. If you want to be successful, all employees need to be engaged. It’s great if you have a few standout employees, but they cannot score all the touchdowns and get the ‘W’ without the help of their peers.

    So, how do you get the whole team inspired and ready to play?

    The best way is understand where your employees are coming from. Are you asking for feedback regularly? Because you should be. Feedback is the only way to know what your employees are thinking or feeling. If you collect feedback early and often, you have a better sense of what they want and need, you learn about their challenges and successes, and ultimately, you learn what it takes to engage and satisfy them.

    Collecting feedback should be a focal point for all organizations because once you analyze the feedback, you can create action plans to help move the company forward.

    So the next time you’re out on the practice field (aka your office!) realize that, yes, you might have disengaged employees, but you can turn that play around simply by changing the way you coach or manage – collect feedback to get to the root of why employees might be dissatisfied. I guarantee you’ll have a better record once you do.

    Want to dive deeper into this topic? We’re hosting a webinar today and an encore session on May 1,
    Avoiding Awkward Moments in Employee Feedback, and we’d love for you to join. We’ll discuss how disengaged employees are costing your company thousands of dollars, common challenges in collecting employee feedback and solutions to overcome them (you might be surprised on what a BIG impact this can have on your bottom line). Sign up today!

    Register for the webinar -->

     

     


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    Online survey platforms, such as Cvent, offer the user a wide variety of tools designed to maximize the user experience. After all isn’t that what we are looking for…an engaged respondent that provides truthful and enlightened responses? With that said it amazes me how many surveys go out that do not incorporate good design and effective use of these tools.

    For example, survey skip logic is a powerful method for directing respondents to questions that are relevant to their experience. It goes like this…they respond to a question, and based upon their response choice(s), are directed to follow up questions that are connected to the gateway question. This process can be used to redirect respondents to other surveys if necessary as well. The example below is an example of a gateway question.

    Skip

    My response to this question clearly indicates that I am not a decision-maker or influencer in areas concerning IT or telecommunications. Logically, after this response I would expect to receive questions about topics more closely aligned with my area of influence or decision-making capacity.

    Wrong! The survey directed me to a decision matrix regarding search methods for IT and telecom products. This type of matrix question is effective, but only if I had any authority or influence in these areas.

    image 2

    Judicious use of skip logic and branching when designing your questionnaire. If created properly, with forethought, you can direct respondents to questions that are meaningful to them. This will ensure a higher quality data set designed to answer the study’s primary questions. Sending respondents to questions that are not meaningful will:

    1. Cause them to provide biased or unfounded responses
    2. Lead them to terminate the survey before completion
    3. All of the above
       

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    Chapters in a book are self-contained entities which could stand alone, but are better suited to be part of a larger whole. The new revision to the Cvent online survey platform allows the researcher to group questions into a chapter. This new feature is well adapted for scoring sections within an assessment.

    Prior to this release if you had a multi-section assessment and wanted to provide scores for each section you would have had to create several stand-alone surveys and link them together via the ‘Thank You’ page. Now, the survey author would implement this under the chapter menu under the actions drop-down menu. The sample below provides an example.

    chapters

    In addition to grouping like questions, the author can also implement pages within a chapter. This allows for question randomization on each page. When combined with category randomization within a question this feature goes a long way toward minimizing potential order bias. This feature can also be implemented on surveys that involve lengthy scales (e.g. a Likert scale with several items).

    In order to take full advantage of the chapter function the author must plan his or her survey in advance and group like questions together. For example demographics, attitude measures, and usage behaviors.

    The chapter function offers survey developers the ability to group like questions, randomize those questions and provide succint scoring for each chapter via the Thank You page or a certificate.


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  • 05/10/13--04:06: Do We Agree?
  • Ok so just what is a Likert scale anyway? If you have been in market research, or any form of survey research, for any length of time you have no doubt come across the ubiquitous Likert scale and its strongly agree to strongly disagree framework. In the years I have been involved in constructing surveys and teaching market research, I have seen many techniques and question types rise and fall in favor, yet the Likert scale keeps truckin’ along.

    In case you didn’t know the scale was developed by psychologist Rensis Likert in order to measure the level of agreement or disagreement of a symmetric agree-disagree scale. The area of interest, be it a marketing or a social science construct, is assessed using a series of statement of statements, each designed to view the construct from a slightly different angle.

    Take these likert scale survey example questions:

    1. It is important to me to be the first amongst my peers to purchase a new item.
    2. People come to me for information on new products.
    3. I enjoy sharing information with others.
    4. I consider myself knowledgeable on a variety of issues.
    5. Ted’s Pizza has excellent customer service.
    6. You get a lot of food for the price at Ted’s Pizza.

    The first four statements were centered on the individual and might be part of an opinion leader or early adopter scale. The latter two likert examples are focused on a business. Just as easily you can create a scale with items that touch upon social topics, religious aspects, or other critical issues of the day. The important thing to remember is that a Likert survey question is designed to measure attitudes and by nature are multi-item.

    It is this second point that needs further explanation. Foundational research tells us that multiple-item measures of a construct are inherently more stable and subject to less spurious variability than single-item measures. How many items is enough? If you are creating a new scale then you should create as many items as possible and let subsequent analysis narrow the field for you. This can be done through brainstorming sessions, focus groups or extensive review of existing literature.

    In the next post we will examine some of the ways to further refine and implement your scale.


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