Be the HR Survey! | HR Fishbowl

Written on June 2, 2011 by Charlie in HR Profession, Trench HR

I’m not a huge fan of surveys – particularly when they involve taking our employees away from what they are much more interested in doing. I’ve always said you can learn more about what revs your employees’ engines by just sitting down with a few here and there and having a good old heart to heart (listening more than anything). To say the least, I am wary of death by surveys.

Surveys were once just a cottage industry. They have unfortunately become, however, the easy play for consulting organizations far and wide. “Hey, I have an idea…let’s do a survey…and we’ll charge you a couple G’s for it.” Blah blah blah. A hot ticket on the survey circuit these days is the industry survey – what’s hot, what’s not. They are a dime a dozen. And often they produce results and insights that float right up there in the mesosphere. Interesting? Sure. Useful? Sometimes. But they always leave me feeling a bit undernourished. I’d love to see an HR Industry Survey that puts some serious meat on the bones – gives us HR professionals something we can actually relate to. What do you say we build one?

I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Focus (, an on-line community of experts devoted to knowledge sharing, problem solving, and thought leadership on hundreds of different topics and markets. I was recently asked to help grow their Human Resource Community and I accepted the invitation with relish. There are a number of reasons I think it’s a good place to talk shop: There’s at least some control over who can participate in the discussion; ‘experts’ are carefully selected and designated; given its design, there is a natural cross-pollination between subject matter and interest groups (e.g. HR and Marketing); and their membership is growing by leaps and bounds…it’s something like 20-gazillion now. I know, it’s a lot. Any way…they want to do a survey on the HR industry. They sent me their first draft and my reaction was, “this looks like every other survey about the HR industry I’ve ever participated in.” They responded, “fine, Chump, what do you think it should look like then?” I replied, “I don’t know, I’m not that smart. But my network is and I’ll ask them.” So…

If you could hit up an extensive audience on all things HR, what would you ask them? What insights into other organizations’ HR practices or programs or structures or challenges would you like to have? What’s never been surveyed before, but needs to be? What kinds of HR benchmarks, or competitive data, or business intelligence are you having trouble finding elsewhere? Give me your ideas in the Comments Section or email me at [email protected] or call me on 312.583.2103. I’ll consolidate all of your input and strongly recommend Focus give the power to the people on this one. And if all goes as planned, you’ll see a pretty freakin’ cool HR Industry survey – one that matters – come out in the near future.

Image Credit: Nevada State SHRM Council

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