Death by Survey

I don’t know about you guys, but this whole survey thing is getting out of control. These days, it’s hard to go to the bathroom without getting asked to fill one out. I can’t complete an on-line transaction without being enticed with the long-odds of winning thousands of dollars only for taking one. And I’m tired of letting my Indian brethren down every time I decline their kind offer to take one at the end of a customer service call.

We’ve been using surveys for a while in HR. In fact, we’re in love with them. There isn’t a talent management quandary out there that can’t be thoroughly dissected with a survey. How do we stack up with compensation? Survey. Big change on the horizon? Survey. Losing employees? Survey. Leaving the company? Survey. Want to get feedback on your management team? Survey. Like the snack machine selections? Survey.

News flash: workplace surveys suck.

  • Your employees already have enough to do…filling out another form isn’t all that inviting.
  • Employees don’t trust you and they probably won’t tell you what’s really on their minds even if you allow them to do so “confidentially.”
  • Unless you’re a PhD or organizational psychologist, you are most likely incapable of writing a survey that produces statistically significant results.
  • Your employees hardly accept a survey as a sign of your well-placed intention to get closer to them; rather, they see it as yet another barrier between them and a real-life interaction on the other end.
  • They’ve been giving you the same responses to these tired surveys year after year and guess what…things still haven’t gotten any better.

I promise you that you will get more meaningful feedback from your employees by just shootin’ the shit with them than you ever will from some contrived survey. WAKE UP – your lazy ass has come to rely on a questionnaire to do your job. Stop trying to squeeze this stuff out of them and start focusing on building an environment where your people volunteer what’s on their minds because a) they want to, b) they are comfortable doing so, and c) they know you’re actually going to do something with it.

Photo Credit: SoulFilledLife

3 Responses to Death by Survey
  1. laurie ruettimann
    October 19, 2010 | 10:00 pm

    Okay, this is off topic, but I hate it when I go to a store and they ask me for my zip code.

    1. You greedy jerks. I am giving you $87 for a sweater made in a sweatshop in China. Now you want my data for free?

    2. Can’t you just swipe that data off my credit card? I know that’s possible. Be efficient, chumps.

    3. You’re asking me my zip code because you want to know if you should build another store in my area? Listen, this town can only take so many Williams Sonoma stores. Save your energy. The answer is no.

    I could do this for hours. You get the point. Totally off topic, and I apologize, but this had to go somewhere.
    laurie ruettimann´s last blog ..Social Media- Speaking Your Mind- and Editorial DiscretionMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Charlie
    October 20, 2010 | 8:47 am

    @laurie – may not be as off topic as you think. it all seems slimy to me. while its all done under the guise of improving the experience (customer or employee), i have lost faith that ANY of it is based in altruism…it’s all about ego.

  3. Gina
    October 20, 2010 | 1:33 pm

    Completely agree with both comments. Enough with tracking my purchases & my habits. If you are going to sell my info- give me the choice- Don’t ask for my info and I will pay full price or…. I’ll give it to you in exchange for a markdown equal to the amount you will turn around and sell it for. On top of that- if I have to say, use the self check out- I should get a discount on that too. I’m saving them the cost of paying another checker.
    Gina´s last blog ..Detecting Deception Part 1 of 4- NavarroMy ComLuv Profile

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