Step 1: Determine your goal. People usually approach creating a survey by immediately starting to create questions. But without a clear goal you can’t know what questions to ask or how you’ll interpret the results. Set the goal first. Is this survey for determining employee engagement or satisfaction levels or are we trying to solicit ideas and suggestions about a particular topic or situation?
Step 2: Identify the major areas that you want to measure and ask yourself, “Do the areas of the survey align with our organization’s mission statement, goals, and/or business strategies?” They should. If they don’t clearly relate, the whole project will be viewed as just PR or worse, a make-work project for already busy people.
Step 3: Now you can start to create the survey. But a survey isn’t just questions. An effective survey is actually a package of material that includes the questions but also the instructions, timelines, a scale for responses (1 = good, 5 = bad), open-ended questions (for employees to provide details) and areas for “Additional Comments” so employees can begin discussions on topics that weren’t covered in the survey.
Wording should be consistent, either always positive (this is the best type of question) or always negative (can’t think why you’d use this one). Mixing up the perspective of the questions often creates anxiety and confusion for the people taking the survey and will often result in inaccurate responses (especially in the rated questions) because the rating scale becomes confusing.
Step 4: Conduct the Survey. Ensure that you have offered enough time for participants to give enough thought to their replies and to complete the survey when it fits best into their schedule. You’ll get better responses if your employees are not rushed or stressed.
Surveys should be conducted when the information gathered can be best acted upon. For example, if you’re conducting a survey to gather ideas/suggestions for cost savings, then conduct the survey far enough in advance of creating the Business Plan as possible. This ensures that you’re able to evaluate all of the suggestions and budget to implement the one’s selected. There’s no point in asking for input after the decisions are made.
Step 5: Evaluate and Report the Findings. Some organizations also shy away from conducting surveys during stressful times for the organization, either during a particular crisis or during contract negotiations etc. I believe however that this is one of the best times to gather information. You’ll certainly get the most frank feedback. The key to this success though is to ask as few questions as possible (2-3) so as to not take up too much time to complete but make them REALLY count. And phrase the questions in such a way that they encourage detailed feedback versus a simple yes/no answer.
Challenge to conducting an employee survey. A well designed employee survey can and should take time, money and resources to create and conduct, but the key point to remember here is to not let your team get too bogged down in this fact. If you’re new to employee surveys, start small, ask a few pertinent questions within a specific area and go from there. The important point is to start asking so you can answer and act accordingly.
And remember, conducting the survey includes evaluating and communicating the results so a smaller, shorter survey will be more easy for your team to quickly and accurately evaluate and, again, answer and act upon.
Small business owners and their management team of senior employees are often the first people in the company to take on the role of Trainer. These people have the most expertise in the business and embody the positive corporate culture that needs to be passed on to others within the organization. With current employees ready to learn more about the business and take on greater responsibilities and with new employees who need to learn their job, owners and management are now expected to conduct an array of different training workshops and seminars on various topics.
As the Trainer, you want your seminars and workshops to go well and you want your staff to leave them feeling motivated, empowered and positive. So, to that end, you’ve gone through all of the steps you need to take to create a really effective training program. But honestly, the thought of having to stand up in front of all those people and speak just makes your teeth ache. In fact, you’d probably rather have a root canal. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
You’ve seen advice columns, books, and websites that offer topics like the “Top 10 Public Speaking Tips”, the “Seven Golden Rules to Public Speaking”, or the “Seven Tips for Effective Speeches”. And yes, they’re full of useful information like:
- Speak slowly/clearly/loudly/softly
- Smile!/look serious and professional
- Don’t read your speech/use your notes
- Use humour/don’t use humour
- Use quotes/don’t use quotes
- And on and on…
You’ll notice too that one person’s advice tends to contradict another’s. So, really, what is it that distinguishes a great speaker from the average? Why do we marvel at the ability of one presenter and puzzle at the inability of another? There are ONLY two reasons why one speaker maintains our interest and excites our passions more than another. That person possesses a:
- Deep belief that what they are saying is right.
- Conviction that the people they are speaking to need to know what they are saying.
Believing to your core that what you are saying is right will give you the confidence to state your case clearly and concisely. Remember, you’re the expert or you wouldn’t be speaking in the first place. Your topic and your passion for it will automatically put your voice to the appropriate volume, speed and inflection. You’ll automatically become animated or somber as the topic requires. You’ll be emotionally involved and so too will your audience.
You must also believe that the people you are speaking to have a real need to know what you know. With this belief, the explanations and arguments that will convince your audience of why they should “buy into” your business processes and ideology, will come naturally.
These two beliefs, held and practised, will control and direct your energy from nervous to passionate. Your notes will become only quick reminders of your topic headings because you’ll know the content like a mantra. It’s your training program, it’s your experience, and they’re your ideas that you’re sharing with your participants. You know them. You’ll be too busy engaging your employees to fumble with index cards and jangle the change in your pocket.
And finally, nobody is sitting in your audience thinking, “Boy I hope this guy’s boring so I can complain all day.” Remember, your staff want you to succeed as much as you do.
“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”
Thomas John Watson, Sr. (February 17, 1874 – June 19, 1956) was the president of International Business Machines (IBM), who oversaw that company’s growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956. Watson developed IBM’s renowned management style and corporate culture, and turned the company into one of the most effective selling organizations yet seen, based largely around punched card tabulating machines. A leading self-made industrialist, he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world’s greatest salesman when he died in 1956.
The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work. Charles F. Kettering
Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 24 or November 25, 1958) was an American inventor and the holder of 140 patents. He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research for General Motors for 27 years from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive inventions were the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline. In association with the DuPont Chemical Company, he was also responsible for the invention of Freon refrigerant for refrigeration and air conditioning systems. as well as for the development of Duco lacquers and enamels, the first practical colored paints for mass-produced automobiles. In 1927, he founded the Kettering Foundation, a non-partisan research foundation.
When developing a training program, new trainers often want to squeeze everything that they know about the topic into the training session. They are passionate about the topic, training and learning and sometimes their excitement gets the better of them. They quickly move into lecture mode and try to relate every anecdote and cover every aspect of the topic that they can. However lecturing alone is not training and is not normally a suitable approach for workplace training.
If your goal is to actually provide an “information dump” (giving lots of data and statistics), then arrange a meeting rather than disguising the event as training Look closely at your Learning Objectives and determine how much content is really required to cover the objectives. Sort through what your participants need to know and set those as priorities. The “nice to know” aspects can be included as an appendix or given as a handout for further reading.