Survey fatigue can occur, when people are required to participate in traditional surveys, but never get to see any action as a result of their endeavours. We get it, people lose enthusiasm quickly, for a seemingly pointless exercise. Thankfully we don’t come it across much at AskYourTeam as our daily work typically inspires the opposite of survey fatigue.
I’d like to share one of my customers’ story. My client is a super-proactive nationwide business. Its leadership team is focused on growth and improvement. They commissioned us to survey staff throughout the country to understand the highs and lows of their business better. But we hit a roadblock: the company’s regional HR leaders failed to drive survey take-up.
Imagine the leadership team’s frustration at this potentially missed opportunity. Perhaps people thought this was ‘just another useless survey?’ I have a sneaking suspicion that people talk about survey fatigue, but the real reason for their resistance, is fear. Hearing the truth can be confronting. But we all know that honest feedback is a gift for the leaders prepared to listen and act on it.
Back to my customer’s situation: urgent attention was needed to get a better take-up. These were my three best practice tips to help them to overcome survey fatigue.
Start with the five P’s.
Prior preparation prevents poor performance. Always. Take time at the outset to devise survey content that is targeted and relevant to your participants. Educate your team leaders early on, so they’re on-board with the survey tool, and ready to listen. Prepare them to be open to receiving feedback - both positive or negative. Build the buzz from high! Many of our customers even choose their project name for their AskYourTeam surveys. It’s the little things that help them to own the experience.
Listen, collaborate, act.
Encourage your leadership team to communicate positively about the survey experience, with other leaders, and their teams. Clear communication channels are vital for a successful survey. I can’t stress this enough. Good ‘comms’ between leaders and teams start with listening. They are essential throughout the cycle: before, during, after and in-between surveys.
Leaders should also share high level feedback - both celebrations and areas for improvement - straight after a survey closes. Specific feedback on issues can then be fed on to teams on the ground.
Working in collaboration, you can mine down, agree specific actions, and improve the future quality of work. This critical information galvanises leaders and teams into action. Throughout the survey celebrate the successes and areas of improvement.
Keep on going and growing.
After your survey closes, I recommend leaders pulse-check the state of play, every three to six months is ideal. This monitors progress, and delves deeper in, to identify any issues, and gain a better understanding of the ‘why?’ and also the ‘what?’ may help.
It’s really this last step that delivers the magic. When your people see impact and change from the feedback they’ve given, any fatigue should convert to excitement for the next survey and the opportunity to add value to your organisation.
In summary, make sure you’ve got genuine ‘buy-in’ from your leaders from the start. Follow the 5Ps. Use consistent messaging to talk about your surveys in your meetings, emails, face-to-face with people and via the intranet. To reach as many participants as possible consider creating an internal newsletter and share information that way. And when your surveys are all done, keep the communication open and clear. Touch base with your team straight away, thank them for participating, and share a few high-level successes and areas that require lifting. You can even talk about the changes that will be coming. Show people you are listening and taking an action based on the input. Don’t let that valuable feedback disappear down a big black hole.
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