Importance of question design in staff and employee surveys
In good and difficult economic times HR and personnel functions develop surveys to ‘take the temperature’ of what is happening in their organizations. Developing surveys and survey questions are often more difficult that people first think, unfortunately the problem is only identified when the data analysis is attempted – and at this point it is too late.
Simple question formation – a case study:
Today I have read a poll from a well known HR organization and on the surface it looks OK -:
Poll – This summer will you be…?
- Vacationing – going abroad
- Staycationing – taking a break but not going abroad
- Chained to the desk – can’t miss work in this climate
However it overlooks one important factor which makes the poll of less value… A survey from Travel TradeUK shows that 40% of people are planning to holiday in the UK.
The fact that a staycation is not the same as a UK holiday means that the results of this poll will be biased, or at least unreliable.
Definition: Staycation – A vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environment has to offer.
Many families with disabled children or relatives find it difficult to travel abroad so HOLIDAY in the UK – this is not a staycation. So appropriate use of language is important.
To provide a valid poll there should have been either a fourth (or fifth) option of Holiday at a UK destination – or the first option changed to read at a UK or overseas destination. and a further option – already had our holiday – we prefer to take it at other times.
While in the scope of this poll it may not really matter – if this were a question in a staff or employee survey the results that are obtained may not be what was reality.
Designing survey questions is not as easy as many think and all questions need thorough testing and a clear understanding on how the resulting data will be used.
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