Keeping a finger on your company’s pulse.

Why it’s important to listen to the heartbeat of your organisation, and how to measure it.
Keeping a finger on your company’s pulse.
By
Sharne McDonald

Every leader wants to have their finger on the pulse of their organisation in order to solve issues before they blow up, but it’s difficult to know how & what to measure.

Firstly, there are so many ways to skin this cat — besides using old-fashioned pen & paper, or digitised email and excel spreadsheets, you can find plenty of (free & paid) survey tools online if you simply search “survey tool”. This is great, but also annoying, as there are so many options to choose from before you know which will work for your company.

Pro’s and cons

Pen & paper

✅ Somewhat user-friendly, depending on questions

✅ Offline

❌ Time & labour intensive to complete & compile results

❌ Results are not easy to track; might have to run a survey multiple times

❌ Need dedicated person/s to work on this

Email & excel sheets

✅ Somewhat user-friendly, depending on questions

✅ Results can be visualised in graphs

❌ Time & labour intensive to complete & compile results

❌ Results are easier to track, but may still get lost in inbox

❌ Need excel formula skills

❌ Need dedicated person/s to work on this

Online survey tools

✅ User-friendly

✅ Results can be visualised in graphs

✅ Easier & quicker to set up

❌ Need dedicated person/s to work on this

❌ Not ‘plugged into’ company (external)

We’ve also recently launched a survey tool as a feature within our platform:

Hi5 Pulses

✅ User-friendly

✅ Results are visualised in graphs

✅ Easy, quick & flexible set up

✅ Admins & Line Managers have edit access (no dedicated person needed)

✅ ‘Plugged into’ company (internal)

How & what to measure

Taking all the pro’s and cons into consideration, it really boils down to finding out what you need to measure in order to understand what makes your organisation tick and then how to formulate the right questions to get insightful results.

A great starting point for formulating your questions is deciding what you’d like to know (for instance, how happy your employees are at work) and then doing some reading and research into the topic. Look at Gallup’s Q12 for example, or our Are You Happy At Work? survey.

Mould your research into questions that are easily understandable, and make sure that each question is as unambiguous as possible, so that your data is not overly skewed by an individual’s perception of what is asked, or even the mood they’re currently in.

Most importantly, formulate your questions in such a way that you can measure the responses — sometimes you want to hear people’s opinions in their own words, but other times you need a number or a bar graph to visualise the sentiment. Example:

A) What change would you like to see in the company?
This would be a short answer question, which is great for getting some qualitative data (opinions & feelings), but you’d need to extract the general sentiment in order to visualise the results.

vs.

B) On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate our company culture?
This is a very measurable question, which would reveal a general sentiment as well as allow you to dip into the data and see who you may need to have a 1-on-1 with.

Lastly, make sure the survey is easily accessible to everyone (no logins or downloads) and don’t make it too long — be aware of survey fatigue.

Let’s break it down

  1. Find a tool that will work for you (produce great results) and what you want to measure in your organisation.
  2. Do some research to formulate your questions.
  3. Keep the survey simple — it must be short, easy to access & unambiguous.

Want to try Hi5 Pulses? Check it out:

Measure anything with our powerful new Pulses feature that enables you to create & manage your own surveys.