If you’re trying to do more with less these days, you’re not alone.
Ready to maximize your resources — both talent and budget — and improve engagement with your most important audiences?
Start here: How many surveys did your organization send last year?
Think about outreach to your customers, your employees, your partners, your vendors, your donors, your community members…
Think about all forms of questionnaires, including information requests, forms, feedback surveys, evaluations, audits, quizzes, assessments, polls…
Think about all of the feedback tools you use, the tools your immediate team uses, the tools your department uses, those used by other departments…
If you’re very confident about the total numbers above and they make sense to you, awesome. You probably also have a solid engagement plan for this year to efficiently (and cost-effectively) collect the feedback you need from the right groups at the right time.
If you’re not so confident, now’s the time for an SOS check-up. Introducing the Survey of Surveyors.
Too many surveys, not enough strategy
While the name itself is clearly redundant, the purpose of the Survey of Surveyors is to streamline your engagements across your organization.
If you – or your colleagues – are reaching out to the same participants over and over again (especially if you’re asking the same questions about the same topics!), you create the impression that you don’t really know what you’re doing. One of our team members uses the expression “spray and pray” to describe this kind of philosophy. Here it means that you’re sending out lots of requests and just hoping for the best – not exactly a sound strategy.
Remember that you’re asking for something from your would-be participants — not vice versa. Even if the questions you’re asking are super relevant to them and the results will be used to significantly improve their futures, you still have a relatively limited amount of credit to cash in. The more you reach out to the same audience repeatedly, the greater the risk of annoying them. No matter your audience — employees, customers, community members — annoyance is never a strategic engagement choice.
One more item here: If you don’t have a strategic plan for outreach, it’s unlikely that you’re really making the most of the results you do receive. If you don’t receive enough responses to make the analysis meaningful, you can’t derive valuable insights. If you don’t uncover insights, you can’t take follow-up action. If you don’t take action based on results, nobody will want to share feedback with you in the future. The only thing worse than doing nothing with feedback is — you guessed it — sending too many surveys.
Too many tools, not enough resources
If you’ve thought through the questions in the intro, you know that there’s also another problem to solve: How many tools does your organization use to conduct all of these projects?
- Maybe everyone on your team utilizes the same single outstanding platform that offers comprehensive functionality and collaboration — or maybe they’re running different parts of their projects in different tools.
- Maybe your budget is spent effectively to procure an amazing solution — or maybe you’re over-spending and receiving a low-value return.
- Maybe your team is well trained and has a deep understanding of the tools you use — or maybe they’re scrambling and spending more time on figuring out the tools than using the results.
- Maybe your data is all securely housed in low-risk high-compliance storage — or maybe it’s all over the place in a patchwork of desktop download folders and mostly secure filing cabinets.
Again, maybe you’ve got it all sorted. Maybe you’ve recently conducted a complete tool evaluation. If not, now’s the time to get it together.
How it works
The Survey of Surveyors is a simple project that involves three phases: Make the purpose clear, collect the information, and share the results.
COMMUNICATE: While we always advocate for pre-survey communication, “make the purpose clear” is a critical step for this project. Getting buy-in from organization leaders ensures that this project will result in valuable results — be sure you have champions before you move forward! Partner with your peers, key leaders, and outstanding communicators in your organization to get everyone on board. Don’t make any assumptions about who’s reaching out — reach out to everyone! Help them to understand why this project is important and how it will benefit their own projects — both the amount of responses and quality of data they collect — while improving (or at least not straining!) the relationships they have with their most important stakeholders. You might even engage your finance team as project cheerleaders — nobody’s more excited about saving money and maximizing resources!
COLLECT: The SOS itself is a pretty simple form — and yes, there’s a survey template for that! The core questions:
- Who are you reaching out to?
- When are you reaching out to them?
- What is the purpose of each outreach?
- What tools are you using?
Analyzing the results of this project is pretty simple, too. You can add further questions to break it down as you like — departments, locations, etc. — but overall, your results will come together automatically and answer the original question: How many surveys did you really send last year?
SHARE: Finally, communicate results back to your colleagues. Start with the key leaders you’ve identified as champions. There’s a good chance that they’ll be surprised by results, and you should have all the info you need to inform a meaningful discussion. From there, make decisions, and then plan coordination and communication with all teams involved. Finally, you may also consider publishing this schedule so your audience knows what to expect. (We’ll talk more about engagement planning soon, too!)
Know this is a great idea but don’t have the bandwidth to run this project yourself? Put our team to work for you: Our Managed Services team is standing by. Let’s connect! 🙂