Anyone who uses the business networking platform Linkedin will attest to the fact that it has helped to launch a thousand surveys.
Anyone who has ever dabbled with Surveymonkey will tell you that tools like this make it very simple to create and publicise a poll.
Some will claim that these very platforms have democratised the data gathering process. To some extent, that’s a fair assertion, especially when the mammoth data houses created and then largely dominated the stakeholder feedback market.
Others vociferously lambast the survey culture suggesting that it leads to “analysis paralysis” and is often used as a tactic to delay addressing the root cause of the problem, especially when times are tough.
Fair enough, until the self-same critics eventually succumb to creating surveys of their own of course. And more often than not, they do.
Asking questions is a communication exercise in its own right. It signals what the sponsors consider to be important. It can be cathartic and relieve pressure. Most importantly it can sometimes (!) lead to valuable feedback to resolve organisational challenges.
But, given that every consultancy, commentator, intermediary and critic from HBR; PWC; Towers; CIPD through to Melcrum and the IABC has already published data about the nature and status of employee engagement, for example, each claiming to be definitive, doesn’t it beg the question:
“why, oh why do we need yet another survey”?
The moral of the story? Next time you’re asked to complete yet another one of these unique proformas, regardless of the incentive or funky teaser, start by asking yourself 3 questions:
- - what’s in it for me?
- - what’s in it for them?
- - why can’t they see I’m not waving, but drowning?