How to get effective input from surveys
They probably land in your inbox all of the time. Most of them are just noise but if done correctly surveys can be phenomenally useful for fleshing out weaknesses or targeting strengths to build on. Whether paper or electronic, there are two keys to surveys in general: incentives and anonymity.
Offer total anonymity to get input on changes, decisions, challenges, and so forth. Sure a joker or two may not take it seriously and send non-serious feedback. The rest, however, will be much more forthcoming with their feedback. This is easier to achieve with electronic web-based surveys such as Survey Monkey. You’ll have to take some extra steps to make sure a paper survey is truly anonymous. First, answers should only be multiple-choice bubbles or check boxes so no one needs to use their handwriting. Alternatively, you can send a pdf to be filled out digitally and then printed. It can also help to appoint someone lower on the organizational ladder to be in charge of collecting the surveys anonymously.
It is sometimes difficult to pull people’s attention from their normal duties so an incentive for returning the survey can boost participation. Make it something everyone will want to really get their attention. Those ones that are working the hardest will be the most difficult to pull from their work for a survey but they will also often have the best feedback. Offer a raffle for something really attractive such as a vacation day. You might also get a catered lunch for those who participate. There are many possibilities, be creative. Just make sure you’re using surveys and your getting the best feedback you can.