How to create internal feedback survey

How to Create the Ultimate Survey for Internal Feedback

By Mathew Love

First off, do we think you should “survey” your coworkers and colleagues? Absolutely not.

If you think about it, a “survey” is not a  natural way of engaging people you have a relationship with or respect.

True, there are many times throughout your work week, you’ll need to engage in a “one-to-many” type of exercise where you need input, feedback, ideas and decisions from more than one coworker without wanting to set up meetings, or conference calls. Whether it’s for an end-of-year NPS score, or maybe an ad hoc survey regarding a recent release or launch, there’s bound to be a time throughout the year where you or your team need to send out an internal survey for feedback.

This is where BigTeam comes in to help you out. We’ve put together this quick, step-by-step guide on how to create the best “survey” possible, to get the most responses—therefore giving you the best results possible, if you see where we’re going with this. Here it goes:

First step: Invite the right people (try not to spam your colleagues to death)

First up, make sure that you’re sending your survey to the right people. Your colleagues are most probably receiving hundreds of emails every day, and your request to complete a survey may just add to this pile of frustrations if it’s not relevant, or you don’t seem to have deliberately selected them. Our tip is to compile a list of the departments or teams who need to answer your survey before you even start. This will also help you construct it to better suit them.

Are you at the early stages of your project, and need big ideas and open minds? Maybe seek out more junior staff, or colleagues who have gone through a design thinking, scrum or agile class.

Looking to spot potential risks and unforeseen mistakes before you launch? Maybe look at sending the survey to more experienced executives, or colleagues in different countries or departments who aren’t as close to the project as you are.

Spray and pray won’t get you the right answers (and may actually be causing more people not to answer other surveys).

Second step: Explain why you want feedback

In a short, pithy paragraph, explain the purpose of your survey and why it’s important that your colleagues fill it in for you. Make sure that this paragraph or intro is interesting enough to entice your colleagues, but still informative enough to let them know what’s going on. We suggest that you write this introduction in a tone of voice that your colleagues are used to (so if it’s formal, keep it formal, and if it’s more casual or friendly, keep it that way). This will ensure that your colleagues can connect with what you’re saying.

Third step: Make sure that your questions make sense

Formulating your questions to get your desired outcome or result is probably one of the trickiest steps. To get a better idea of what you should be focusing on here, check out these quick 4 tips for writing a great survey from SurveyMonkey:

  1. Define Your Objectives. Figure out the decision or decisions you’re trying to make to focus your survey—this will help you guide your questions.
  2. Work Backwards. Once you’ve set your objectives, determine the data you need to gather in your survey to make your decision. Identify whether you need quantitative data (from multiple choice questions) or qualitative data (from open-ended questions), or maybe even a combination of both (which is what we recommend).
  3. Check for Bias. Make sure you’re not asking leading questions that prompt your colleagues into answering in a way that you want them to, rather than in a way that they want to.
  4. Do a Test Drive. Send your survey to friends and colleagues from your team for a test run. They’ll help make sure your questions and response options are understandable and all your survey logic works.

After completing these steps, you should have a great set of questions that you’re ready to fire off!

Fourth step: Timing is everything

Figuring out when to send your internal survey is not quite an exact science. It’s best to observe when your colleagues are at their desk as opposed to in meetings, at clients, visiting suppliers, etc. Every company will be different in terms of how colleagues structure their day, so we suggest you take note of this (or even base it on your own experience) and send your survey out accordingly from there.

Let your colleagues know when you need feedback by, and don’t set artificial deadlines if you don’t mean it. Give them an out if it’s a really short deadline by including something along the lines of “I know 48 hours isn’t a lot of time, so completely understand if you can’t help out on this survey”.

Fifth step: Close the loop

This is where you’ll provide feedback to your colleagues… on their feedback. It’s important to share the results of your survey and any findings that may be relevant to each team. This way, they’ll have tangible proof of their contribution and what it means to the greater picture. We recommend that you summarize the results and make them available to all colleagues who took part in the survey.

If you have sensitive data, you may also want to share different versions of the results to different levels of seniority. Short and sweet for everyone that participated, and more in-depth (including all the negative feedback) for the upper management if it’s important to share.

This will also help you get buy-in for the next one!

However, as research geeks ourselves, we at BigTeam know how time-consuming it can be to find the right questions to ask and to get a survey out. Which is why we’ve streamlined the feedback process to save you time with our tailored question packs for any internal survey, brand, marketing, customer or product challenge you have. You can also easily find the right team members within your organization or in your network based on experience and expertise. The best part of all? We offer a free trail for you to test out our solution and see if it works for you!

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