Internal surveys – 5 tips

At Lightmaker, our strategic work often revolves around gathering the opinions of others and feeding these into our plans for projects. Whether stakeholders or users, asking the right questions and opening topics up to discussion can often help uncover views that would otherwise have been missed.

When working on internal business strategy I think it’s important to bear the same principles in mind, and as such I recently carried out a survey of all UK studio staff in order to get their opinions on technical change. Allowing the business to grow organically around technologies and processes that are important to the teams who make the magic happen, rather than dictating top-down can help to ensure that workflows effectively keep up with the fast-paced changes in the industry.

Planning the survey and feeding back to the Directors and those surveyed helped to highlight some important considerations that can be used as a guide for others carrying out similar activities:

Come with an open mind – there may be specific topics you want thoughts on, but be careful not to impose your personal views, whether in wording your questions or feeding back to the business.

Create an effective selection of questions – don’t ask too many, make sure you get enough detail, and make sure questions are structured in a way that is easy to analyse. Free text fields are important for capturing detailed opinions, but selection-based questions can help to identify trends and general consensus much more effectively.

Give those surveyed enough information – be very clear on why you’re asking questions, how data will be used, and who it will be shared with. Your choices in these areas may slant the responses you’re given, as people may be more willing to share views in certain situations rather than others. It may be more appropriate to offer the option of anonymity, however it’s good to have the ability to follow up with individuals if possible. Being clear on who the data will be shared with and the format that it will be presented in will help those surveyed to be comfortable with what they are feeding back.

Make sure results are acted on – whilst surveys can be a valuable activity in their own right, creating some action points and associated timescales based on the feedback will ensure that valuable opinions do not get forgotten about.

Collect more information – other industry surveys such as those from A List Apartand .net magazine run annually, and allow new information to be compared with that from previous years. Alternatively, comparing results from different sources, such as different global offices, can also help to highlight areas which may not have been flagged up in individual surveys.