Further Survey Options
There are four options for you to choose from, depending on whether you want a full survey or pulse, or Best Workplaces branding or your own:
||‘Best Workplaces’ survey branding
||Your own survey branding
||IBM Best Workplaces Survey
||New Zealand Workplace Survey
||IBM Best Workplaces Pulse Survey
||New Zealand Workplace Pulse Survey
Q: What is the IBM Best Workplaces Pulse Survey?
The Best Workplaces Pulse Survey is designed to give organisations a high level view with which to check in on their progress following a previous survey. The core 20 questions are on the topics of Engage, Enable, Involve and Lead, and include the most common questions we see driving employee engagement and performance enablement. As always, you have the ability to add extra questions if you wish.
Participating in either the full 62-question Best Workplaces Survey or the 20-question Best Workplaces Pulse Survey enables your organisation to be considered for the Best Workplaces Awards, providing the eligibility requirements are met.
If you’d like more information about the content of the Best Workplaces Pulse Survey, or would like to discuss your specific requirements and get a quote, please contact us.
Q: What are the options for branding our survey?
Your organisation can participate in the Best Workplaces Awards by either running the branded ‘IBM Best Workplaces Survey,’ or the brandcustomisable ‘New Zealand Workplace Survey’ (i.e. add your own logo and survey title if you wish).
Participation in the Best Workplaces Awards is automatic if you participate in the Best Workplaces-branded survey, and is optional if you participate in the New Zealand Workplace Survey.
We suggest that all organisations opt in to the Best Workplaces Awards. It will be your choice if/how you communicate this to your people, and should your organisation rank as a finalist, then you can still opt out - we will get your consent before making any public announcement of award finalists. You will still need to meet the eligibility requirements.
Q: What does it mean that participation in the Best Workplaces Awards is available year-round?
Business planning cycles, seasonal variations and simple preference mean that different organisations choose to survey their people at different times of the year. Our goal is to recognise New Zealand’s Best Workplaces, and we don’t want timing to stand in the way of participation. Therefore, we are maximising the availability of the programme, making it available from 1 September to 31 October the following year, capturing 12 months of survey results and recognising the top performers at our Awards Evening in February 2018.
If you survey more than once in that 12 month period, the most recent survey will be the one that is considered for the Best Workplaces Awards.
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Survey Communication and Processes
Q: How soon should we notify staff we are running a survey, and what should we tell them?
We recommend that you notify all staff at least one week before you launch your survey, providing the following information:
- Why you are running a workplace survey.
- Confidentiality assurances: The survey is being conducted by the independent workplace survey company IBM, and individual responses cannot be viewed by management—all responses are aggregated. While this information is enough for most organisations and employees, further detailed information about confidentiality can be found on this webpage.
- What you intend to do with the results: Share some words that indicate your organisation's commitment to act on the survey results, and that staff will get feedback on the results of the survey.
- The survey launch date and closing date. We recommend for a survey to be open for a period of one to three weeks, depending on the organisation size and whether hard copies need to be distributed and collected. You are in control of when you launch and close your survey, but most organisations leave their survey open for two weeks. You will need to coordinate with your project manager at IBM to make the close of your survey official.
In addition, we would strongly recommend that your survey communications have the clear support of your Senior Management Team. In practice, the best way to do this is have your communications go out in your CEO's name and from your CEO's email address. Queries about the survey can be directed to someone else if you like, but do not underestimate the value of displaying this sort of high-level commitment.
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Q: Where can I find some examples or templates of pre-survey communications?
IBM can provide examples of effective survey communications to help you plan your own. Please contact your survey project manager at IBM for more information.
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Q: How can we increase our survey response rate?
Incentivising participation in the survey is a great way to increase your overall response rate. It is important though that this incentivising participation is not interpreted as incentivising a particular result.
Ways to incentivise participation include:
- 'Have a break, have a Kit-Kat.' This encourages employees to take ten minutes out of their schedule to complete the survey and enjoy a treat at the same time—making the survey an event in their day.
- Internal survey champions encouraging people to complete the survey.
- Post regular response rate updates and set a target people can track.
- Have an office shout when the response rate target is met. This could be a morning tea for the team that reaches their response rate target first or for the whole organisation when the overall response rate target is achieved.
- Have a prize draw. Prizes can be as small or as generous as your budget allows. Prizes that can work well include red balloon vouchers, petrol vouchers, travel vouchers, pre-paid cash cards ... the options are endless.
- If the survey period coincides with a staff conference or meeting consider making survey completion part of the programme.
The important thing is to communicate the reasons why you are offering an incentive. You want everyone to 'have their say,' you want to get results that will be representative of all staff and you want everyone to be involved in the building of a great workplace—their great workplace!
Please note that you should always emphasise that your incentives will not affect the confidentiality of their responses—make sure any prize draw entries are kept separate from completed surveys (applies particularly to hard copy questionnaires). Please advise your project manager if you would like some text added to the front page of the survey to aid your plan.
Please also refer to the next topic about the difference between incentivising participation and incentivising a result—the former is acceptable, the latter is not.
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Q: What is the difference between incentivising participation and incentivising a result?
There is a big difference between incentivising participation and incentivising a result.
Incentivising participation is about encouraging as many people as possible to complete the survey. The more people complete your survey, the more confident you can be that the results you get at the end are representative and accurate.
Incentivising a result is about encouraging people to respond in a particular way. It is an attempt to positively affect people's instinctive, true responses in a way that makes the organisation's results appear better than they would otherwise be. Incentivising a result is strongly discouraged. Please note that one of the conditions of participating in the IBM Best Workplaces Survey is: Your organisation agrees to participate in the IBM Best Workplaces Survey in good faith. The Organisers reserve the right to investigate and disqualify from the competition any organisation considered to have acted in a way that brings the validity of the survey into disrepute.
Examples of incentivising a result include:
- Watching people complete the questionnaire or suggesting that their individual responses could be viewed later on
- Discussing people's individual responses with them
- Simply encouraging staff to respond positively
- Allowing managers to influence their staff's responses in any way including the above
Incentivising people in management roles to achieve performance targets is acceptable; allowing influence on the way individuals respond to the questionnaire is not.
In addition to incentivising a result, it is also unacceptable to manipulate your results by not making the survey available to particular people/parts of the organisation who you may feel may respond negatively. A requirement of the IBM Best Workplaces Survey is that all employees must be given the opportunity to complete the questionnaire (including full time and part time staff, excluding contractors or casuals).
Note that in our experience, attempts at incentivising a result normally backfire as staff resent being told how to respond to a questionnaire that asks them for their honest feedback—there is a good chance it will do more harm than good.
Our position on offering a treat, etc. for completing the survey is that we don't believe that chocolate has the ability to change the way a person responds to the survey, this is why it is an appropriate incentive.
If you have any questions about this topic, please contact IBM.
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Q: What should we do after the survey closes?
- Preparation of survey results: Someone (HR in many instances) reviews the survey results and prepares and presents appropriate high-level summary reporting material to the senior management team (SMT) or equivalent. If you are not sure how your survey results are calculated, go to the help icon in the top right corner of your online reporting. From there you will be able to download a document that explains the scoring.
- Decision: Real focus is applied to ensure efforts are not too lightly spread, and available resources are brought to bear on things that will make the biggest difference. The 80/20 rule applies here—pick one or two key themes and focus on them.
- Communication: Staff is given feedback on the survey results, on the follow-up process that will be adopted and on their role in that process. They will then be updated periodically (typically quarterly) on progress made against goals and objectives set following the completion of the follow-up process.
- Accountability/Ownership: Someone takes responsibility for the survey results of their area, and is made accountable for setting goals and putting in place the post survey initiative. Results are reported against goals regularly, and there are 'consequences of significance' depending on whether those goals are achieved or not.
- Investigation: Every effort is made to gain a deep and insightful understanding of the survey results. This involves undertaking appropriate analyses (for example, analysing engagement profiles, key driver analysis, comparison with benchmark data and so on) prior to identifying and prioritising key areas for improvement.
- Implementation: Make sure something changes as a result of the survey and the feedback you have received. The survey will have created an expectation of change, and if it is simply 'business as usual' post-survey, staff will become cynical next time you conduct a survey.
Do you need help with action planning? If so, contact IBM or your project manager to discuss how we can help you.
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Q: What do we need to do to prepare our IT network for running a survey?
To ensure the smooth running of your online survey, there are a couple of changes your IT people need to make to your organisation's network settings to ensure everyone can receive our survey emails and access our survey website. Even if you have successfully conducted a survey with us before, it is still imperative that the instructions below are followed, as spam filters learn, adapt and have their configurations changed over time .
- If your organisation uses an email spam filtering program (such as 'MailMarshal') to prevent spam from getting through to your employees, it will likely also block our survey emails. The solution to this is easy---just add the domain name survey-online.com to your spam filter's whitelist for the survey period.
- As spam filters have the ability to learn from patterns of emails being received by your mail server, we strongly recommend that you complete this step as survey-online.com will send a large number of almost identical emails to your staff as each requests a link to your survey, and we do not want your spam filter to suddenly (and without warning) decide to block our emails.
If you have any questions about the IT requirements for running a survey with IBM, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Confidentiality & Privacy
Q: Is the data collected secure?
- Only your organisation will have access to your survey data—we will not give survey reporting details to any unauthorised people.
- When completing surveys you are doing so via our secure environment. All data backups are secured. Online access to the survey-online.com servers is protected by a secure firewall. In addition, all survey-online.com servers on the internal network use non-routable addresses protected by Network Address Translation. Data is held on a physically separate SQL server, not the web server. All SQL data requests originating from the survey-online.com web server are made within the context of a domain authenticated Active Server Page, which additionally authenticates the user against the SQL access control panel prior to each request. This ensures that one user cannot access information supplied by another. 128-bit SSL encryption is used for our SSL security, and this is applied to all site authentications and personal data transfers carried out on the site.
- We offer organisations the ability to benchmark their results against other organisations. To protect all organisations' confidentiality of data, there are two important criteria for benchmarking:
- At least five (5) organisations must be included in the Benchmark Group.
- No organisation will be included in a Benchmark Group if the number of respondents from that organisation would account for more than 50 percent of the total number of respondents in that benchmark group.
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Q: As a respondent to my organisation’s employee workplace survey, are my personal responses confidential?
Absolutely! Understandably, survey respondents occasionally raise questions over the confidentiality and security of their survey responses. We would like to assure everyone that we take the issue of confidentiality very seriously. The confidentiality statements below apply for the workplace climate surveys that we run (including the IBM Best Workplaces Survey).
- If you have been asked to enter your email address in order to receive a link to a survey, please be assured that the survey reporting available to your organisation's management will not display names or email addresses at all. We will not provide a list of individual respondents who have (or haven't) responded to a survey if asked.
- Your individual survey responses will always be combined with those of other people—it is not possible for your individual responses to be viewed by your organisation's management (the exception is for free-text comments—see below). Our online survey reporting requires that at least five (5) people have responded in any given group before reporting becomes available, unless your organisation has specifically told you otherwise. Some people raise concerns about the cross tabbing of organisation demographics—the possibility that your response could be identified if you complete the survey demographics page and you are (for example) the only female in the sales department who is aged 30-39 years old. As already noted, our reporting requires that at least five people have responded in any given group, and this includes any group generated by cross tab. In the case above, if you are the only person that meets all the criteria, your individual response would not be able to be viewed.
- Please be aware that any questions that allow you to make free-text comments will be reported verbatim—that is, whatever you type into those fields is what management will be able to read. If you are concerned about your confidentiality, please consider this when writing your comments, as a particular reference or 'turn of phrase' may identify you.
- If you have been provided with a username and password to access a survey, no one else will be given these details. Your password will normally be a randomly generated alphanumeric code, although if you have done a survey with us before, our system may keep your previously-used password. This is all done automatically. IBM will not share your password with anyone else. In the situation where you receive your username and password directly from someone within your organisation (as opposed to directly from IBM) we recommend you change your password the first time you log in.
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Q: Can a respondent’s demographic answers be changed after they submit the survey?
- At IBM we take our responsibilities regarding data confidentiality seriously. When a respondent submits their response to a survey, we feel that they should be confident that the data that they provided will not be subsequently altered without their permission.
- Therefore, if your organisation is concerned that people have placed themselves in the wrong demographic category/categories, we will need the permission of those people to change their demographic responses.
- This process should be carefully managed with IBM to ensure that trust in the survey process is maintained, and this process should not be undertaken lightly. Additional costs may also apply.
- If you would like to have certainty that your respondents are recorded in the correct demographic group, please talk to your project manager about running an attributed survey with demographic pre-population.
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Q: What is IBM’s demographic reporting and data integrity policy?
- IBM's demographic reporting option allows you to break your survey results down by any demographic grouping you like—organisation structure, position level, age, length of service, etc. To enable this sort of reporting, we will work with you to prepare a set of demographic questions and response options that suit your needs.
- Our standard pricing for demographic reporting involves the demographic questions being located in a single section of the survey, and survey respondents are required to make their selections for each demographic question from dropdown boxes.
- While this approach works well for many of our clients, it should be noted that the nature of asking people to answer these questions themselves means that it is possible for people to not respond to a demographic question, to not 'drill down' a demographic structure all the way to their correct group/team, or to select the 'wrong' answer.
- If your organisation would like more certainty that your respondents are recorded in the correct demographic groups, you might like to consider providing IBM with some of this demographic data at the outset of the survey, so we can attribute the correct demographic for people.
- We call this an 'attributed survey with demographic pre-population,' and it involves IBM managing the whole survey process for you, including sending out launch/reminder emails, potentially printing coded hard copy questionnaires, and ensuring demographic data integrity.
- Please contact IBM or your project manager to discuss costs and whether this approach is appropriate for your organisation. Our standard approach is to pre-populate your two most important demographic questions but additional options may be discussed.
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Q: What is IBM’s Software Products and Software-as-a-Service Privacy Statement?
You can view IBM’s Software Products and Software-as-a-Service Privacy Statement here (US) .
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