The information provided in a survey on stress and quality of working life needs to be carefully managed if it is to be helpful.
Our experience with various organisations has underlined our view that information is best used to foster good practice, rather than as a tool to seek out poor practice.
This constructive approach allows those who work in areas where feedback is good to be recognised and so keep doing whatever it is that is good, and it allows others to learn form those areas so that they can enhance their feedback next time.
Co-operation with surveys is also maintained, whereas it can be lost if staff see such surveys as being associated with punitive management reaction.
In the years of providing advice to many and varied organisations we have developed a number of principles we adhere to when we provide advice.
Keep it Simple
We provide a brief, focused executive summary of survey data which offers easy access to all key data and identifies some of the key findings. Our graphic presentation
helps the commissioners make sense of results at a glance. A full report makes the information readily understandable, and avoids overloading the reader. All survey data is made available, perhaps on-line, but, given that surveys can generate an overwhelming amount of information, we use a range of methods to select and interpret the findings which stand out.
Emphasise best practice
A positive approach to feedback for staff forms the basis for our surveys. We help employers and staff identify best practice, creating beacons of excellence to serve as models for others. Celebrating success helps maintain that good practice, and motivates people much more than a punitive approach. Where a survey indicates that action is needed, we work with an organisation to identify how appropriate interventions can be identified.
Show Comparison Figures
Survey results in them selves offer information by comparing responses to questions within an organisation. Staff might show high satisfaction with management, but less satisfaction with levels o stress experienced, for example. As any survey at a specific point of time can reflect other influences on the way people complete them (e.g., after England are thrown out of the world cup), a repetition of a survey after a period of time helps monitor change, and gives a more valid measure of staff attitudes. Comparison of survey results with other relevant organisations can offer opportunity to check expectations and achievements within a wider context.
Evidence based advice
As applied psychologists, we strive to link research to action, thereby helping our clients make changes that are most likely to be last. Our up to date knowledge of the relevant academic research is used to develop guidance to compliment the survey findings. Where the research is poor we will say so, and we also give indication of the level of confidence we have in various identified options for action. Our input needs to be interpreted by the people in an organisation, drawing upon their local knowledge and various areas of expertise.
For example our postal response rates
advice and postal options
advice are based on the research evidence and then checked through our own experience.