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Towers Watson – Capturing Meaningful Employee Opinion Data

“Today’s business leaders are inundated with a vast ongoing flow of information. Technological advances allow us to track financial results, customer behavior and operational performance on an up-to-the-minute basis. It is therefore only natural for leaders to expect that all business-relevant information — including employee opinion — should be gathered and reported on an equally frequent basis. But does that really make sense? THE PITFALLS OF OVER-SURVEYING - The first issue to consider is how frequently the different types of employee opinions we are measuring are likely to change. Consider two questions commonly used to measure employee engagement: “Do you believe strongly in the goals and objectives of this company?” and “Are you proud to be associated with this company?” Responses to these questions are not likely to change on an hourly, daily, weekly or even monthly basis. The same is true for questions that measure aspects of organizational culture. Although responses to these questions may change and, we hope, improve over time, such change is noteworthy only if linked to a genuine change in the work environment. For example, opinions that change in response to a company initiative or difference in behavior are more noteworthy than those attributed to the ups and downs of everyday life in a big company. Indeed, Towers Watson’s experience suggests that a quarterly check of employee opinion is frequent enough, and even that is often too frequent…”

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