Corporate Compass provides custom stakeholder surveys and 360 assessments. We work with our clients to…

  • design custom on-line tools to collect just the data they need;
  • administer data collection to maximize response rates;
  • analyze and report the data to facilitate decision-making and action; and,
  • offer coaching and consulting to support personal and individual change.

Web-based data collection is a must. 24/7 availability of your on-line tools, anywhere respondents can get an internet connection, is a great advance from the days when paper surveys were distributed by hand or through the mails. Today, you also need those tools to work well whether accessed via desktop computer, tablet or, increasingly, smartphone.

 

Our clients rightly ask why they should engage us for their data collection projects when self-help sites like SurveyMonkey seem to offer the same services – FREE! Everyone likes a deal, especially if your business is affected by the current economic conditions.

whynot.fwWe like these self-help services – nothing wrong with empowering the user. In fact, a Canadian company, FluidSurveys (recently merged with SurveyMonkey), has been our hosting partner for 3 years. We chose to work with them because their technology is world-class, and your data is stored in Canada, an important feature for some clients.

 

While these self-help services are good, that doesn’t mean they are the best, or even a viable option for your survey or assessment project. Any investment you make in your business must find the right balance between cost and value. And, “Free” is not always what it seems.

 

Before you sign up to a self-help site to do your survey or assessment, consider the value-added features you need, and the real cost of the service you’re getting.

The Value You Need…

A survey or assessment project isn’t really about the data collected. You seek data for a purpose, to improve your organization, or develop the people in it.

 

We’re proud of our technology, and have invested much over 20 years to learn how to use it to help you. But our real passion is facilitating positive change in individuals and organizations. We care as much that your project makes a difference, as we do about the technical bells and whistles we use to help you make that happen.

 

How much could your project benefit from these value-added features?

 

Custom Tools

Your data collection needs and respondents are unique. The tools you use should gather just what you need, while building respondent confidence in your purpose and the process. You do that by customizing your survey or assessment in these ways…

  • Branding: use your own colours, logo, and style to make it clear to respondents who is asking for their data.
  • Questions: you need question options that allow you to ask what you choose, in the way that gets the best possible answers.
  • Answer Scales: that minimize bias and are easily understood by respondents.
  • Comments: wherever respondents can provide more open-ended information, in their own words.
  • Paging: to break up longer question sets, enhancing respondent focus and reducing survey fatigue.
  • Flow: using branching, skipping or piping to customize each respondent’s path through your survey.
  • Accessibility: to accommodate respondents with special needs.
  • Respondent Support: making it easy for respondents with clear instructions, tool tips and readily available help.

These options may not be available depending on the self-help service you choose and level of plan you buy. Yes, “free” doesn’t mean you get it all. Customization comes at a cost.

Capable Advice
Technical capacity is not your only issue. You also need technical ability – free doesn’t mean easy. Expertise may be available to you internally, perhaps in your IT department. While they can help with the tools, we have found few IT departments have the necessary expertise to develop surveys or assessments.

 

We use 20 years of experience and objectivity to help you avoid common pitfalls in survey or assessment design…

  • Confusion: Questions must be understandable to respondents, free of jargon and seek just one answer at a time.
  • Bias: Questions should not be leading or prejudice responses in any way.
  • Entry Error: Minimize the risk that respondent mistakes or omissions weaken your data.
  • Fatigue: The survey or questionnaire should be considerate of respondents’ time and attention span.
  • Miscommunication: Questions and related correspondence should communicate clear and positive messages about the survey itself, and your organization.

Respondent Convenience
24/7 availability of your on-line tools is important, but not all that matters to the quantity of responses you get. Our client surveys frequently exceed 80% response rates. For 360’s, 100% participation is our goal.

 

We get those response rates by making your survey or assessment convenient for respondents in ways that can’t easily be replicated with self-help services. Our staff ensure every contact with your respondents is…

  • Personal: Every email is tailored with the respondent’s name, individualized instructions, and relevant information to fully engage them.
  • Practical: You’ll probably want to sort your data along demographic lines – age, position, tenure, role, etc.. With self-help sites, you have to have to ask respondents for that information as part of your survey or assessment. This increase completion times, is prone to entry-error, and provokes confidentiality concerns. We take care of demographics in the background, avoiding all these issues.
  • Professional: Our tools are so easy-to-use, so help requests are infrequent. When needed though, our friendly, experienced staff are always available to help. We’ve heard it all, and know what to do. This is our job, not an add-on or side project.
  • Private: As an arms length 3rd party, respondents generally feel more comfortable asking us for help than they might dealing with internal staff.

Individual Anonymity
The people who respond to your survey or assessment are sharing valuable information, and may feel at-risk when they do so. They need to believe their efforts will produce meaningful results. They also need to believe any promise of anonymity made to them will be honoured. When it comes to the delicate data collected in an employee survey or 360 assessment, it seems natural that internal staff, perhaps Human Resources, should be involved.

 

Our staff have all worked in HR at some point in their careers. We understand the challenges of those roles, and have immense respect for the capability those who do this important work for you. But as the old saying goes, it is wise to “stick to your knitting.” No offense intended, but HR staff are not typically skilled in the technicalities of implementing a great survey or 360 process. They know the organization and respondent population very well, but may not know how best to ask for or analyze the data you need.

 

The role of HR staff in most organizations is also quite complex. Sandwiched between management and staff, they occupy a unique and privileged position. In that position, when they ask “difficult” questions, they might not always get the “real” answer. As a 3rd party, we can ask the same questions with less risk of provoking concerns about confidentiality or consequence. Respondents generally have more confidence in our promise of anonymity to them, so tell us more about what they really think.

Data Security
You don’t want your data to fall into the wrong hands. Our survey platform is world-class, the same core technology that powers FluidSurveys, a division of SurveyMonkey. Your data is stored in Canada on redundant servers, protected by leading edge firewalls and security scans. Data is backed up daily and stored securely off-site in case of an unexpected disaster.

 

Self-help services offer similar protection. That doesn’t help though once your data moves from their servers to the desktops of your staff tasked to analyze the data. By accident, or intentionally, confidentiality breaches are not uncommon.

 

We have rigorous privacy policies in place, and experienced staff committed to the confidentiality of your business information and anonymity of individual respondents. Any personal or contact details you provide to complete our work with you is only used for that purpose, held in the strictest confidence, then deleted from our system after use.

You can get technology from services like SurveyMonkey, but you will not get the flexibility and insight needed to make it work as well as it could for you. We just include the features above in our services. Help like this isn’t an extra when you work with us – it’s the way we work.  

…For a Reasonable Investment!

So let’s get back to the feature that first catches your eye when considering an on-line service – it’s “FREE”. At first glance, that seems an attractive offer.

 

It is, if you can make do with basic tools and look only at the costs that show up on an invoice. As soon as your needs become a little more sophisticated, “free” turns into a monthly fee for a plan that includes added features. And there are there are other, largely hidden, costs to consider, costs that increase with the scope or complexity of your project. 

 

How much could these necessities or possibilities cost your project?

 

Learning
On-line tools are relatively easy to use for basic surveys and assessments. As your need for customization or complex analysis and other valuable features goes up though, so does the competence demanded. Can you afford the investment of time needed to have internal staff learn how to use tools they may only use occasionally?

Administration
Administering a survey or assessment is time consuming, especially for those who have not done so before, or do it infrequently. Those same staff likely have other things to do, tasks they are better trained for and better suited to. Are you willing to have them set aside other important activities to administer your survey or assessment project?

Design Bias
Survey or assessment design is always affected by the experiences and context of the designers. No matter how well intended, their assumptions and prejudices creep into decisions about what is asked, how it is asked, or how responses are analyzed. What is it worth to you to ensure that the data you get is complete and unbiased?  

Project Delays
Internal IT and HR staff deal with budget and security policies that can slow their response time. What we can do in hours or days often takes them weeks or months. Can your business afford to wait for the data that ultimately drives better decision making and change?

Errors
Inexperienced users make mistakes that take time to fix, and can damage the credibility of your efforts in the eyes of potential respondents. As respondent confidence in the process and people involved declines, so does the quality and quantity of data you collect. Can you afford to risk your project on the mis-steps of well-meaning internal staff ?

Routines and experience help us do key tasks faster, better, and with fewer errors. Objectivity and professional ethics drive our commitment to your success. We do the right things, for a reasonable cost. Clients who have tried to do it themselves before working with us tell us we save them money in the long-run.