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Why Survey Research in the Workplace Falls Short and 3 Solutions

AnonymousBy Patrick Merfert 8 years ago
Home  /  Insights  /  Why Survey Research in the Workplace Falls Short and 3 Solutions

When business leaders want to capture employee insights or customer feedback, they often turn to online survey research. They have hopes of not only uncovering unique ideas but also identifying patterns in the data. While the executives are well intentioned, their survey research often falls short, whether they realize it or not.

Problems with survey research in the workplace can relate to the survey design phase as much as they can to the execution and data analysis phases. With a bit of Googling, most people understand that it is important to follow basic principles such as avoiding biased or double-barreled questions. Armed with this limited understanding of survey research and a mission to gain business insights, they company cobbles together a survey to the best of its abilities.

However, business leaders often underestimate the time and expertise required to perform valuable survey research. The survey should be cohesive, yet concise. The logic of the survey should flow naturally. Importantly, the data collected should be valuable to the business’s needs…and on and on. Unfortunately, it really is the case of garbage in, garbage out:the data gathered will only be useful if the survey is well designed.

Unfortunately, survey design is only half of the battle. Interpreting the responses, mining the dataset for patterns and insights, and then mapping the findings to your business is how the true value of your survey research is unlocked.

If all you want are simple, surface-level insights, then by all means create a simple survey; there’s certainly no shortage of low cost do-it-yourself survey platforms. But if you aspire to generate deeper organizational insights that drive meaningful enterprise value, you’re going to have to bring your survey research ‘A’ game. Chances are that your company doesn’t have an in-house team of survey research scientists, so here’s three potential solutions:

1. Hire Professional Help.

Professionally designed and administered survey research can help ensure that the survey is robust, yet concise and is capturing the appropriate data points. However, relying on outside professionals to design and administer your surveys can quickly get expensive. Moreover, once the data is gathered, you still have to analyze the data and map it to your business.

2. Use Survey Templates.

Working with survey templates can allow you to quickly ask questions for very specific business discovery projects such as customer satisfaction or employee engagement. However the data insights gathered from these templates tend to be surface-level.

3. Use an Advanced Platform.

At 9Lenses, we’ve taken a different approach and architected a robust framework which maps each question to relevant areas of your business, an advanced interview engine which gathers deeper insights for every question asked, and a rich analytics dashboard which enables you to zero-in on top focus areas. Similar to the previous two options, our platform is not for everyone; 9Lenses is typically used by high-performing business leaders who want to quickly move from insight to action. Click here to read more about how our platform is different from a survey.


If business leaders wish to capture actionable insights from customers and/or employees through survey research, then they must use well-designed surveys and be able to rigorously analyze the data collected. Fortunately, there are a few options to mitigate the risk inherent in survey research. Which option you choose to pursue depends on your aspirations as a leader and preferences for depth of insight. To learn more about the limitations of traditional, do-it-yourself survey platforms, download our free eBook below.



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