Not feeling the love for people surveys? Here's an approach to get excited about...

event-based surveys

Employee surveys have always played a role in HR. Typically, they involve a lot of time and a lot of work – they are big projects that happen once a year or once every two years. In most cases, because of their size and complexity, analysis takes a long time and we are left with a static, moment-in-time view of what was going on in the organization at the time of the survey.   Unfortunately this often leaves HR in the position of reacting to what was, rather than responding to what is and planning for what will be.


What if we could use surveys more strategically? What if surveys could become an ongoing means of engaging with employees and gathering feedback on important events and experiences in the organization? What if we could feed insight from surveys into timely decisions and actions that matter to the business?

This is possible and it’s by taking an approach to surveys that is event-driven.

As the name suggests, these are surveys that are triggered by significant employee events or milestones. This could be a survey triggered at the moment a new hire joins the organization (with surveys automatically sent out at the 7-day, 30-day, 6-month mark), or to a hiring manager at the 90 day mark of a new hire’s tenure to assess Quality of Hire. Or it could be a survey triggered by an individual’s promotion to manager, or by a particular work anniversary (2 year, 3 year, 5 year, etc.).  Really, any event that is significant to your organization can be part of the approach.  

Event-driven surveying means conducting smaller, targeted surveys, and sending these out at significant moments in time, to particular segments of the employee population. It also means gathering feedback and data on an ongoing basis and allowing you to feed insight into decisions and actions in real-time.

Because these surveys are targeted and are designed to ask relevant questions about an employee’s in-the-moment experiences, participants are engaged in the survey and the net is higher levels of survey completion than is often the norm. Most employees are happy to offer time to complete a survey when they know the questions are customized to their specific work experiences. And because the bulk of these surveys can be automated, you save time and effort – being able to set them up once and simply wait for the feedback to come in.

You may be wondering which surveys would be best to start with and which would be most important to your organization. To get at these answers, there are several places to start.

  • You can start with any area where you’d simply like to know more – this is where your intuition and business knowledge kick in. Choose an area you want to know more about and design a targeted survey to start building insight. Perhaps you want to know what makes Top Performers tick…design a survey, start connecting with your top performers and learn from them. Then feed this into learning and development programs as well as recruiting.

  • You can also start with getting to know more about an important part of the employee lifecycle. Many who are just starting with event-driven surveys opt to begin with surveys designed to shed light on the New Hire Experience. This approach delivers a lot of bang for your buck, as you can design surveys to reach New Hires in the first month, 3rd month, 6th month and beyond. You can also survey hiring managers for another perspective on the New Hire. From this you can build important insight into several areas including: the candidate experience, recruitment, onboarding, manager effectiveness, Quality of Hire and more.  

  • The other, and perhaps best place to start if it’s available to you, is by looking at your workforce data and what it is telling you. Use event-driven surveys to solve a real business problem. Maybe you have an ongoing issue with turnover among a particular group at the 2.5 year mark. Survey this group now for a read on what’s going on but also get prepared by developing surveys you can send out at intervals before this tenure hits. If you can engage employees and seek their genuine feedback you are on your way to nurturing a positive and productive employee experience and curbing this turnover trend.

Regardless of where you begin, with event-driven surveys HR can start having conversations about what is happening now rather than presenting details about what happened last month or last quarter. You can use event-based surveys and their feedback to create an HR that is proactive and nimble, i.e. using data collected on an ongoing basis to make decisions and take action. With this input you can be gaining insight into important areas and driving outcomes such as:

  • Lower Turnover / Increased Retention          
  • Lower Absenteeism  
  • Higher Engagement
  • Greater ROI of Programs and Initiatives
  • Increased Employee Productivity, Performance

Imagine, surveys that aren’t just an all-hands-on-deck, annual or semi-annual initiative but are a built-in, seamless means of gathering ongoing insight into the people and the business. It’s possible and event-driven surveys are the way forward. And when you combine the survey data with your other workforce and business data it becomes even more powerful, making connections across data sources for increased insight and business impact.

For examples of event-driven surveys and the value they can bring to the business, check out the eBook: It’s Time to Re-think People Surveys. Here you’ll find more information about event-driven surveys as well as 5 great examples.

 download ebook - event-driven surveys


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