Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New Report Facility

Changes have been made to the format of the Respondent Activity Monitor so that the displayed information is clearer.

When requesting the download of the detailed results you are now able to choose to receive the 'Results Document'. This is a file that will be provided in HTML format containing all of the individual survey responses in a format that can be locally viewed using a browser and/or printed.

This facility is ideally suited for surveys that contain a number of questions that allow free text comment responses as well as providing a method for customers to archive locally their information in a readable format either electronically or in hardcopy form.

The new facility will incur a small charge for Pay-As-You-Go customers and included free of charge for customers who have an active personal or enterprise subscription.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Physician Assisted Suicide

Doctors in many countries are able to accompany their patients every step of the way, up until the last where laws stops them helping their patients take the final step, even if that is the patients fervent wish.

A number of medical organisation have recently withdraw their opposition to any legalisation that would allow assisted dying but they say it is a matter for society and their neutrality in the debate must not be seen as support for assisted dying.

In the Netherlands, one in 40 deaths is from voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide, both legal practices.

In Oregon, where voluntary euthanasia is prohibited, assisted suicide is responsible for one in 700 deaths.

Where do you stand on this difficult issue?

If you would like to participate in our free survey click on this link Physician Assisted Suicide.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Employee Satisfaction Surveys - Step by Step Guide

The benefit of running an annual employee survey has for a long time been widely accepted but many organisations have been put off by the amount of effort that is required.

For organisations who have bit the bullet and conducted their own internal employee satisfaction surveys they have often relied on word-processors to allow them to design and compile a survey, then gone through the effort of printing and distributing the survey and spent time chasing and collecting the completed surveys and then even more time transferring the survey response information into a meaningful management report.

Fortunately with the introduction of the Internet and applications like Survey Galaxy what was once a time consuming, resource hungry, long winded and cumbersome process is now slick, quick and easy.

If your are interested in conducting an employee satisfaction survey this document will provide you with a step by step guide to help you implement a survey that will bring considerable benefits to your organisation.

Use the following as a checklist and guide to deploy your own employee satisfaction survey and should you require any assistance contact us via the Help Request giving details and we be happy to provide a lead or support role in helping you implement your survey.

Step 1 - Identifying The Need

The reasons an organisation would need a survey are as wide and they are long. Listed here are a few common reason why employee satisfaction surveys are conducted.

Event Driven

If your organisation is about to embark, or is going through, a change management programme surveys can assist in managing the change, measuring the effectiveness of the change, help to deliver a 'message' and gather valuable feedback throughout the change cycle.

For organisations that are experiencing rapid growth employee surveys can monitor internal communications and management structures to ensure that employees are aware of their reporting and management responsibilities.

Where an organisation is suffering from poor moral brought on by either internal or external influences an employee survey can be used to identify the specific concerns of employees so those concerns can be properly addressed.

Where there is an increase in turnover of staff employee surveys can help an organisation identify the underlying cause of employee unrest and through their findings help find solutions.


As part of a periodic assessment, surveys will help an organisation review their personnel and monitor on an individual level job satisfaction, training and career development.

Employee surveys also offer senior management the opportunity to look at the soft underbelly of their organisation to confirm that their 'top down' view of the organisation matches the reality and 'bottom up' perspective.

With the help of employee surveys an organisation can establish good employer/employee communication that will in turn bring both direct and indirect benefits.

Step 2 - Management Buy-In

Management buy-in is always desirable for any initiative and many will argue that it is essential to ensure a successful employee survey, however, in some instances the findings of an employee survey can lead to kick-starting a management that has grown complacent and detached from their employees.

Some organisation may be fortunate in that the senior management recognise and drive the need for employee surveys, while in others the management may need to first be convinced of the direct and indirect benefits an employee survey will bring.

The level of management commitment to an employee survey will have some bearing on the nature of the survey and to some extent will help determine what questions are to be asked and the manner they are asked.

A management that is supportive of the initiative may require feedback on specific areas of the business or they may give the go ahead because they feel confident that the results will only confirm that the level of employee satisfaction throughout the organisation is high.

In nearly all cases it is good practice to at least try and get management to buy-in to the employee survey from the very start as they have a lot to gain and are in a position to effect any change that is later identified as being required.

Step 3 - Designing The Survey

Designing a good survey will take some time and effort but by following the basics of survey design and concentrating on the 'need to know' questions and removing the 'nice to know' a survey will rapidly take shape.

Determining the exact questions that should be asked will be entirely dependent on the individual organisation, its structure and the previously identified primary need and objectives of the employee survey.

When considering what questions to ask consideration should be given to how the results are to be analysed. For example there may be a desire to ask for individual comments but these types of answer formats can be very time consuming and cumbersome to analyse and should therefore be
avoided or used sparingly.

With online surveys it is generally better to do a few smaller surveys than one very long survey as the longer the survey the higher the drop out rate will be.

Step 4 – Proof Reading And Testing

Grammar, Spelling And Clarity

Before publishing the survey make a careful check for spelling and typing mistakes and incorrect grammar. If available it is always better to have someone who has not been involved in designing the survey to proof read the survey with clean eyes, if no one is available try to take a break before checking through the survey again.

Say What You Mean And Mean What You Say

When checking the survey you need to consider the survey from the viewpoint of the respondent, you may know what you mean by each question but will the questions be clear to the employee?

Allow The Employee To Answer Truthfully

For closed questions where the employee will be required to choose from a number of available responses have you allowed the employee to answer accurately? Make use of responses like 'Don't know', 'No comment' or 'Not Applicable' where you have made the question mandatory but the employee may not be able to answer.

Consider allowing the employee to include an 'Other' answer but also appreciate that 'Other' answers will add to the complexity when analysing the survey results.

Don't Require A Response To Questions That May Not Have One

Check that for any questions that you have made mandatory you do require an answer, for example open questions such as asking for additional comments should not be mandatory unless you definitely require the respondent to write a comment.

Check You Will Be Able To Analyse The Data

Check through the survey again but this time looking at how the results of the survey will be analysed. Consider how you are likely to want to analyse the survey data, have you asked the right questions to be able to perform detailed analysis? For example if you wanted to view the detailed response data from the perspective of the different genders, or maybe departments, check you have asked the employee to indicate their own gender and/or department.

Don't Ask Anymore Questions Than You Need To

Consider all the questions in the survey and look for questions that are not 'need to know'.

Test The Link And Try Completing The Survey

Publish the survey and then send the survey's link to a number of people who will be willing to test the survey. By completing the survey yourself you will get a feel for how the respondent will view the survey. From your own and others feedback stop and make adjustments to the survey as required.

Repeat this process until you are happy with the survey.

Check The Data

Take time to view the online summary results of the test data and confirm that the data is being collected in a manner that can be properly analysed and that will give meaningful results.

Step 5 – Promoting And Deploying The Survey

Where all or the majority of employees have access to the internet or company intranet deploying the online survey is as easy that ABC, either via email or by establishing a link to the survey from your own website or Intranet.

Where there are some or many employees that do not have direct access to the internet there are a number of alternatives that can be used from issuing the survey in printed form, providing a shared terminal or giving them an incentive to complete the survey at home.

There are many ways to promote your online survey and although email appears to be the most common method there are many others that can be used to compliment email.

Anonymous Responses?

There is a choice to allow all surveys to be completed anonymously. Allowing a survey to be anonymous may encourage employees to speak their minds enabling the survey to provide 'a warts and all' report, in turn giving management an opportunity to address underlying problems before they become serious.

However, allowing anonymous comments also allows employees to be more cavalier and flippant with their responses. Some organisations would therefore only want to consider comments where employees are prepared to stand by their convictions and that will also provide an opportunity to follow up the specific concerns of individual employees.

The decision to allow anonymous responses or not will, among other factors, be down to the individual organisation, the specific nature of the survey, the surrounding circumstances, the management style and the existing employer/employee relationship.

Step 6 – Monitoring The Survey

While the survey is in progress you will be able to view the summary results online and also monitor in real-time the number of surveys that have been both started and completed.

If after a few days the number of completed surveys falls short of the expected target it is advisable
to send periodic reminders to employees asking them to complete the survey.

Step 7 - Analysing The Result

There are no hard and fast rules for analysing the data. Much depends on the individual survey, the
questions asked and the number of responses.

Most surveys will benefit from many of the results being displayed in graphical as well as tabular form.

When first analysing survey data often a number of 'headline' results will immediately stand out that will provide you with a general overview and, providing the right questions have been asked, give you an instant assessment of the mood throughout the organisation as a whole.

Where the results give areas of concern a more detailed analysis may be advisable. For example if employees were asked if they felt the organisation provided equal opportunities to both genders and 25% gave a negative response it would be useful to know the gender split of the organisation and also to look at what the gender split was of the 25% that answered negatively. Was the negative view shared by employees of both genders, evenly spread throughout the organisation, or of a particular gender from a particular department?

There is a method of reporting that presents the result data in tabular and/or graphical form allowing those who are interested in the results to view the raw data.

Often used as a compliment to the first, another method is to interpret the results and provide an analysis of the data and offer a view as to what the meaning is behind the results, what circumstances may have contributed to the results being as they are and, where the results indicate a negative, what initiatives could be taken. Such analysis if done by a single individual is likely to be very personal, if done by a committee it is still likely to be objective and therefore open to interpretation.

Step 8 – Further Action

Probably the most important step is the last. An employee survey will either confirm that the perfect organisation exists or it will highlight areas that are less than perfect by identifying individual and common concerns.

It may be that further more detailed surveys are required that target specific areas. For example the survey may reveal that employees working in a particular department are collectively unhappy, but the reasons for their dissatisfaction may not be clear. A smaller, specifically targeted follow-up survey may help reveal the root causes.

When employee surveys are periodically run an organisation that has taken steps to address issues will see their efforts reflected in subsequent survey responses. Almost all organisations have some problems and it helps an organisation's moral to see that a channel is available that will allow problems to be highlighted, addressed and resolved.


These guidelines are intended to help an organisation conduct successful employee satisfaction surveys, they are however, only a guide.

Each organisation is different in style and structure and the organisations 'personality' will go someway to influencing the tone and nature of the survey and organisations may have different circumstances and primary reasons for conducting a survey.

By utilising existing technology and conducting surveys online you are now able to monitor the heart beat of an organisation, quickly, easily and, by using Survey Galaxy, at minimal cost.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The End of Pierce Brosnan As James Bond - How Did You Rate Him?

Pierce Brosnan reign as 007 is now at an end with the announcement that the less well known Daniel Craig will become the sixth James Bond in the twenty-first Bond film.

Pierce Brosnan took over the role from Timothy Dalton in 1995 and appeared in four bond films. Craig will now take over from Pierce Brosnan for the next film 'Casino Royale' which is due to start filming in January.

How do you rate Pierce Brosnan tenure as Bond and do you think that Daniel Craig will make a good Bond?

Tell us which of Bronsan's Bond films was his best and where you rate him compared to the other four actors who have played Bond?

If you would like to participate in our free survey click on this link Pierce Brosnan Is No Longer Bond - How Did You Rate Him?.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Survey Galaxy - A Hosted Application

Survey Galaxy is a hosted survey application, here we explain what the term 'hosted application' means and list the benefits of hosted software and the concerns that customers should always consider when evaluating hosted applications in general.

As access to the Internet becomes more widespread with faster, more reliable and 'always on' connections becoming the norm the growth of applications using the hosted application model continues to expand.

Although hosted applications will not suit every situation, or every customer, they offer many individuals and organisations, as well as the application manufacturers' themselves, considerable benefits over the locally installed application.

What is a Hosted Application?

A hosted application, also known as Internet-based application, web-based application, online application and Application Service Providers (ASPs) are software applications where the software resides on servers that are accessed through the Internet instead of the more traditional software that is installed on either a local server or on individual PC's.

The thin client concept is nothing new but advances in Internet connectivity have allowed the application to move from a local server to a server on the Internet.

What are the Benefits?

Reduced costs, instant deployment, easier to maintain and reduced administration are among some of the main benefits.

Low maintenance

With hosted applications the hardware and software is the responsibility of the vendor with the client only having to maintain access to the Internet. As there is no software to download a hosted application can be made instantly available across an entire organisation even where the organisation has multiple regional and international offices.

As there is no software the considerable time and resources required for periodic updates is also completely eliminated.

Reduced Cost

The need to license software through a 'per user', 'per concurrent user', 'per server' or 'site' license has been eliminated. Although some hosted applications still do charge 'per user' many have taken the opportunity to charge on a 'usage' and/or 'period' basis meaning that the customer does not have to estimate the number of licenses that will be required, nor install and pay for full licenses that may only be used by some employees occasionally.

This hosted application model also allows the smaller organisation and sole trader access to applications written using advanced software development tools and that utilise sophisticated database technology and high-end servers. The capital investment of the hardware and software as well as the security, backup and server maintenance cost are all the responsibility
of the vendor.

Minimal Risk

Many hosted applications require no long term commitment from their customers. New customers can often test hosted applications either through a free introduction offer or with minimal risk using a Pay-As-You-Go model. If after trialling the hosted application the customer finds it unsuitable
then they can simply stop using the service.


Because the application software and the data is stored on the Internet server the application and data is available to the authorised client once they have logged on from anywhere there is Internet access. The customer can now work anywhere in the office environment, from remote offices or
from their home or hotel without the need to download their work or synchronise with portable devices.


For organisations that have legacy systems from different suppliers running different operating systems the hosted application will provide an integrated solution to any system that supports a standard Internet browser including Windows, Unix and Macs.


The hosted application vendors benefit by not having to maintain multiple version numbers or individual maintenance and licensing agreements. New updates are installed centrally negating the need for expensive roll outs. For many applications the need for version numbers is eliminated as updates are made incrementally bringing the benefits to the customer without having
to bundle new features up into a new periodic version release. In some cases a user can request a new feature in the morning that can be developed, tested and deployed globally by the afternoon.

The Concerns

Internet access

New communication technology is able to bring high speed Internet connectivity to more and more remote places but there are still some regions where internet access is limited or not available.

In some cases such as mobile workers although high speed Internet connectivity is available the cost both in terms of connectivity charges and equipment may, at least in the short term, prove to be prohibitive.


As with everything to do with the Internet security is a justified concern. There is no simple 'one size fits all' solution to the security issue and a lot will depend on the specific hosted application and the nature of the data.

With online banking and shopping becoming common place the vendor should be able to provide their clients with sufficient confidence that the data is secure and that any private information remains private.

Hosted applications will normally operate a login procedure ensuring that only those that are authorised have access. The more sensitive the data, the more sophisticated the login procedure.

A good data host will strictly enforce the stated wishes of their customers and ensure that data is not available or released to anyone that is not legally entitled to see it and they will adopt the latest security measures available to prevent unauthorized access.

There may be some areas such as automatic logins from known PC's and the use of cookies that although they don't necessary represent a significant risk could present a risk under certain circumstances, such as gaining access to a private account through the automatic login using an unattended PC. Although strictly speaking the customer's responsibility the customer should be made aware of the risks so that they can take action to safeguard their own system.

Although security is a concern in some circumstances private data may prove to be more secure than it would be on a private network with less sophisticated security measures or in an environment where there is a risk from within.

Vendor Lock-In

As with all software applications there is a risk that a customer could become locked-in to paying costly monthly subscriptions to maintain access to their historic data. To counter this some applications will allow the data to be downloaded or allow customer to maintain access to their data for a reasonable time free of charge.


Unlike a local application the hardware and software is under the control of a third party. This is a justifiable concern although not too dissimilar to the telephone provider supplying and maintaining the communications equipment and as with the telephone providers there are considerable incentives for the vendors to ensure high availability and reliability since their business depends on it.

In Summary


    • No vendor installation or upgrades required

    • Low start-up costs

    • Minimal Risk, no long term commitment

    • Backups and viruses responsibility of the vendor

    • Hardware and software server maintenance vendor's responsibility

    • Investment in local hardware & software reduced

    • No need to synchronized data with multiple devices

    • Access to data available globally through any internet connection

    • Reduced software licensing costs


      • Lack of Internet availability

      • Security

      • Possibility of vendor lock-in

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Most, if not all, of the developed nations have tax systems and credits that have become so convoluted that tax regulations run to thousands of pages and the administration costs soar as each individual case is calculated.

Most experienced economist would previously have argued that to introduce a single flat rate of income tax would result in financial disaster.

Estonia had an economy that was in meltdown, with inflation running at 1,000 per cent a year and one in three workers unemployed. However through adopting a flat rate tax its economy has flourished into one that is now listed in the top ten of competitive economies and is enjoying considerable foreign investment.

The idea that the rich should pay tax at a higher tax than everyone else is almost 100 years old. It is often argued with modern taxation systems that the rich are able to find loop holes that allow them to pay little, if any tax at all. Estonia tax everyone at the same rate 26 per cent (expected to be cut soon to 23 and then 20).

Would you support a more transparent form of taxation?

Do you think any of the G8 countries will be brave enough to make such a radical change?

If you would like to participate in this survey click on this link A Flat Rate Tax System Anyone?.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fun Surveys

Survey Galaxy's Public area is full of surveys that are on either fun or topical subjects.

Here is a roundup of some of the surveys you will find in the Public Area, feel free to participate in any of them that you find of interest and remember for any public survey that you complete you will be able to see the latest online summary results.

Fun Surveys

When it comes to fun surveys how about nominating the best exchange between the Qantas pilots and their maintenance engineers and if you have ever found yourself between a rock and a hard place try these difficult choices.

If work is getting you down and you need a top excuse for a day off see if there is one listed that you haven't already used. When it comes to the genders we have surveys that ask what the best and worst chat up lines are and what the true meaning is behind what women say?

Film and TV

Want to know who is considered film's king of cool or what people think is the coolest car featured in a movie or TV series?

In the public area you will find surveys that ask who are your top five actresses of all time and that allow you to vote for your best film speech ever. Sean Connery was heading the top movie star of all time but would he get your vote and check out the survey that asks who are the greatest TV duo of all time?

Music Surveys

If you are interested in music you will find surveys that ask people to nominate their favourite Beatle song, album, film and Beatle and with the Rolling Stones on tour again the question is asked if you are you ever too old to do certain things in life?


For relationships we would like to know where you stand on having joint bank accounts and do you think that Valentines Day is a good or bad custom?


If sports is your thing who do you think is the most well known sportsman is and for that matter the best basketball player of all time?

Topical issues

For topical subjects we cover the whole spectrum from the great American debate on gun control to where you stand on the smoking in public issue? Do you have a view on Genetically Modified (GM) farming and how environmentally aware do you think you are? We wonder if it is time the music industry woke up and smelt the coffee and where you stand on the issue of donor organ opt-out/opt-in?


With space exploration do you think that Nasa is an expensive luxury or value for money, do you believe in UFO's and would you like a holiday in space?


For politics there are surveys that ask if Hillary Clinton will be the first women US President and how do you view the legacy of Yasser Arafat (1929 - 2004) as a freedom fighter or terrorist? When it comes to the greatest conspiracy theories do you believe the official version or are the conspiracy theories actually true?


Take time to browse the Public Surveys and see all the fun surveys that are available, if you register and join the respondent register you will be notified of new public surveys as they are published.

Why not try your hand at creating your own public survey it is completely free but just remember to be included in the public area they need to be well written and be of general interest, fun or related to a non-commercial topical issue.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Divided or United Nations?

2005 saw the United Nations Organisation 60th anniversary.

Formed after four years of world war and genocide the United States was determined to lead the world in creating an institution that would act to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," and to "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.

The U.N. was created to advocate and deliver peace, security and development.

With the UN's biggest financial contributor at odds with the UN and the unfolding oil-for-food scandal that implicated the son of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and doubts over its ability to react effectively to events. We ask was the creation of the United Nations a good thing, has the United Nations been a benefit to world and does the United Nations have the will and the means to achieve its aims and objectives?

If you would like to participate in this survey click on this link Divided or United Nations? .

Monday, October 03, 2005

I can't get no Employee Satisfaction

I'm not happy. The printer has still not been fixed and now my chair is broken. The problem with this place is that it is falling apart. My boss is okay but has no clue what is going on.

That new guy that started last week, who no one bothered to introduce, has been given a job that he has no idea how to do; why didn't they just ask me? I could have told them that a new set of drawings have been issued so even if he did know what he was doing the drawings he is using are obsolete anyway. Sometimes I don't know why I bother turning up.

I went for a drink with some of the guys last night after work. No one is happy and Sally from Accounts says that she has just about had enough and is thinking of asking for a rise and if they don't give it to her she is going to quit.

The management here just don't have a clue, we are haemorrhaging money through our inefficiencies and they think that sending out memo's telling us that they are introducing new procedures for claiming expenses is going to make a difference – whoopee do.

I think I'll ask for a pay rise, if Sally from Accounts can get one I can.

And so it goes on.

These are the sort of thoughts that start to play on the minds of individuals when a company looses touch with their employees; the broken chair, the lack of appreciation, the blaming of 'management', even questioning the futility of what they are doing. Minor problems fester and a cynical and destructive mindset develops. Can you be sure that it isn't going on right now in your organisation?

Social events outside the office become nothing more than a forum for complaints and negativity grows among people who feel powerless to effect change. Dissatisfaction will often synthesise into a demand for an increase in remuneration, as though like a cheap fix more money will momentarily lessen the pain.

Left by management, undiscovered and unaware, the concern's of this employee will inevitable find solace with their colleagues own individual concerns, where the only common demand will be for an increase in remuneration, more paid holidays and a reduction in working hours, all of which will not fix the broken chair, ensure that new personnel are in future properly introduced, trained and managed nor help management identify areas of inefficiency.

Organisations have a habit of compartmentalising people, either physically through offices, cubicles and workstations but also in terms of responsibility. With effective and strong management to support this structure it can be productive, but as an organisation grows, and weak or inappropriate management infiltrates the management chain, it is inevitable that cracks will begin to appear.

From the top down all can appear rosy in the corporate garden as the weak and inappropriate manager reports that all is well in the engine room, oblivious to the fact that their coal stocks might be dwindling.

Experience shows us that relying on a limited number of indicators gives a skewed perspective just like a person with only one eye has difficulty judging distance. Good management will therefore establish procedures that sample the mood throughout the organisation from different perspectives providing a rounded picture.

The benefits of establishing good, frequent and extensive communication channels are both direct and indirect.

A senior management team that is known to have their ear to the ground will command great respect and will keep middle managers from becoming complacent knowing that they can no longer dismiss the senior managers searching "How is everything going?" question with a glib "Fine"; In my book if someone says "fine" you have to ask if they really know what is going on.

Most principals of organisation will not have the luxury of spending time walking the floor and discussing the issues of individuals but through online surveys they can achieve the same benefits.

Online surveys are the perfect mechanism for establishing effective employer/employee communications. Using a survey hosting service like they can now be created and published with ease and speed.

Using the internet and intranet surveys can be deployed in seconds, easily completed by employees and results can be displayed in real time allowing 'problems' and common themes of dissatisfaction to be identified early.

Online employee satisfaction surveys have the ability to get to the heart of an organisation, confirm not only that the engine room is working but that there is sufficient coal in the bunker.

The benefits that online surveys bring are considerable, not only are the real issues identified, but employees feel that their voices are being heard and that their views, right or wrong, have a forum.

Online surveys won't in themselves resolve a problem but they will give senior management the opportunity to address the problems and concerns of their employees, at least if people then leave the organisation they will be doing it for the right and not wrong reasons.

The grass will always appear greener on the other side but the underlying reasons for good people leaving an organisation are rarely purely monetary (although it is often cited as the reason)and more often to do with one or more of the following:-

  • the workplace environment;

  • a lack of fulfilment;

  • limited training and feedback;

  • lack of career growth;

  • over work;

  • lack of trust and respect with their senior managers.

A well planned employer/employee communications programme that can identify the individual and common concerns of employees will give senior management the opportunity to address root problems and not just the symptoms of employee dissatisfaction, allowing them to demonstrate to their employees that they are not viewed simply as interchangeable parts that can be used for any job at hand.

Employee surveys need to be customised so they are relevant for each individual organisation. I invite you to put yourself in the place of an employee and complete the following short Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey so you will get a flavour for what is possible;

Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey

Now view the summary results of the survey and think of the benefits to management being able to measure the level of employee satisfaction.

Online Summary Results of Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey