Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Results Analyzer

A beta version of a new facility called the Results Analyzer has now been released. The Results Analyzer will compliment the existing Summary Result and eventually replace the Survey Report facility by providing a number of features including interactive charts, online query options and customised reporting.

While in beta release the Results Analyzer facility will only be made available to members who have a current subscription but when formally released it will be offered as a chargeable option for Pay-As-You-Go members.

For subscribers the Results Analyzer menu option is located on the Survey Details page along with the Summary Results and Detailed Results options.

Pay-As-You-Go members can have a sneak preview of the Results Analayzer, by taking the following sample survey for a test drive Results Analyzer -Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey.

The sample link demonstrates one of the features of Results Analyzer where the results can be configured and third-party access granted.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How should political parties be funded?

In a democracy all political parties require funding to support their campaigns.

In some countries private companies, interest groups and private individuals give vast sums to their chosen party. Is it naive to think that large donations are given with no strings attached?

Do you support the state funding of political parties or the banning, or severe restriction, of advertising campaigns?

Do modern campaigns fail to address the real political issues and stifle intelligent debate?

Participate in this weeks free survey How should political parties be funded?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Queen at 80 - How do you rate her?

On 21st April 2006 Queen Elizabeth will be 80.

The United Kingdom will officially celebrate and while many will take the opportunity to celebrate her reign, others will find it an appropriate moment to call for the the monarchy to be scrapped.

Is todays monarch just the apex of an invidious pyramid of class distinction, perpetuating privilege and snobbery, or do they represent Britain in a positive light and in way that no political figure could hope to achieve?

Participate in this weeks free survey The Queen at 80 - How do you rate her?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Why Do Good Employee's Leave?

Loosing good employees is not only an expense in terms of time, effort and the associated cost of finding a suitable replacement but also in the untold cost of loosing valuable knowledge and experience that is unique to the organization; Loosing good employees is a problem where prevention is most definitely the best cure.

It is inevitable that employees will leave from time to time but a good employer will want to know why an employee has decided to leave to ensure that personnel are leaving for the right, and not the wrong, reasons.

Concerns of employees can be identified early by the regular use of well designed employee satisfaction surveys, allowing for problems to be resolved and helping to minimize needless loss of staff. However, some problems, especially those that involve personalities, are not always brought to the surface until it is too late.

There are two very common reasons for employee dissatisfaction that can often result in personnel deciding to change jobs, a lack of career development and/or poor management. Both of these problems can be difficult to identify even for organizations that adopt regular 360 degree assessments (i.e. where as part of the overall appraisal system, employees evaluate their managers).

While employed employees can be reluctant to criticize their managers for fear of the consequences, they can however be more candid when completing an exit survey.

Although adopting exit surveys many not prevent individuals from leaving it will help bring to the surface problems that could, if left unchecked, result in poor staff moral for the remaining staff and worse case scenario, a flood of resignations.

Lack of Career Development

Not all employers can offer, and nor do all employees desire, a clear and long term career path. There are just as many people that find comfort and security in doing one job well as there are there are people that need to feel that they are continual being challenged, learning new skills and moving onwards and upwards with respect to the corporate ladder. For organizations to succeed and excel they need the high flyers as well as the steady Eddies of the world.

Where losses due to a lack of career development are occasional they may also be inevitable, but where they are frequent, then changes to the organizational structure might need to be considered to allow for greater career development of the employees.

Poor Management

Many managers achieved their position through promotion, but it does not always follow that a good worker will automatically make a good manager and often people are assigned management position without any formal management training.

Poor managers can be quick to discredit the views of disgruntled staff, 'I was thinking of getting rid of them anyway' and 'they were a waste of space' are typical responses to being asked if there is a problem causing people to leave an organization.

It is proper and natural for senior management to support their line managers by giving them the benefit of any doubt, after all a good managers can always be slighted by poor employees. But by conducting exit surveys, if a man-management problem were to be identified early there is a good chance that it can be addressed and resolved with the appropriate formal training and guidance.


It is not uncommon for people to leave an employer and at a later date put in a claim for constructive dismissal. With 'No win no fee' legal representation this has become a real problem for even good employers. Exit surveys will at best, provide a valuable record of the employee's reasons for leaving, and at worse, provide early warning that a possible claim might be expected.

Unless it is on record a tribunal will not necessarily accept an employer's word that when an employee left they did so without indicating any grievance.

When to conduct an exit survey

Exit surveys can be conducted as part of the termination procedures or they can, with the employee's agreement, be delayed for a few months.

The advantage with delaying an exit survey for a few months is that after a period of reflection a former employee can be less emotional and more objective and if they have taken up another position they may be in a position to compare their previous role with their new role.

The advantages with conducting an exit survey as part of the termination procedure is that although emotions may be running high it is probably more reflective of the employee's state of mind and therefore closer to the reasons they have decided to leave (justified or otherwise). If left until later any comparison between their old and new roles may be the result of them putting on a brave face, and if reasons are given that require action, the delay may well hinder the problem from being resolved.


Organizations will generally benefit in a number of different ways by including exit surveys as part of their employee termination procedures. They will at the very least provide good records that could prove very valuable later, at best they will provide management with information that can help improve an organization spiritually and with the bottom line.

For a sample Exit survey:

Sample Exit Survey

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Advantages, Considerations and Risks of Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Although there are distinct advantages to conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys online - there can also be risks.

Listed here are some of the main advantages, considerations and the possible risks to conducting employee satisfaction surveys online.


Identify Problems - Surveys are can be very effective in identify problems areas before they become serious, especially those that are hidden from senior management.

Working Environment - From something small like a broken chair to the more serious problem of sick building syndrome that can result in personnel experiencing headaches; eye, nose, and throat irritation; a dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; and difficulty in concentrating. Surveys allow environmental problems to be identified in a measured and controlled manner.

Remuneration & Benefits - Measure and monitor how satisfied personnel are with their remuneration and benefits.

Mood and Moral - Provides a simple but effective method to measure and monitor the mood and moral of an organization.

Benchmark - In the same way that an organization will consider their financial position by comparison with previous years, so the regular use of online surveys will allow an organization to monitor and measure their progress and development in non-financial terms.

Processes & Procedures - As businesses evolve some of the traditional processes and procedures can become antiquated, personnel are often the first to know and the last to be asked. Businesses evolve and the business processes need to be regularly re-aligned.

Training - Lack of proper training is a common cause of dissatisfaction among employees and can lead to more serious problems such as stress.

Communication - For an organization to run efficiently good internal and external communications are essential, surveys can provide a method to help organizations to monitor and measure how well an organization communicates.

Goals and Objectives - Surveys can measure and monitor the extent that the personnel are aligned with the senior management's business goals and objectives.

Cost Effective - Using an online survey service such as surveys are quick and easy to create, simple to deploy and will provide real-time results.

Compliance - To properly comply with an ever increasing array of regulations the modern organization needs to be able to disseminate information throughout the organization and ensure, through records, that the information has been received, and importantly, understood. Online surveys provide organization with a cost effective method to meet many of their obligations.

Keeping the Initiative - It is always better for management to ask than be told. By conducting regular employee surveys management are able to keep the initiative in trying to identify problems that may otherwise manifest into demands.


Management Backing - A survey that is both sanctioned and has the support of senior management will go some way in ensuring that any action required, based on the survey findings, will be implemented.

Ask the right questions - Consider careful the questions being asked. If employees feel that the survey is just trying to tick the right boxes the survey could backfire.

A survey that is to be conducted annually should try and ask questions that will provide senior management with an overall health check of the organization.

Avoid questions that will only apply to specific departments or personnel. If some areas of the organization require detailed investigation consider running separate one-off surveys that can be targeted at specific personnel.

Incentive - Most employees will feel that by being able to give their opinions that they are already stakeholders in the exercise and will be happy to participate in the survey as they will expect to benefit from the process.

However, some incentive may help improve the overall response rate or could be used to encourage early participation.

Smaller incentives could be handed out to all employees or all participating employees could be entered into a lottery to receive a more substantial prize.

Anonymous - The decision to allow respondents to remain anonymous or not needs careful consideration. A survey that is conducted anonymously may allow employees to be more candid, however, anonymity may encourage some individuals to make wild accusations that can not be substantiated and cause considerable concern. When in doubt it is often better to keep everything 'on the record' rather than 'off'.

Where survey respondents are known there is the opportunity to chase for surveys that have not been completed and also to follow up on some issues directly with those employees who have raised them as problems.

Comments - Keep free text comments to a minimum because they are difficult and time consuming to measure and analyze.

Consider limiting free text comments to one at the end of the survey or, in the case of surveys that are not being conducted anonymously, allow for a post-survey follow-up to obtain more information where additional and more specific detail is required.


Management - Some managers can regard any form of employee consultation as a sign of weakness and may have a tendency to dismiss out of hand any negative comment.

Warts and All - A survey is likely to reveal warts and all. Senior management should be prepared for discovering that the top down view can differ from the bottom up view and that ignorance, of any identified problems, can no longer be used as an excuse.

Non-Action - Many employees will invest time and effort in participating in a survey and their hopes and expectations will be raised. Any post-survey non-action is likely to promote cynicism and jeopardize any future initiatives to obtain employee feedback.

Management should formally respond to the issues raised in surveys even if the demands of employees are not to be met. If senior management agree to address and resolve some issues then action needs to have started before any further survey is scheduled.

Can Cause Problems - Where surveys reveal, or bring problems, to the surface there could be a tendency for senior management to blame the messenger.


The benefits of conducting regular online employee surveys can be considerable, but for surveys to be effective important upfront considerations need to be made. Although the process of conducting a survey can be therapeutic in itself it is the post-survey analysis, response and action that will ultimately determine how useful and effective the process has been.

For a sample employee satisfaction survey:

Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Manager's Guide To Redundancy

Many British businesses have been slow to appreciate the full extent of changes that have occurred over the years to Employment Law and continue to adopt out of date disciplinary and redundancy procedures. Lucky for them then that the only people who seem less aware of the changes are the employees themselves; few employees would believe the extent that they are now protected, but that is not likely to last.

With the maximum compensatory award in unfair dismissal cases now over £50,000 and with tribunals willing to make awards without any regard to a company's financial position, small to medium sized businesses are most at risk.

Part-time and agency workers now have comparable rights as those enjoyed by full time employees and discrimination now carries a much wider definition, with even more to come.

With the introduction of "no win, no fee" legal representation an employee now has little to loose and much to gain by bringing a claim against a former employer. Tribunals do not operate in the same way as a court of law, the company is not 'not guilty' until proven 'guilty' but rather considered guilty until they can prove otherwise. In the absence of real evidence a tribunal will take anecdotal evidence and decide subjectively for themselves as to who, on balance, they believe.

The redundancy guidelines published by governing bodies and often the advice that is received from employment law specialists is not always as helpful as some businesses might like. Take for example where redundancy guidelines talk of a 'consultation' process, what constitutes consultation is often open to interpretation and what an organisation might itself regard as 'consultation' a tribunal might take as 'a premeditated foregone conclusion'.

This article views the redundancy process from an organisations point of view where senior managers are likely to be under considerable pressure, frustrated and keen to act.

Few people, if any, relish the need for redundancies but often there is a desire from management to get a difficult task over with as quickly as possible so that the organisation can move on. Managers need to be educated in the fact that although following the proper guidelines will take longer than just handing out redundancy notices letters the process can bring benefits to the employer if done properly.

In a redundancy situation companies are able to act with complete autonomy, there is no legislative body looking over their shoulders, monitoring the methods used and in the absence of a trade union, employees are unlikely to be au fait with details of employment law. However, if claims of unfair dismissal are subsequently received the procedures and methods a company adopted will be laid bare and heavily scrutinized and the consequences of inadequate procedures penalised.

A tribunal is not a pleasant place for any company official, with the benefit of hindsight a tribunal will asks difficult questions; what was a real crisis six months earlier may be difficult to convey to people who have no knowledge of the business or in some cases the industry.

Being a good employer who operates in good faith and with genuine intentions is not enough, such employers are more and more finding themselves having to pay substantial compensation to former employees, some of whom may be undeserving but nevertheless know how to play the system.

UK companies are no longer seen as merely providing employment but as being socially responsible and when a company takes on new employees they are assuming more responsibility for that person than many realise.

Today companies have to be very aware of what their responsibilities are and how they must act. For small companies where the owners may be more entrepreneurial, the business more hand to mouth, there is no provision to allow them to operate in any other way than that expected of larger and more established organisations.

Some managers can often make the mistake of thinking that redundancy procedures do not apply to junior staff and will still issue redundancies on the fly, such action will only expose them to a possible claim for unfair dismissal that they will have every chance of loosing.

To support senior managers we have divised a questionnaire that will guide senior management through the steps required when making redundancies.

By completing the questionnaire a manager will obtain a redundancy procedure checklist and if each step is completed a company can be confident that they will be able to vigorously defend any future unfair redundancy claims they receive.

Manager's Guide To Managing Redundancy in the UK

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The England Manager

Whatever happens following the world 2006 cup finals Sven-Göran Eriksson won't be the England manager.

How do you rate Sven's time as the England coach, will you be glad or sorry to see the back of him and who should be next up in the firing line?

Rate Sven-Göran Eriksson and register your vote for the next England Manager

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bush - Would He, Could He, Should He Invade Iran?

Iran & USA team shot
In April 2006 the respected investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker wrote that the Bush administration was stepping up covert activities in Iran and was planning for a possible air attack while publicly advocating diplomacy.

President Bush dismissed as "wild speculation" reports that his administration had considered nuclear strikes against sites in Iran to prevent the nation from building nuclear weapons.

Hersh however was adamant that "There's been a lot of planning going on. It's more than planning, it's operational planning. It's beyond contingency planning," and claimed that regular military forces had already infiltrated Iran.

Would President Bush seriously consider attacking Iran, could he, should he?

Participate in this weeks free survey Bush - Would He, Could He, Should He Invade Iran?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Trial Of Zacarias Moussaoui

Zacarias Moussaoui is the only person to be prosecuted in connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 and has been found by a jury to be eligible for the death penalty.

The 37-year-old French citizen pleaded guilty in April last year to conspiring with al-Qaida to hijack aircraft and other crimes.

Moussaoui was in jail during the attacks having been arrested in Minnesota a month before the attacks after arousing suspicion at a flying school. He initially told federal agents he was training as a pilot only for personal enjoyment.

Reports have suggested that Moussaoui would prefer the death penalty rather than life in prison and regards himself as a martyr.

If the death penalty is thought justified should he be executed or made to see the rest of his life out in prison?

Participate in this weeks free survey The Trial Of Zacarias Moussaoui