The first step to designing an effective question set is to define the objective of your Dialogue pulse:
What is the key purpose of this pulse?
What insights do I hope to obtain?
How will I be using those insights?
It is recommended to focus on only one objective per Dialogue pulse. This enables you to keep your question set short, concise, and focused on the most important issue.
Next, ensure that you understand the different question types that Dialogue supports (see article: What question types does Dialogue support?) The choice of question type will subsequently impact how you choose to phrase your questions.
Once you’ve considered the above, you’re ready to start drafting your questions!
An effective question is simple, focused, and actionable.
Simple - Does this question mean the same thing to all respondents?
Use direct and concise language when drafting your questions.
Avoid technical jargon and/or terms that might invoke confusion due to individual interpretations (e.g. Does Leadership mean direct supervisor or the C-Suite?)
If your pulse population includes non-native speakers, share the question set with a small group and get their feedback.
Focused - Are we addressing only one issue/topic at a time?
Conduct the “and” test. Review any questions that include the conjunction “and” to ensure that it is not a double-barreled question.
Avoid combining two questions into one in an effort to reduce the number of questions in your pulse. Instead, consider how each question contributes to your core pulse objective.
Actionable - If this is an issue, do we have an idea of how to potentially address it?
Instead of asking a generic question such as “I am satisfied with our senior leadership team”, consider breaking it down to more specific elements, such as “Our senior leadership team communicates a clear vision that motivates me.”
Additional tips for designing crowdsourcing (open-ended) questions:
Nailing the crowdsourcing (open-ended) question is crucial to the pulse’s success as this is where you will obtain truly actionable employee insights to help guide your next steps.
A well-constructed crowdsourcing (open-ended) question either probes into the root cause of an issue or generates solutions to a problem statement. Refer to the pulse objective that you have initially defined and translate that to an open-ended question.
Phrase your question in a way that encourages constructive, tangible answers. For example, if you’re looking to get insights to design your talent development program, consider asking “What is one concern or challenge that you consistently face in your role?” instead of “What is one training topic we should cover this year?” The former question enables you to identify the key issues that employees face in order to design more targeted development programs, while the latter will generate a list of training topics that employees think that they want but might not necessarily address their deeper, core needs.
Whatever you ask, make sure you are truly ready to hear the answers. They may not always be positive, but the only thing worse than hearing an uncomfortable truth is NOT acknowledging the feedback. Acknowledgment of feedback in a non-defensive and constructive manner is critical to building trust and ensuring that employees are willing to provide their feedback the next time you send them a Dialogue pulse.