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Enhancing Organizational Performance

Archive for August 2014

Seatbelts on Motorcycles (and other survey questions)

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We were heading out to dinner on a tree-lined country road that runs by a reservoir. One lane in each direction, double yellow line down the middle. All of a sudden a motorcycle passed me by at likely twice the speed limit. I was left wondering why seatbelts aren’t required on motorcycles. At least after the motorcycle crashes you would know where to find the body. It would still be attached to the motorcycle rather than being flung somewhere into the woods.

Seatbelts are a good thing. They have saved countless lives when used properly in cars. If you however, assume that what works well in cars should be applied to all types of vehicles on our roadways you will likely be disappointed with the track record of seatbelts on saving the lives of motorcycle riders. They would simply not have the same beneficial effect.

The same is true when it comes to employee survey design. There are all sorts of various types of organizations out there, following all different type of differentiating strategies. So if all those organizations are trying to differentiate themselves, trying their best to distinguish themselves from their competition, why would so many people’s knee jerk reaction be to use the same survey questions that every other organization is using? To do exactly the opposite in terms of survey design what the organization’s goals are in terms of performance?

If we mindlessly apply that logic to other aspects of our lives, the next thing you know when you go to the doctor complaining of chest pains, you will be on the receiving end of a proctology exam. After all proctology exams are pretty good at detecting colon cancer, so they must also work for chest pains. “Doctor, doctor, the pain is in my chest. What are you doing?” “Well I had this tool handy, so I thought I would use it”.

Employee surveys should not be tools in search of problems. But rather they should be tailored to the specific needs of each organization and their unique strategy.       

© 2014 by Jeffrey M. Saltzman. All rights reserved.

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Upcoming Webinar! – Learning to “Nudge” – Avoiding Resistance in Surveys

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Upcoming Webinar! – Learning to “Nudge” – Avoiding Resistance in Surveys

Please join OrgVitality’s Dr. Scott Brooks for the next session in our 2014 complimentary webinar series!


Learning to “Nudge” – Avoiding Resistance in Surveys

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014  at 12:30 PM EDT, 9:30 AM PST

BY: Scott Brooks, Ph.D.

Your employee survey is well-designed and executed.  And yet… the impact is not what it could be.  Follow-through with meaningful action is moderate at best.  Executives may lose focus.  And it’s harder than it should be just to get people to take the survey in the first place.

But there is hope. Most employees want to do a good job.  Front line workers up through top executives want to improve their own and their organization’s performance.

This webinar is about the little things that help people to live up to their own good intentions – the “nudges” that are easy to implement, grounded in recent advances in behavioral science, and collectively can make a big difference in the impact of your survey program.

Many examples of proven nudges will be shared, including:

  • What is the best way to use a little social pressure to improve survey response rates?
  • How can you quickly frame open-ended comments to generate more useful suggestions?
  • How can you prime managers to increase the gusto with which they act on survey results?

You will learn in this webinar:

  1. Characteristics of Nudges – what they are, when they are most useful, and how to design them;
  2. Practical examples of Nudges in all facets of employee surveys – where you need to increase survey participation, useful feedback, and action on results; and
  3. A checklist for using Nudges back home in your own work.

Learn how to Nudge!

This program has been approved for HR Certification Institute credit. 

Register here:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinars. We look forward to “seeing” you there!


-The OV Team




 Scott Brooks

Join veteran survey consultant and researcher Scott Brooks, Ph.D. for this focused, entertaining, practical, and highly efficient webinar.

Dr. Scott Brooks is a partner and vice president of employee surveys and organizational research at OrgVitality.  With over twenty years of experience, he consults with organizations and individuals to drive strategic change based on surveys, HR metrics, and research that illuminates the connections between leadership, operations, customer loyalty and business results.  Prior to OrgVitality, he led the consulting group within Kenexa’s survey practice, was the West Coast General Manager and an executive consultant for Gantz Wiley Research, and also worked internally within organizational development for a division of Target, Inc.

Nationally recognized and frequently cited, Scott has consulted to improve the effectiveness of some of the most impressive organizations on the planet, representing diverse industries such as financial services, high tech, health care, hospitality, retail, non-profit, public sector, and other service industries. He has authored numerous presentations and publications based on strategic human resources, research linking HR metrics to business performance, surveys and other job attitude and measurement topics. He frequently speaks at national conferences and company meetings.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm

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