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Dear Workforce How Could We Create an Online Human Resources Survey That Generates Useful Feedback

We’re developing an online survey for our business leaders to give feedback on how well our human resources department is meeting their needs. How should I proceed?
November 4, 2005
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Related Topics: HR Services and Administration, Dear Workforce
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Dear Listening:

Core business leaders--those who generate revenue for the company--are great sources of feedback. Getting their ideas is a great first step for human resources to improve and demonstrate its value. Some suggestions:
1) Keep the survey simple and make it easy to obtain the information you seek. Using a brief--and I mean brief--online survey can be very helpful.
2) Don't rely on survey data alone. Schedule some appointments with business leaders and groups of key employees from those units. Use the meetings to validate survey data and probe deeper into core business needs and the performance of human resources.
3) Ask questions relating to business results, rather than human resources activities. For instance:
  • What are the top three business issues human resources has helped you solve the past quarter/year?
  • What impact did these solutions have on your unit's profitability, quality, cycle time or ability to respond to customers?
  • How else could human resources help you deliver business results?
  • What things did human resources do well for you? What do you need more/less of?
  • How is your success measured and how did human resources have an impact?
5) If you ask questions relating to processes, connect them to business results. Sample questions may include:
  • What impact did the hiring process have on your productivity and costs?
  • How well did the company's training help your department solve the business challenges you have? Can you quantify the return on investment of the training?
4) Don't justify the past or try to make offers in the meeting. Graciously accept the feedback and use it to shape future strategic offers to business units.
5) Let the business unit leaders know what you learn—and act on what you learn. Collecting data but failing to act on it makes the process a waste of time, and makes it doubly difficult to obtain useful feedback in the future.
This is a challenging exercise the first time around. But if you act on what you learn, you will become a force for business success and will be highly valued by operating units.
SOURCE: Kevin Herring, president, Ascent Management Consulting, Tucson, Arizona, Sept. 17, 2004.
LEARN MORE:Studies in Market-Valued Human Resources. Also:An HR Audit.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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Dear Workforce Newsletter
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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