Recognise This! – Surveys can tell us interesting information; even poorly constructed ones also have deeper lessons.

I’m a believer in the value of surveys. I really am. But poorly constructed or terribly worded surveys send me off. They are a waste of time of the people you are surveying and, worse, a waste of resources if actually used for decision making.

Case in point – this survey that reports on what makes employees “feel good” at work.

What does that exactly mean – “feel good?” Some people feel good when there’s good coffee in the café. Others “feel good” when they steamroll whoever they need to achieve their goals. An excerpt:

“A survey [poll of 1,400 workers] by Samaritans and Simplyhealth has revealed that getting on well with the people you work with is the most fulfilling part of a job, with 42% of respondents saying that positive relationships helped them to feel good at work. In comparison only 14% cited hitting their targets as their top factor for feeling good at work.”

The challenges with this are obvious. Yes, of course, good relationships at work are important. That’s why it’s one of the Gallup Q12 questions (“I have a best friend at work.”). But the point of work is to achieve the targets and goals laid out for you.

What if you could build those relationships at work in a strategic way to help achieve targets and, as a result, get much more than “feeling good”?

Another article in the same publication makes my point for me. It doesn’t matter if your relationships make you “feel good” if you don’t know how to build and use those relationships effectively.

“According to research released today, half of UK employees feel that their organisation does not help them develop good team working skills.

“The survey of 2,000 people, conducted by training consultancy, Cedar, revealed…that unworkable relationships within teams had a direct effect on productivity, with a third of those surveyed admitting that they dread going into work as the result of a bad team environment. Furthermore, a third of respondents feel that a tense atmosphere has an impact on their ability to do their job correctly.”

Relationships at work are undeniably critical to achieving targets. And managers do have a direct responsibility for facilitating healthy relationships (especially in removing bullies or others who are intentionally, consistently detrimental to relationships).

Everyone has a responsibility for building positive relationships that also drive individual and team performance and productivity. That’s where a strategic, social employee recognition programme comes in. When everyone is committed to noticing and appreciating the achievements and efforts of those around them, relationships are naturally built in a positive way. And goals and targets are achieved.

What’s the worst survey you ever saw?

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