Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve done our best to answer the most common questions below – however please let us know if we’ve “missed a spot” or can help provide more detail on anything at all!

Getting Started

What is included in the Full Service package?

The Full Service survey package contains everything needed for us to run your employee survey – from advice on structure and methods, to set up, to running the survey, to report presentation, and finally to advice on follow-up. Details on the full process are here.

Do you offer Not-for-profit / Non-profit pricing?

Yes we certainly do!

The Full Service survey package is reduced to $3,500 (half-price), and all Options are discounted by 50%.

Contact us for further details.

Do you run Volunteer Surveys?

Yes we do.

As with Not-for-profits, the Full Service survey package is reduced to $3,500 (half-price), and all Options are discounted by 50%.

Contact us for further details.

Do you do Exit Surveys?

Yes we do!

We can work with you to design an Exit Survey that is unique to your organization, invite respondents directly and get their feedback anonymously to obtain the most frank and candid responses possible, and then report back to you with overall results.

Contact us for details.

Do you administer “360 Degree” / Multi-Source Feedback surveys?
We already have data from a survey we did with someone else in a previous year – can we use this for a year to year comparison?

Yes we can.

If you have data from a previous survey run with another provider, we can use this in a year on year comparison assuming that the questions and scales are in any way comparative.

Contact us and we will take a look at what you have (at no charge) and suggest how we might use this data in a new report.

We have already run a survey – can you help us with the reporting?

Absolutely!

Contact us to set up a free appointment or phone call where we can review your results and provide you with options on how we might help out.

Can you run a paper survey for some or all of our employees?

Yes we can, and we are commonly asked to set up a paper version of a survey (including some form of anonymous collection method) in cases where a group of employees:

  • cannot access the survey through an email invitation from us, perhaps because we do not know who they are
  • do not have easy access to a computer set up for their use at work (where they would then all share one common link to the survey)
  • are shift workers where a large group of employees are only available in certain locations for a short period of time (and so the use of a common computer for filling in the survey may be impractical)
  • are unlikely to use a their (or any) computer or phone for survey completion

Contact us for further details on this and we’d be happy to review how this might work best in your work environment and provide a quote on the cost to deliver, collect and data-enter the results.

Getting Ready

What are some of the critical success factors to conducting an employee survey?

The following are the top success factors:

  • Set clear survey objectives – We help you determine your survey objectives and critical metrics. You do not want to ask questions merely for curiosity or interest sake. You should be prepared to respond to what you hear back from your employees. If you are not prepared to respond to what you hear, you shouldn’t ask the question.
  • Use well-crafted questions – Questions should be written in plain language, be unambiguous and ask about only one item – no double barrelled questions! We have a database of well-crafted survey questions about all aspects of the work environment. If you need custom questions written, we have the expertise to write custom questions that will meet your objectives.
  • Limit open-ended questions – Open-ended questions are difficult to analyze and are qualitative in nature. While you should not have a lot of open-ended questions, we recommend including at least one open-ended question. Employees appreciate that opportunity to provide an explanation or opinion that’s important to them.
  • Protect employees’ privacy – Employees are reluctant to respond to surveys if they fear their identity will be revealed. This is one reason to use an experienced external service provider.
  • Employee preparation – Employees should know why you are conducting a survey, what you will do with the responses and how you are protecting their privacy and individual confidentiality.
  • Encourage participation – Employees’ time is valuable. Ensure you let employees know that you need and value their feedback and participation. Send reminders during the survey period.
  • Thank employees – Thank employees for their participation and feedback.
  • Close the loop – Tell employees what the survey revealed and what your plans are for responding to the survey. If there are some ideas or suggestions that can’t be actioned, be sure to tell employees why.

Download the pamphlet “Eleven Top Tips for Employee Surveys” (PDF).

Do you provide advice on getting a good response rate?

Absolutely. Advice on your communication strategy is part of our Full Service package.

As an add-on option, we can provide in-depth communication services and write your communication for you.

Why do you ask for a list of respondent email addresses? Do we need it?

Though this is not an absolute requirement, and we can definitely work without it, we commonly ask for a list of the email addresses of employees and managers who will be participating in the survey so that we can send each a personal and unique link to the survey.

We do this, as opposed to leaving the survey open to anyone with the link, in order to:

  • ensure that only valid respondents (your employees) are able to gain access to the survey
  • ensure that each respondent is able to fill the survey in only once
  • allow employees to return to the survey to complete or edit their responses before the end of the survey
  • enable us to provide you with an ongoing count of completion rates overall and by subcategory if we have this information in the list you provided)

Again it does not have to be done this way, and if a list of emails is not available we are happy to run the survey as “open-ended”.

Please contact us for further discussion on what will work best for you.

Can we run the survey without using individual employee email addresses?

Absolutely. We prefer individual email addresses for the reasons mentioned above – but if this is not viable we can open the survey up to anyone, and then provide a single anonymous link (or multiple links by, for example, Department) for internal use.

Note that this means that:

  • Employees will have to fill out the survey in one sitting. As we don’t know who they are, we can’t return them to their partially-completed form.
  • It is harder to prevent an employee filling out the survey multiple times.

There are ways around these issues, however they tend to either involve more work on the part of the employee (a sign in process or request for an email address), or involve saving information on the employee’s computer through browser “cookies” (with the associated security implications).

Contact us and we’d be happy to review the pros and cons of each, and suggest how it might be best to proceed given your particular circumstances.

Do you provide assistance in preparing employees for a survey?

Yes we do. We provide initial advice on your communication strategy as part of the Full Service package. We can provide more extensive help, such as drafting your communication to employees, as an optional extra.

Timing

How long does it take to conduct an employee survey?

About six to seven weeks from start to finish.

  • It usually takes about a week to conduct the initial planning meeting, work out the details, and finalize the survey structure and questions.
  • Once the survey is finalized, we will have it up and running within the week.
  • Surveys are generally open for two to three weeks, though in consultation with you we may adjust as needed.
  • We can then have the final report delivered within two weeks from the close of the survey.

All in then, the project can be completed within six to seven weeks of start, however we might recommend adding in additional time in order to prepare employees for the survey before it opens.

Is there a limit to the length of time a survey can remain open?

Not at all.

Generally two to three weeks is sufficient time for an employee survey to stay open to ensure that any employee who wishes to participate has had sufficient opportunity.

This is flexible however – and we will work with you to determine if the survey should be extended beyond the initial “closing date” in order to capture additional responses, perhaps as a result of “out of office” issues or a final reminder.

Designing The Survey

Can we have different questions for employees, managers or senior leaders?

Absolutely. It all depends on your survey objectives, which we will discuss this at our (free) pre-launch meeting.

The Full Service survey package itself includes one questionnaire for all employee groups, with “Separate Management/Employee Questions” added as an Option.

Again we will discuss pricing at the pre-launch meeting, as it will partially depend on the nature of the difference between the two surveys.

Can I add my own questions?

Yes you can – and we will provide you with advice and recommendations on the wording of your questions to ensure the best results.

Is there a minimum number of employees that I need in order to conduct a survey?

There is no lower limit to the number employees participating – however the Full Service package may not be a cost-effective way to survey a population of fewer than 20 employees.

Contact us for a free review of the other options for small employee groups.

Is there a minimum number of responses that I need in order to receive results?

There are two aspects to this question:

  • The validity and reliability of your results. The statistical validity and reliability of the results depends on the number of responses (the sample) compared to the number of those invited to participate (the total employee population). Best practice is of course to encourage as much participation as possible in order to be able to rely on your results.
  • Breakdown of the results into smaller reporting units. There are best practices about reporting results for small groups, especially if you ask a number of demographic questions such as age and gender in addition to say, department. We recommend that you do not break down results by very small groups; it can make employees nervous that you might be able to identify them. In general, we recommend not reporting results for groups of less than ten. We will work with you in the planning stages to determine the right number for reporting results by department or demographic.
Is there limit to the number of employees that can take part?

Not at all.

Our Full Service survey package covers up to 1,000 employees, however we would be happy to provide a quote on larger employee groups.

Can you administer multi-language surveys?

Yes we certainly can.

If you have in-house translation services, you can provide the translation(s) to us and we will take it from there.

If you don’t have in-house translation, we can provide translation services, and the fee for translation is billed to you at cost without mark-up.

During The Survey

How do employees and other participants get to the survey?

Assuming we have the list of emails for all the employees and managers who will be asked to complete the survey, we assign each a random ID, and then send each a personalized email with an invitation to participate along with their own unique link to the survey. (They are warned that is critical that they not share this email with anyone else as the link is their own.)

See Why do you ask for a list of respondent email addresses? Do we need it? for the reasons why we prefer to use individual addresses over an open survey.

If we don’t have a list of participant emails, the most common method if for us to provide a single link to the survey that is then sent on to all employees.

What does an “Invitation Email” look like?

An example invitation email to survey participants is available here” (PDF – will open in separate tab)

This is a sample only, and we will work with you to customize your own email invitation as recommended and desired to match your internal culture and get the highest possible response rate.

What if an email is undeliverable or bounces back?

We will let you know immediately.

If we sent out the invitation emails ourselves and an email is undeliverable due to a typo or otherwise, we will notify you immediately (usually within an hour or so of launch) so that the email address can be corrected and can resend the invitation.

We will also report on any “Out of Office” or “Vacation” notifications that we receive so that you can make decisions on the appropriate survey close date.

Can an employee stop part way through and return to finish the survey later?

Yes they can – if we sent the invitation directly to them by email.

The unique link in their personalized email will take them back to their survey at any time before “close”, complete with all their responses to date.

If we didn’t send the invitation emails ourselves however (i.e. we didn’t receive a list of participant email addresses), then as we don’t know who the individual participants are, they cannot return to the survey, and are required to complete the survey in one sitting.

There are some ways around this however – and we would be delighted to discuss these during our free Pre-Launch Meeting.

How do you ensure that an employee isn’t filling out the survey more than once?

If you have provided us with a list of employee email addresses, the survey link that the employee receives from us within the invitation email is unique, and will allow them access to their own personal record in the database up to the time that the survey is closed.

If we didn’t receive a list of employee email addresses and the same survey link was sent out to everyone, we can still run the survey of course, but ensuring that there is only one submission per employee becomes more difficult and a matter of reviewing the results.

We can review this in more detail at the Pre-Launch Meeting, or contact us for further information.

Reports

Do you provide reports for individual organizational units? (aka “Dashboards”)

Yes we do.

We call them as “Dashboard Reports” (sometimes referred to as “Summary Reports” or “Score Cards”) and they provide a summary of results for each organizational unit and for the organization as a whole.

An example of a “Marketing & Communications” Dashboard report is here.

How are survey results broken down?

Our Full Service survey package includes one breakdown of results, by for example department or sole contributors and managers.

Additional breakdowns are available as an added Option.

In our planning meeting, we will discuss your survey objectives including the need to break-down results by different groups.

Note that we tend not to break down results by very small groups (say less than 6), as it can make employees nervous that they can be identified if there is too much personal and demographic information.

Can you provide “text analysis” of verbatim / qualitative responses?

Yes we can. After consultation with you to determine your objectives, methodology and areas of interest, we can analyze the verbatim comments for themes and parse them into categories to produce either simple frequency reports or correlation of response with other criteria (ex. department or location).

Contact us for more information or to arrange a free one hour consult to discuss your needs and how we can help.

Can you deliver the final report to our management team on-site?

Yes we can.

If meeting within the Vancouver lower mainland we will present the results to you and to your senior leadership team on-site as part of our Full Service survey package – or if outside of the lower mainland, we will bill travel expenses at cost with no mark-up.

You may also choose to have us present the results in a conference call or Skype session in lieu of a face-to-face meeting.

Can you provide year-on-year results?

Yes definitely!  In fact it’s included as part of the Full Service survey package if we were involved in running your survey in the previous year.

Here’s an example of a multi-year, multi-department report. (5MB PDF file)

Can you provide further in-depth statistical analysis of the results?

Absolutely.

Assuming that the data supports it, we can produce additional statistics in the way of cross-tabulations, correlations, regressions, factor analysis (i.e. variable reduction where multiple questions are measuring the same thing), T-Tests, ChiSq, etc.

Contact us if you would like further detail or information.

Follow Up

Security, Anonymity and FIPPA / FOIPOP / PIPEDA Compliance

Do your services comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Yes they do.

In addition we can help you draft your communication to employees to ensure that these requirements are met.

Full details on the Act are available at PIPEDA on Wikipedia, but in short the Act provides the following rights and guidelines:

The law gives individuals the right to:

  • know why an organization collects, uses or discloses their personal information;
  • expect an organization to collect, use or disclose their personal information reasonably and appropriately, and not use the information for any purpose other than that to which they have consented;
  • know who in the organization is responsible for protecting their personal information;
  • expect an organization to protect their personal information by taking appropriate security measures;
  • expect the personal information an organization holds about them to be accurate, complete and up-to-date;
  • obtain access to their personal information and ask for corrections if necessary; and
  • complain about how an organization handles their personal information if they feel their privacy rights have not been respected.

The law requires organizations to:

  • obtain consent when they collect, use or disclose their personal information;
  • supply an individual with a product or a service even if they refuse consent for the collection, use or disclosure of your personal information unless that information is essential to the transaction;
  • collect information by fair and lawful means; and
  • have personal information policies that are clear, understandable and readily available.

Contact us if you have any questions on this or anything else at all.

Do your servers, systems and processes satisfy Canada’s “Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act” (FIPPA/FOIPOP) requirements?

Yes they do.

Our web application and data servers, including all backups, reside in and are administered from Canada by RackForce Networks Inc., and as such satisfy FIPPA/FOIPOP (“Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act“) requirements in regard to the storage and access of “personal” data.

Do you use secure / SSL connections?

Yes we do.

Every project we run through “veritaengage.com” or “veritagroup.com” uses at least 256-bit SSL encryption that scrambles the data moving back and forth between the servers and the survey pages.

What do you do with the email addresses when the study is over?

The data file containing the email addresses of respondents is deleted once the survey is closed and the report signed off.

Because of this, if we run the survey for you again next year, we will require a new email list.

Employee: How secure is my data after the survey is filled out – where is it stored?

It would be hard to find a higher level of sever security on the web.

As we work with extremely sensitive data for all of our clients, we use RackForce Networks Inc., Canada’s largest Enterprise Cloud Service Provider, for all our web servers, survey applications and databases.

For further detail on security at Rackforce please see http://rackforce.com/solutions/security.

On the corporate side, only personnel retained by Verita and working directly on your project will have access to the database servers.

Employee: How do you ensure anonymity?

Employee and Management email addresses, which are the only identifying information we have on hand, are stored separately from the survey database.

Within the results database itself, survey responses are identified using a random and unique code that only we can match with a respondent and their email address – so that even were someone to see the raw data (which is not provided in the first place), they would have no way to determine who is who.

Employee: How do you ensure that no one can see my answers when I’m filling out the survey?

We use only secure (SSL/https) connections for all of our surveys.

This means that no one can intercept the information as it passes from the computer where the survey is being filled out to the servers that store the information.

Further, once the survey is finished no information is left behind on the local computer and the connection to the survey information is permanently broken. (For example hitting “Back” will have no effect.)

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