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The danger in just 'writing some survey questions quickly' to measure... anything!

We have all been there. When your organisation / department needs an engagement, well-being or customer satisfaction survey whipped up, quickly, to tick some boxes in order to meet KPIs. Yes, we know this happens.

Well, as easy as it might sound, or seem, there can actually be quite dire consequences when questions do not measure what they are designed to, or intended to, and when inevitably, dollars get invested to action those glaring 'problem areas' which have to be fixed (before next year at least)!

Let's put it simply. In this day and age, with modern test theories such as IRT, Rasch and OPT coupled alongside sophisticated software and platform capabilities, we cannot take chances to waste those valuable investments to target areas which may not actually improve the workplace culture, climate or engagement.

It has been proven that survey questions can contribute in different degrees to a construct, and when the appropriate weights are not allocated to different questions, inferences from the data can be incorrect.

Let's think of an example. You quickly whip up a survey to measure the psychological health for your organisation, and send this out to the departments you wish to target. You include questions such as, 'are you clear what is expected of you in your current role?', or 'do you have sufficient opportunities in your organisation for learning and development?' or 'how serious is your employer about safety at work?'.

Although these questions may all contribute to some extent about the overall psychological health in the workplace, they most certainly contribute to different extents. If the weights were not taken into consideration, and the subsequent data interpretation led you to believe the organisation should invest in safety awareness at work, there are a myriad of ripple effects this will have, on staff, the culture of the organisation, and the bottom line. Just imagine, this inference was inaccurate, and you are not targeting the appropriate area of concern to improve psychological health. What would be the point?

Next year, you may simply, do the same survey, get the same results, and see no change in the data. Imagine if your investment could make an actual difference to your workplace and you could see improvements over time. Amazing!

If you want to have a discussion about how we can partner with you to achieve your aims in measurement accuracy and precision, we would love to hear from you, and help you achieve optimal performance! See our details at

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