Make the most of your internal communication survey questions so you can get actionable metrics.


The latest trend on HGTV—tiny houses that range from 150 to 500 square feet—is a great reminder about being efficient when creating an employee communication survey.

Just like tiny houses, surveys require focus and curation. You want the right number of questions that will encourage participation, while providing the data you need for your research.

Here are five quick tips to help you use your survey real estate wisely and make every question count:

  1. Go back to your communication objectives. Focus on data that will help you deliver against those objectives or demonstrate your progress.
  2. Prioritize questions that will help you make changes. If you think a question would be “nice to know,” it’s a good clue to delete it.
  3. Look for questions that sound repetitive. For example, here are two questions I found in a survey that I reviewed recently: “There is very little upward communication from employees to managers in this organization.” And “The direction of information flow in the organization is mainly downward from managers to employees.”
  4. Eliminate questions when you already know the answer or can find the data from another source. For example, analyze web metrics rather than asking employees which posts on the intranet interest them most.
  5. Limit open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are seductive since they help us understand why. But their effectiveness deteriorates as more are added: employees often repeat their responses—even if the questions are different. The urge to include more than two open-ended questions is a signal that it’s time to run a focus group.

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