In the last of our survey blog series, our Data Services Manager; Daniel Fripp, shares his thoughts on data analysis.

On a personal note, I have been fascinated by data from a very early age. Following trends and patterns to try and predict an outcome is something I always took great enjoyment in – whether getting it right or wrong. Now, as an adult, using the same fundamental methods to conclusively determine feedback and reports as factual analysis, I feel a newfound respect for the humble spreadsheet.

With this respect comes a deep understanding that a report is only as good as the data gathered, a lesson that sometimes comes too late in the analysis process. The truth of it is; the success of a survey is determined long before the survey even begins; at the design stage. Getting the breakdown of an organisation right is not an easy task, but it is imperative to get a true reflection and comparison of which areas are strong and which areas have opportunities to grow and improve.

No two companies are identical, no matter how similar they may seem from the surface. Experience in running surveys has given us a intriguing insights into the things to look for when designing a survey and comparing subgroups within an organisation. This can be by Working Group, by Site, by Contractor, by Department, by Region, by Section or by Unit. But what works for one industry and organisation may not always work for the next.

We only get one shot at the survey, so the old-fashioned trial and error approach isn’t one that can be used here. Therefore, each organisation nominates a Survey Champion – someone from inside the organisation who is very familiar with the structure of their company and can provide a detailed breakdown of what questions will yield the most useful insights when it comes time to analyse the data.

Again, using our experience in running surveys, we deeply drill down with our Survey Champions to custom design each survey on the needs of each client. It sometimes seems like a lot of work but the payoff when it comes time to pull together all the results and understand where in the organisation it is most important to focus effort to bring about change.

In addition to the organisation structure, we offer a range of demographic based groupings to further understand where the greatest opportunities are. Identification of everyone’s Job Role is a constant, although the grouping of these job roles varies greatly. Often used additional groups are Age Group, Gender, Length of Service and Employer, all of which can provide useful feedback in the report.

It is beneficial to select the most incisive demographic categories when asking our open-ended questions. A common question in the survey asks responders to name ‘one thing they would change to improve working practices’. Being able to break this down by a working site or region allows us to recognise trends and reoccurring issues that may be isolated to one region and allows us to identify where to take action when necessary.

A weak breakdown will often dilute the impact of the survey. As mentioned in the previous blog A Symmetrical Survey Structure, while the structure of the Integral Model ensures we cover all the important elements of an organisation, this will only be done at a global/overall organisation level if weak breakdowns are defined. A well thought through breakdown will allow Alkoomi to provide a level of detail in the report that provides greater focus of follow up action. In surveys of larger organisations it allows us to produce multiple reports for each line of management in the organisation.

One such example came in October 2021, when we surveyed 6,000 people on a project in Canada. From this we produced a global report with over 400 pages of analysis, along with 17 individual reports for various Spreads and Contractors, all with their own sub-breakdowns by job role, age group and comparisons to the global average. This would not have been possible without the right framework in place. We would not have been able to produce such a well-received detailed report.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these short pieces on some of the finer details of our surveys, thanks for reading!

See the other survey articles here