Every business leader knows the importance of “hard measurements” including things like financials, number of customers and customer demographics and buying history, inventory data and other things that can be measured accurately and that directly or indirectly represent bottom-line performance.
Less emphasis is usually placed on measuring “soft mesurements” by most leaders. Soft issues or measurements include the measurement of feelings, opinions, experiences, attitudes, behavior and any other things that are somewhat subjective, but that strongly influence the actions of employees, customers and other groups. Soft measures are often as important as hard measurements because soft measurements are key drivers of the hard issues. Customers make purchasing decisions based on reputation, personal experiences, hearsay, recommendations, personal likes and dislikes and other soft issues. Likewise, employees become engaged or disengaged based n soft issues. Soft issues drive employee and customer loyalty and turnover.
Many of the most important business risks are also based on soft issues. The importance and potential impact of most risks are subjective, but they can me measured, assessed and mitigated.
One of the most effective and lowest cost ways to measure and quantify soft issues is to conduct online organizational effectiveness surveys, employee surveys (employee engagement surveys / employee satisfaction surveys), IT customer satisfaction surveys, customer satisfaction surveys and enterprise risk surveys. Ratings provide the quantification needed to identify strengths, opportunities, threats and problems. Verbatim comments provide information and insight for identifying why things are going well or not, and what needs to be done to implement positive change. The payback can be huge and the cost is minimal.
Achieving success from a survey requires several important steps:
- Identifynig the right things to measure and knowing how to word the questions effectively
- Making the responses anonymous and making sure people are confident their responses will be anonymous
- Performing comprehensive, objective analysis of the results including ratings and comments
- Preparing action plans based on the analysis of findings
- Flawless execution of the action plans
- Follow-up assessments to measure progress and identify new opportunities