How Do I Choose The Best Survey Metric?

There is one no survey metric that's always best. It's important to keep in mind that many metrics are "pretty good," and choosing the right metrics will involve tradeoffs.

Here are some considerations in choosing a survey metric:

  1. What are the goals of the survey? Do you want to track changes over time? Benchmark yourself against competitors? Or generate feedback for coaching and training employees? No metric can do it all, and the relative importance of your different goals may point to using a specific metric.
  2. Can you get leadership buy-in for your metrics? Some people are, for better or worse (usually worse) very committed to specific metrics like NPS. Leadership support is important for a successful program, and a metric isn't useful if the organization doesn't view it as credible.
  3. What metrics have been used in the past? Continuity and experience may be more important than getting a slightly better measurement.

Many companies spend a lot of time and effort trying to find the "best" survey metric, but this effort is often wasted. The specific metric you track on your survey is much less important than how you design the rest of the feedback process, such as how you deliver data to the rest of the organization, what closed-loop processes you include, and how committed the organization is to using the feedback to improve.

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