Surveys Fall Short in Measuring Performance

Surveys are commonly used to gauge a team’s performance, with various available types. However, while they carry significant weight and are widely used, a basic team survey may not accurately measure team performance.

There are a lot of factors that can affect the accuracy of those surveys. For example, maybe the questions aren’t measuring the right things, or nothing happens after the survey results, so your team members feel their input wasn’t valued. 

Companies and managers need to use those surveys correctly if they want to get the most out of them. Otherwise, they won’t get the insights they need to make positive changes. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the shortcomings of standard employee surveys and what leaders can do instead to get the results they’re looking for.

Why Engagement Surveys Don’t Uncover Team Performance

It’s first important to understand that employee surveys are not universal and that different types of surveys can lead to different insights. For leaders looking to accurately measure team performance, it’s crucial to understand what different surveys reveal. 

For example, employee engagement surveys are widespread across the workplace: research shows that 45% of businesses measure engagement every year. And while employee engagement surveys can lead to useful insights, they typically don’t apply to team performance. 

What are employee engagement surveys best used for? Research shows that only one-third of employees are “engaged,” but 16% are actively disengaged in their work and workplace. 

And as their name describes, employee engagement surveys measure just how engaged employees are. They may address how committed an employee is, how connected they are, how motivated they are and similar metrics surrounding workplace sentiment and participation, for example. 

What these surveys typically don’t do is address anything involving team performance. Team performance surveys are usually separate entities that provide leaders and teams with insights that drive optimal team performance and dynamics. 

They might reveal critical takeaways on each team member and the team composition as a whole. They also might dive into your team’s workstyles to understand how everyone behaves (including leaders), divulging critical insights into conflict styles and recommendations for optimization and team building

As you can see, engagement surveys are typically far different from team performance surveys. That said, there are still several reasons why even surveys intended to measure team performance can miss the mark. 

7 Reasons Team Performance Surveys Fall Short

Evaluating team performance is essential for any organization to achieve its goals, but those surveys may not always be the best approach. Here are some of the most common reasons they can fail to meet expectations.

Managers Misinterpret Results

A team performance survey might ask pointed questions, and it might be able to come up with some insights into what’s going on with a team. But what do those insights actually mean?

The truth is that leaders and decision-makers can often be unclear on what they should be measuring in the first place and end up with results that don’t translate into useful takeaways. It’s also possible for bias to skew how results are interpreted. 

Instead, an effective team performance survey should distill meaning from a team’s answers. Instead of leaving managers to fend for themselves when interpreting results, the best team performance surveys are rooted in data, giving leaders critical, actionable insights into team performance. 

Surveys Don’t Measure the Correct Metrics

What a team performance survey is measuring matters, and it’s common to see poorly designed surveys with questions that will not reveal the “correct” metrics. For example, questions geared more towards measuring engagement than team performance might be asked.

What are some of the insights which might be relevant when it comes to team performance? These types of surveys should reveal team strengths, where there’s room for opportunity and what a team’s behavior and conflict style are like. 

Questions Are Biased

Survey bias can render results useless, and this bias can be present in the questions themselves and how they’re formulated. Leaders administering surveys need to ensure the questions are neutral and will lead to responses that paint an accurate picture. 

Bias in survey questions can be common, but it can also be easy to mitigate. Data and science typically back effective survey questions, which might reference DISC assessments and include other types of research. 

Recall or Personal Bias

Interpreting survey results accurately is crucial for making informed decisions. However, personal biases can taint the interpretation process and lead to incorrect conclusions. 

It’s important to acknowledge that everyone has their own biases, including leaders responsible for making important decisions based on survey results. By recognizing the potential for bias in the interpretation of survey results, steps can be taken to mitigate its impact and ensure that the resulting plans of action are helpful and effective. 

Employees Aren’t Honest 

In order for team performance surveys to render accurate results, employees need to be open and honest with their answers. Unfortunately, this might not always be the case, and survey dishonesty can occur for several reasons. 

Firstly, employees might not believe their responses are truly anonymous, and they might fear retaliation for giving honest feedback. If this is the case, they might withhold important information or provide answers they think the organization wants to hear. 

Similarly, employees might be worried about general negative reactions to their honesty. For example, they might be concerned that negative feedback might reflect poorly on themselves, their team or their leadership, leading to consequences. 

To ensure employee honesty is not hindered, leaders should make sure surveys are not only anonymous but also that the messages are shared and reinforced. This will help educate team members on the importance of anonymity. In addition, leaders can use team-oriented surveys instead of individualistic ones.

Flawed Survey Design

Aside from bias, surveys can accidentally be designed with flaws in plenty of other ways. From poorly worded questions to ones that inherently elicit a certain response, survey questions must be meticulously designed to lead to accurate results. Other potential errors can involve the answer choices and the administration process. When surveys are administered through team performance tools, these risks can be minimized or eliminated. 

The Program Offers No Action 

A survey might be well-constructed and yield accurate insights, but that’s not where the story ends. For surveys and assessments to translate into useful results, there needs to be follow-up action. For example, meaningful team surveys that actually move the needle in an organization will typically include an action roadmap based on survey results so leaders and decision-makers can get their team to its desired future state.

What You Should Do Instead

If surveys which measure team performance can be so far off-base, what should leaders do instead?

The answer: to choose a survey or assessment which actually drives performance.

The truth is that some team performance surveys do indeed “work,” but they’re not all created equal. During the decision-making process, leaders are responsible for selecting a survey or assessment system that translates to performance results. 

How can a leader choose the “right” team performance survey? Firstly, an effective assessment will be rooted in data and use research to inform how assessments are conducted and what the answers actually mean. They’ll not only benchmark your team today but will identify areas where you can drive the most impact. 

Effective surveys will also outline a team’s strengths, where there’s room for improvement and how a team stacks up compared to its peers. These surveys will also typically dive into conflict style and give concrete recommendations for improving a team’s challenge areas. 

Systems like these don’t just provide leaders with survey results. They leave you with actionable roadmaps that can guide teams through improvements, using resources mapped to a team’s specific plan of action. 

Simple Surveys No Longer Cut It

The cat’s out of the bag: simple surveys aren’t going to accomplish what you hope they will. Sure, asking your team a few questions is easy enough, but unfortunately, these answers likely aren’t the heavy-hitter insights you’re looking for. Leaders who want to build exceptional teams using surveys must choose assessments designed to deliver high-impact results. 

If this sounds like you, let RallyBright take it from here. RallyBright allows teams to determine an organization’s performance in today’s collaboration-first world and helps teams to optimize their performance. 

Give us 20 minutes to show you how RallyBright can enable positive team dynamics and stronger team performance. Try a demo today