by Chris C.
SurveyMonkey is listed as number 64 on Jane Hart’s 9th annual Top 100 Tolls for learning list (Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, 2016). SurveyMonkey is a web-based survey provider founded in 1999 by Ryan Finley and headquartered in Palo Alto, CA; the company touts itself as the “world’s leading provider of web-based survey solutions” reaching millions of customers through such businesses as Facebook, Kraft, Virgin America, and Samsung (SurveyMonkey, 2016). SurveyMonkey claims 99% of Fortune 500 companies have used the digital tool with over 90 million interviewees monthly (Konrad, 2015).
SurveyMonkey (2016) provides leaders in any organization or occupation the ability to create and distribute surveys. Survey questions can be developed by the survey leader, or SurveyMonkey can provide templates adjusted for use in such fields as private business, education, or healthcare. Of particular importance for my dissertation topic, which seeks to identify variables that affect employee engagement at Georgia-Pacific, the digital tool offers an employee engagement survey template developed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM (SHRM, 2016) is the world’s largest human resources (HR) organization with over 275,000 members, providing HR professionals continuing education and guidance within their field.
Fees for using SurveyMonkey vary based on the number of questions desired and the amount of responses required by the researcher. A simple survey consisting of 10 questions and 100 responses is free; for a fee, users may choose several other pay-per-month programs, ranging from $25-$85 a month, allowing the originator the ability to ask any number of questions, get unlimited responses, and access SurveyMonkey’s statistical analysis tools, which may be exported to numerous charts and diagrams (SurveyMonkey, 2016).
SurveyMonkey is widely-used because of its simplicity. Using their own questions or the website’s templates, leaders can quickly create, distribute, and assess any topic of interest among an organization’s members. Data can readily be analyzed and displayed using SurveyMonkey’s graphing tools. As a leader responsible for over 100 employees working within a plywood mill, I am constantly balancing the needs of the workers with the ever-present requirement to create value for the company. I chose SurveyMonkey for this week’s digital tool research topic because of my need to assess the engagement of the employees. The mill currently experiences significant employee turnover and has had an increase in process interruptions and safety incidents. SurveyMonkey, or another web-based survey tool, may provide one method to assess worker engagement. However, I am constrained by the employees’ limited access to computers and their familiarity with computer systems. If I use a survey tool such as SurveyMonkey, I will have to provide employees time after their shift ends, paid as overtime, in order to allow them to participate in the quantitative portion of my research.
Concerns about using web-based or hard-copy surveys are not necessary. Huang (2006) suggests most participants do not respond differently to similar questions provided on paper or computer-based surveys; however, surveys only provided online may skew research results as participants uncomfortable with a computer are less likely participate. Nevertheless, research participants using a computer survey tool generally responded twice as quickly as those using paper surveys. Despite the faster return rate, completion rates were similar between both survey formats (Hayslett & Wildemuth, 2004).
While my dissertation focus is on one plywood plant, SurveyMonkey is highly adaptable for a company such as Georgia-Pacific, which has over 30,000 employees within the United States. The survey tool allows nearly any leader, with permission from their legal counsel or human resources representative, the ability to collaborate with any worker who can access the internet; such a method to gather and analyze employee data was nearly impossible 20 years ago (Watwood, 2016). Of course, developing and distributing surveys is not a new phenomenon, but SurveyMonkey and similar tools provide the layperson the rapid ability to create, distribute, and analyze surveys. As Shirky (2014) states, collaboration is the key to change; data gathered from SurveyMonkey may allow organizational leaders to quickly and efficiently understand employee morale and welfare, possibly increasing the tempo in which decisions are made.
If you are further interested in SurveyMonkey, the website is: http://www.SurveyMonkey.com.
Below is a link to an interview with the founder describing how the company started.
Another video, from YouTube, describes the available SHRM survey template.
Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies. (2016). Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015. Retrieved from www.http://c4lpt.co.uk/directory/top-100-tools/
Hayslett, M. W., & Wildemuth, B. M. (2004). Pixels or pencils? The relative efectiveness of Web-based versus paper surveys. Library of Information Science and Research, 26, 73-93. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2003.11.005
Huang, H.-M. (2006). Do print and Wed surveys provide the same results? Computers in Human Behavior, 22, 334-360. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2004.09.012
Konrad, A. (2015, April 2). Spurning IPO, SurveyMonkey now allows you to compare data with rivals. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com
Shirkey, C. (2014, March). The disruptive power of collaboration: An interview with Clay Shirky. (M. Chui, Interviewer) Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com
Society for Human Resource Management. (2016). About the Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org
SurveyMonkey. (2016). SurveyMonkey. Retrieved from http://www.surveymonkey.com
Watwood, B. (2016). Web 2.0. Retrieved from https://blueline.instructure.com/courses/1070921/pages/week-2-overview?module_item_id=9893316