Now that I’ve got your attention….

We live in an era of instant-gratification. As a species, we humans have always sought to make tasks easier and less time-consuming while also creating more satisfying experiences. When we wanted to travel from point A to point B faster, we ditched the horse and carriage and – voila – the car was invented! We wanted our food cooked faster – fire to microwave. We wanted better sound quality for our music, so we journeyed from Victrola to record player to eight-track tape (yup, I’m that age) to cassette to CD to streaming.

As a species, we want faster, easier, specific, and continuous. And we are always working to achieve this.

The downside to all this improvement to our gratification? We’ve lost our attention span. In 2015, Time Magazine published the results of a study which showed that we have an attention span of just eight seconds. Eight seconds! Shorter than a goldfish. This was down from 12 seconds in 2000. With the technological advances over the past six years, I suspect we might find that even lower.

We could get into the implications of this and some tips on improving our attention span – worthy discussions but not the topics for this article.

Instead, I’m going to discuss how to adjust to this reduced attention span in the workplace, specifically around employee surveys.

Let’s talk about traditional annual surveys for a minute and how they might play into this world of short attention spans. Often, a lot of time and money are spent putting together the annual survey with a genuinely altruistic desire to address a multitude of subjects. Which means they’re going to take more than eight seconds to complete. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that respondent rates for annual surveys fall between 30% to 40%. After all that investment, not ideal to only be engaging with less than half the workforce, is it?

So, what’s the answer? How about a solution that is designed to work with a shorter attention span? One that asks specific statements or questions that require only a simple selection of a graphical interface. It’s a great way to garner high-quality information with a high-level of engagement.

I’ve provided a sampling of such questions from our Employee Listening Guide to Practical Questions for an Empowered Organisation along with an analysis of what the data might tell you.

  • Statement/Question: I believe that people of different backgrounds, characteristics and beliefs are welcome here.
  • What this might tell you: Low average scores may be indicative of a perception of prejudice and unfairness regarding diversity and inclusion.
  • Statement/Question: I know how I contribute to the success of this organisation.
  • What this might tell you: Low average scores may be indicative of a lack of leadership or development which is preventing the employees from high levels of job enjoyment, engagement, and satisfaction.
  • Statement/Question: Do you feel you balance your home life with work life well?
  • What this might tell you: Low average scores may be indicative of poor working practices that can affect your employees’ mental well-being.
  • Statement/Question: The company’s tools or processes impact on my productivity.
  • What this might tell you: Low average scores may be indicative of unmotivated staff and future productivity issues if appropriate resources and training aren’t increased.
  • Statement/Question: I am clear on how my objectives impact on the attainment of the organisational objectives.

What this might tell you: Low average scores may be indicative of poorly aligned objectives that can affect the employees’ purpose, direction, accountability, and performance.

This measurable data will allow you to start looking at what changes need to be made and, more crucially, engage your workforce to be part of that change.

If you’d like to see more sample questions and how they can help deliver necessary change, download our full guide from the link below.

Creating an Engaged & Empowered Workforce: Practical Guide 1 : smartcrowds

Now, if I’ve kept your attention for this long, here’s the punchline:

“Tomb it may concern.” 😊

If you’d like to learn more about smartcrowds and our Pulse survey platform, get in touch. Happy Halloween!