Survey tools used by private and public sector organizations to measure levels of employee engagement, for feedback and opinion include paper-based forms and online surveys. However, more organizations are turning to the technology of audience response systems to gain instant input from employees.

These systems act as real-time group surveys to provide organizations with anonymous information about the attitudes and opinions of employees and other internal constituents.

Audience Response Systems For Employee Surveys

The technology of audience response systems is perhaps most commonly known from the television program Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? when audience votes on a question response assist a game show contestant. Audience response technology is also widely used for training and in classrooms to measure students’ levels of learning.

Employee surveys using audience response extends the use of the technology and its high degree of interactivity as a business tool. Public Relations professionals can test communications tools such as printed materials, social media tools and other internal communications vehicles that seek to engage with employees and improve organizational results.

During an audience response survey session, small or large groups of employees gather for a presentation projected onto a large screen. Each employee is given a wireless hand-held keypad and the survey facilitator asks questions. Employees select a response using their hand-held device and once everyone is finished, the aggregate data is displayed on the screen for everyone to see.

Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Seek Engagement With Feedback

Some audience response systems can poll audience members from a web site, Word document, video clip or any application on a personal computer. The data can be exported for use in charts, spreadsheets and presentations that display the information as part of a suite of recommendations to improve employee communications and engagement.

Skilled communicators will use these audience response sessions and the resulting employee feedback to discuss the aggregate responses to craft strategic communications plans, build consensus, understanding and advance decision-making.

For example, two Native American casinos in Arizona, Casino of the Sun and Casino Del Sol, use audience response systems to conduct a range of focus groups with employees. The organization has advanced from using manual, paper-based surveys to instant feedback that allows for fast adjustments in organizational plans.

Communications Management, Strategic Communications Results From Feedback

The casino’s leadership also uses this feedback technology to hold meetings with random employees to get a snapshot of the workplace culture. During internal focus groups, raw data is gathered from staff to align organizational initiatives and objectives with employee behavior.

Forest City Enterprises Inc., a real estate company, uses audience response to improve the decision-making in its internal communications department. When evaluating materials for the company newsletter, website or other communications tools, the company uses the anonymity of the technology to gain input from the entire team.

Audience response systems have been providing training and education evaluation for years. However, innovative public relations professionals are taking advantage of the technology, it ease-of-use and data gathering capability to gain feedback from employees, get a wide range of opinions and deepen employee engagement.