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Employee Survey FAQs

  1. How many questions are in the Insightlink 4Cs employee survey? How long does a typical survey take for employees to complete?
    The entire 4Cs Benchmark Employee Survey has 52 questions. For most clients, however, we use about three-quarters of this survey to achieve the right balance between data needs and the time commitment required of employees, about 20 minutes for most surveys. If you would like to see a sample of the full employee survey, please contact us at or 866-802-8095 ext 705.
  2. Does Insightlink have norms or benchmarks?
    Yes. We have extensive benchmarks for employees in total and for major industry groups in the United States and Canada. We also have select international benchmarks. Normative data are critical to interpreting your employee survey results and helping define which areas you may need to target for action. For example, if your survey results indicate that 66% of your employees are satisfied with advancement opportunities, you need to know if this result is comparable to other employers or if it represents a problem that could lead to the loss of top performers. Comparison with the Insightlink normative database offers this perspective.
  3. How do you know if norms are valid?
    It's critical when evaluating an employee satisfaction survey vendor to request background on the source and composition of the normative data that will be used as comparisons in your reports.

    Unlike many other employee survey companies, Insightlink maintains its data integrity by purposely not including any clients' data in our normative database. We adhere to stringent research standards and believe strongly that the addition of any self-selected sample (like that of our clients) significantly skews the results and compromises the validity of normative data.

    Instead, our norms are created via an independent annual survey of randomly selected employees in North America. The sample for this survey is balanced against Bureau of Labor Statistics and Statistics Canada figures on key factors such as company size, industry classification, geography and employee demographics. The result of this balanced sampling is a rigorously scientific, fully accurate view that provides real benchmarks against which to judge your organization's scores. This means our 4Cs Employee Survey Normative Database is always current, accurate and relevant.
  4. What steps have you taken to validate your 4Cs survey and your analysis?
    Insightlink's 4Cs survey includes a number of features designed to minimize the potential sources of bias, provide statistically valid results and, most importantly, provide a full and complete picture of the state of employee engagement in a workplace. These elements include aspects of the survey design, survey administration and the analysis and reporting of the survey findings.

    First of all, we take a comprehensive approach using the 4Cs framework, measuring employee experiences (“When was your last performance review?”), feelings (“How committed do you feel to this organization?”), observations (“There is a good sense of morale among the people you work with.”), priorities (“How important is it to you that policies are administered fairly?”) and judgments (“How much do you agree or disagree that this organization administers policies fairly?”).By asking questions that capture all these different aspects of the employee experience, our 4Cs survey avoids traditional sources of response bias.

    On the topic of survey validity specifically, our 4Cs survey has been thoroughly vetted using the well-established practice of "cognitive testing." The purpose of this evaluation is to ensure that the questions are asking exactly what they intend to ask.

    Another important way that Insightlink helps ensure the validity of the findings is our approach to survey administration. Our goal is to gain as high a level of participation in your survey as possible. A high response rate minimizes validity issues due to sample bias. We work with you throughout the survey process ensure that communications surrounding the survey – from the invitation letter, to the survey itself, to the reminder notices – are maximally effective at bringing employees to the survey and encouraging their participation.

    Good data is nothing without statistically-appropriate analysis, thoughtful interpretation and actionable insights and it is in these areas where Insightlink’s years of experience in employee engagement and motivation research are most critical. In addition to narrative summaries of the findings, thematic analysis of employee comments, statistical cross-tabulation of the findings and comparisons to industry and national norms, we also offer more sophisticated statistical analyses such as the correlation-based Motivations & Drivers analysis.

    All of these elements help to maintain survey reliability and validity and all are incorporated into the 4Cs survey process.
  5. How do we validate what we use to determine what drives engagement in an organization?
    There are two types of validity relevant to the way we identify what drives engagement in an organization – statistical validity and face validity. We feel our approach properly embraces both to provide the most meaningful and actionable drivers of engagement.

    Statistically, the method we use to identify drivers relies on correlation analysis. This analysis calculates the mathematical relationship between all items in the survey and the “dependent variable,” which in this case is job satisfaction. The rationale behind this is that the more highly “correlated” items (i.e., those ratings that act more in tandem with job satisfaction than others) are likely “drivers” of job satisfaction so action on them is more likely to improve job satisfaction than action on items that are less highly correlated. So in this sense the validity of the relationship is embedded in the statistical technique itself, the greater the correlation, the greater the influence of the identified drivers.

    Face validity is also important. Face validity is identifying and recognizing the logic chain that connects causes with effects. While there is no statistical test for face validity, we apply our years of experience in the field of employee surveys to look beyond the statistical analysis and make well-informed judgments about how the various potential drivers identified through the correlation analysis are related both to job satisfaction and to one another. The old saying that “correlation is not causation” is just as true in employee engagement surveys as it is in any other field. In applying the logic of face validity, we refine the list of drivers to eliminate those that are heavily inter-correlated and produce a driver list that clearly and succinctly shows clients which levers to pull to achieve a more engaged workforce.

    After identifying the top items in terms of both correlation and logic, we then examine our client’s performance on these leading factors and classify each one in terms of “Equities,” which are what you do well so don’t need to take further action, “Opportunities,” where your performance is moderate and improvement would be beneficial, and “Weaknesses,” where your performance is quite low and action would really help to boost job satisfaction.

    The final gauge of validity is, of course, experience. Our clients have successfully utilized our identification of key drivers to develop effective change initiatives within their organizations. Subsequent surveys for these clients have shown gains in key measures, such as job satisfaction, and in some cases clients have also reported to us that they have seen improvements in attracting and retaining employees and other measures of business success. We feel these client experiences are also a compelling validation that we are measuring the right things and making the right recommendations.
  6. Can the survey be accessed on mobile platforms such as tablets or smart phones?
    Yes, the survey can be completed on all mobile platforms that allow for the use of a Web browser. However, in the case of smart phones with smaller screens, it may be challenging to read some question text easily. We recommend a screen size of 7" or greater for maximum usability. .
  7. What kind of reports can I get from Insightlink?
    We offer a variety of customized different reports depending on your needs. To download samples of reports, CLICK HERE .
  8. How do I know what kind of report I need?
    That depends on your comfort level with interpreting data and your organization's preferences. Furthermore, Insightink does not require you to commit to a report type at the time the survey launches. Sometimes needs change and we are flexible enough to accommodate them. Reporting is one of the things that sets Insightlink apart from other employee survey providers. Our extensive experience in analyzing survey data means that we highlight the information you need for effective decision-making. Rather than just focusing on what's wrong in your organization, we give you a complete picture of employee satisfaction, so that you can determine the actions needed to either improve or maintain employee morale.
  9. Can I edit, add or remove questions?
    Yes. We work with you to optimize the questions to increase their effectiveness for your organization. For comparison purposes, however, it is be important to keep certain question wording consistent to be able to take full advantage of Insightlink's normative benchmarks.
  10. Can I use my own employee survey when we work with Insightlink?
    Yes. We can easily Web-enable your existing employee survey for use in our system. Furthermore, we can usually incorporate data results for comparisons with previous surveys you have conducted to look at year-to-year changes. While we can import most employee surveys into our system, we do have some limitations on reporting styles, so please consult with us on any questions you may have.
  11. Can I look at results from my Insightlink survey in more detail?
    Yes. We can provide more detail through Heatmap reports, sub-group reports or data cross-tabulations. CLICK HERE for samples.
  12. Does Insightlink ensure employee anonymity?
    Yes. Unlike DIY in-house surveys where it's impossible to make employees believe their feedback is anonymous, Insightlink is committed to protecting the identity of their employees when they are responding to surveys. Through strict adherence to industry standards and practices concerning the collection of employee opinion data, we guarantee that privacy and anonymity will be protected. Our reputation depends on it.
  13. How can HR ensure employees that their identities are protected?
    We make our policies clear and provide a toll free number and email for contacting with any questions or concerns.

    When answering surveys online, employees will be sent a randomly-generated unique access code. This code is destroyed by the system as soon as they complete the survey, making it impossible to trace answers back to an individual.

    Access codes are never provided to employers and each random code is sent from a closed email system so that not even Insightlink employees have direct access to the codes generated.

    When a survey is closed, all unused access codes are purged from the system.

    When reporting results, only aggregates and percentages based on the total number of responses are returned to the employer. They will never receive the results of any individual survey. The comments provided to any essay questions in a survey will be grouped together with those from all other employees and randomized before an employer sees them.

    When answering surveys by paper, employees will never be asked to identify themselves. The organization sends the completed survey back to Insightlink directly. Employers will never see individual completed surveys.
  14. Can I see employee comments when we work with Insightlink?
    Yes. We send you unedited Microsoft Word files of all open-ended/written comments made by employees. We provide text from all open-ended, free-form essay questions in Word format, randomized to protect employee anonymity.
  15. Can Insightlink enable me to conduct employee surveys in multiple languages?
    Yes. We have conducted surveys in many languages and have the capacity to provide services in most languages.
  16. Does your 4Cs employee survey include "skip logic" programming?
    We are able to include "skip logic programming" in our employee surveys. This is the ability to ask certain survey questions based on the responses to prior questions and/or to known demographic information. For example, skip logic programming can be used for follow-up open-ended questions that ask employees answering in a certain way to provide more details about the previous question(s).

    However, we advise using skip logic programming sparingly. It adds a level of complexity to surveys that may not always be necessary and it is essential that skip patterns be carefully designed. In the example above, asking all employees to offer comments and suggestions, even if they did not answer a certain way, can still provide useful information for analysis.
  17. Can Insightlink compare our organization's results to previous years?
    Yes. We archive results over multiple years and work directly with clients to decide which historical results should be used for comparison purposes.
  18. Can we include an incentive for employees when we conduct a survey with Insightlink?
    Yes. However, Insightlink's 4Cs employee survey is designed to be sufficiently engaging and motivating to achieve high participation and completion without the use of incentives. During our issues meetings with clients, we discuss the nature of the organization's work force to assess whether incentives are warranted.
  19. What is an average participation rate on Insightlink's 4Cs Employee Survey?
    For studies conducted entirely online, the average participation is 75-80%. In addition, the average completion rate among those participating is 97%.
  20. Can I monitor participation of Insightlink's 4Cs Employee Survey?
    Yes. We program an online monitor for you to check the progress of your study both in total and by specific employee groups. CLICK HERE to see how it looks.
  21. Can Insightlink help me do paper surveys?
    Yes. Insightlink offers paper surveys to meet the needs of company employees who are more likely (or only able to) provide feedback on paper.
  22. Can Insightlink help me conduct employee surveys with people who don't have computers or email access?
    Yes. Depending on your organization's needs, we can provide hard copy surveys, online access or both. For employees without computers or email access in their workplace areas, many of our clients set up semi-private stand-alone terminals with Internet access so employees with basic computer competence can complete the survey. Those employees who are uncomfortable with computers can have paper copies available. Insightlink arranges for paper surveys to be input manually back at our offices to ensure confidentiality.
  23. What if some employees have Internet and email access, while others do not?
    Several clients have conducted employee surveys with a combination of paper and online methods used. We can easily accommodate a mix of methodologies. All we need is an approximation of how many employees need one method versus the other to ensure we have both options covered.
  24. How long does it take to get results?
    Our online system allows us to rapidly develop and execute your employee survey in the fastest time possible at a cost significantly lower than pen and paper surveys and comparable online methods. Because of the seamlessness of our proprietary data collection system, we have the ability to Web-enable and launch surveys very quickly, even within 1-2 days. Although the specific timing of this study will be decided in consultation our clients, the following guidelines are useful when planning employee satisfaction studies:

    • Questionnaire Development: 1-2 weeks (subject to the necessary internal approvals)
    • Online Data Collection: 1-2 weeks (depending on the size of the organization)
    • Paper Survey Data Collection: 3-4 weeks (depending on the method of return)
    • Complete Data Reports: 1 week following the close of data collection
    • Comprehensive Analysis: 3-4 weeks following the production of data reports
  25. Who are Insightlink's clients?
    Insightlink has conducted employee surveys for companies of all sizes in a wide variety of industries in the U.S., Canada and internationally. These industries include: Banking & Insurance, Business Services, Biotechnology, Defense Contracting, Healthcare, High-tech (hardware & software), Manufacturing, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Transportation/Airlines, Government, Real Estate, Telecommunications, Publishing, Legal Services, Non-Profit, Entertainment, Education and Public Utilities.

    For a full client list and references you can contact directly, please contact us at or 866-802-8095 ext 705.

  26. What other kinds of surveys and other services does Insightlink offer?
    Insightlink offers a range of survey services. While our Insightlink 4Cs Employee Survey is the most popular, we offer in-depth surveys focused specifically on Compensation and Benefits, Corporate Culture, Employee Commitment, Internal Communications and Ethics ans well as Employee Exit Surveys, New Hire (onboarding) Surveys, and 360 Degree Performance Assessments.

    As an augment to our core survey work, we conduct "train the trainer" sessions, focus groups, telephone interviews, interactive voice response-based surveys and other custom research studies.

If you have additional questions, please contact us. We'll be happy to provide you with more information.


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