Steve Young on Making Evaluation Surveys More Appealing

I’m Steve Young, a recent evaluation post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in Greensboro, NC. Currently, I work at Design Interactive in Oveido, FL.

Have you ever thought about how you could make evaluation surveys more “catchy?”

Rad Resource: Read “Contagious” by Jonah Berger which offers some research-based tips for how anyone can make what they do “popular.”

I’ve summarized Berger’s 6 research-based principles and brainstormed some implications for evaluation survey design in the context of leadership development evaluation.

Hot Tip #1: Increase the social currency of something because people share things that make them look good. CCL’s Evaluation Center is trying out the use of new rating tools such as the graphic slider or pick group rank options now available from online survey platforms. Individuals might mention these surveys to others more often than they do the standard Likert style.

Hot Tip #2: Embed environmental triggers within the thing/idea you are looking to promote. On a survey, you could show a particular leadership model or graphic that was frequently shown during the training program. By strategically placing these types of reminders on the evaluation, you may trigger individuals’ thoughts of important course content or at least “warm” them up to taking a look back what they did in the program.

Hot Tip #3: Make people emotionally care about something because they will be more likely to share it. Consider posting a picture on the evaluation survey showing the participants engaged in a meaningful and thoughtful development activity. Who doesn’t like seeing something that reminds them of a positive experience?

Hot Tip #4: Turn private experiences into something that can be shared publicly and allow for there to be behavioral residue (i.e. postings about program experience on LinkedIn). At CCL, we have been experimenting with the social network site Yammer and allowing program participants to give feedback to facilitators publicly. This allows individuals to build off each other’s comments about their developmental experience and connect in a way that was previously not possible.

Hot Tip #5: Give people practical tips that help them with wealth, health, and family. At CCL, we provide participants with some free post-program resources at myCCL forum. When approaching program alumni with a survey request, we also remind participants of everything that is available to support their development after the program.

Hot Tip #6: Tell stories that contain information that has social currency, emotion, and practical value. Perhaps you can link the respondent to a thoughtful and informative video of someone who has been through a program and experienced transformative change and impact.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “Steve Young on Making Evaluation Surveys More Appealing”

  1. Rachel Gita Schiff

    Hi Steve, thanks for your AEA365 post! I was interested to read that you are experimenting with Yammer. I am working on a project now where we are hoping to get more feedback and build a conversation with different internal working groups.
    I would love to hear more about how you (or others who have used Yammer)introduced the public feedback forum, what has worked and what hasn’t.

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