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WorldLine Training

WorldLine Training

Why Assessment Needs Someone Else to Do It

Commonly said on dangerous reality TV shows, "Don't try this at home" is a good line to apply to companies looking for insights on what's happening in the social matrix. Why should there be any threat in surveying your people from in-house? What are the 'dangers"?

"C'monnn, you've got to be kidding..."

Well no, I'm absolutely serious as a matter of fact. Sorry if that sounds stuffy, but seriously, it's not in your best interests to survey people from in-house.

Here's why;

  • Management teams are scary to subordinates at the best of times. That means any directive or initiative coming from above is likely to be viewed with suspicion, even if you have an open-door policy and firmly believe everybody loves you. An in-house survey sends inquisitional signals to the workforce, who will respond accordingly (and that's not going to give you a true picture).

  • Confirmation bias means that people will answer questions with a slant dependent on the people doing the asking. You can even bring in an impersonal online toolkit to help with anonymity but people are still going to think it comes from you (or whoever you set to the task). Their idea of who you are will colour the results.

  • Enquiry from within immediately incites demand. Conducting a survey in-house invites people to push for the things they want, and major on that which frustrates them. You will likely get a result that focuses on shortcomings instead of an open view of the workplace from everyone's singular, unbiased perspective (which is what you want, since an objective appraisal is the only thing of use in this context).

  • A gap in action fosters disappointment. Your employees, remember, are already suspicious. They'll want to see action immediately on the back of what they've told you. When it doesn't come (because strategies take time) the demoralisation that you're looking to address will get worse - doubling the effort necessary to get your company back on track.

  • You risk strengthening negativity instead of quelling its effects. People will talk about the survey and, in view of the above, quickly find themselves reiterating that "nothing's going to change around here" because inadvertently, that's the message you've delivered to them.


Now let's take a look at what happens when you bring someone in from outside to chat informally with people at their workstations.

  • A break from routine is fun. Approached from a non-threatening position, people appreciate the chance to think about workplace factors spontaneously.

  • Anonymity is trusted. No-one has asked their name, and it's nice to chat about the workplace for a couple of minutes to a random stranger with an amiable approach. This will achieve more honesty than any paper exercise generated from the office.

  • People want to open up. They care about their working environment and want the best for it - at this stage, with no idea how to contribute to making the necessary changes, it's all about personal viewpoint but you need the whole picture here. Objective results on pie charts will surprise you.

  • A stand-alone appraisal by an outsider with no 'agenda' is seen as just that - no-one expects the management team to jump high bars in making things happen overnight. The opportunity to talk openly is seen as a good thing in its own right.

  • When Assessment has surveyed the workplace and employees have been treated to a convivial conversation they've not been prepared for in advance, there's a buzz of interest rather than a grip of expectation; you can positively capitalise on that.

For a genuine, cost effective fulfilment of your need for unbiased, comprehensive information, get in touch. WorldLine Assessment is available from £850 (30 people surveyed via 1 day on-site, and the subsequent Report) to Autumn 2024.

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