The first and most important step in any research study is the development of the Question Database. There is no doubt that the phrase ‘garbage in, garbage out’ was coined for just such an application! In the past, NBRI would conduct one-on-one telephone interviews of a small sample of your target population, such as employees or customers, and ask them what they believed your Company should ask them on the survey. This preliminary research revealed many issues that were unknown to management. NBRI would then interview management, and combine the information from management with that of the target population, and when further combined with our knowledge and expertise, we would recommend a question database for management’s consideration.
NBRI is still able to conduct preliminary survey research when requested, but we do not typically recommend that our clients invest the time or money. The organizational dynamics that are universal to all employee, customer, and market populations have been proven with empirical research and have stood the test of time. Certainly, additional topics and issues arise, such as the internet, websites, and online ordering, and these too are added to NBRI’s library of questions, and have been purified of all biases by being tested on millions of people.
Today, new NBRI clients are interviewed as to their reasons for conducting the research and their goals for the study. The process of selecting questions can then take several forms, as some new clients have previous questions they would like NBRI to review so that they may continue using them in whole or part to preserve historical data. Some clients have never surveyed before and are beginning ‘from scratch,’ while others have a very particular focus for their survey, such as Corporate Values, and are not interested in broader feedback. Client input is then used by the NBRI Organizational Psychologist to modify a robust question database of the most common issues facing all employee, customer, or market populations, and this is provided as a starting point in developing each custom question database.
The initial Question Database proposed by NBRI will typically also include questions that are prescribed by Best Practices in Organizational Development. For employee surveys, these questions pertain to Management Style, Communications, and Engagement questions. For customer surveys, Intent to Return, Customer Satisfaction, and Products and Services questions are recommended. In addition to being prescribed by Best Practices, some of these questions provide NBRI with the data needed to conduct inferential statistical analyses that provide clients with the shortest route to the most important improvements for the financial success of their organization. Each Question Database continues to be worked by the Client and their Psychologist, until both are confident that the survey will obtain the information needed to accomplish the goals of the study.