Ask, don't guess

Employee communications tools

Polls & surveys

PurposeTypical audienceProsConsCan you do it yourself?Thinking points
Ideal for getting feedback, insight & recognitionAll DSM colleaguesFast and easy to integrate into newsletters, emails, etcSurvey fatigue, questions need to be well considered Yes – but you could seek 3rd party help with survey designShould you make it anonymous or not? Also, make sure you communicate the results

What is this tool?

Surveys are useful for getting feedback (and indeed validation) for your work – as well as raising awareness on certain topics. And of course, you can then use this to improve things in the future. Surveys take many forms and don’t need to be boring. For example, why not organize a quiz with a prize and use it to help your audience learn more about a hot topic?

What and when is it typically used?

Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.


  1. A survey creates awareness for a topic.
  2. When conducted online, it’s fast.
  3. You can integrate a survey into newsletters, meetings and other channels.
  4. Use it to test knowledge and understanding.
  5. Gain valuable feedback and insight to drive continuous improvement.


  1. Survey fatigue.
  2. Survey design is a skill in itself.
  3. Too many questions.
  4. Ambiguous questions.
  5. Deciding what you will do with the information you learn.
  6. If not anonymous, will recipients be honest?

How to use this tool

  • Preparation
    • What is the purpose of your survey or poll?
    • Define the audience.
    • Anonymous or not?
    • Is there a specific timing for the survey?
  • Develop your questions and test them informally on a few colleagues.
  • Choose the most suitable tool. Online or offline?
  • Build your survey and make sure your invitation text is persuasive.
  • Launch your survey and monitor during the lifetime of the survey.
  • Close it and evaluate results.
  • Ideally, communicate the results back to the audience and communicate any next steps.

Things to keep in mind

  • Reporting the results of the survey to the audience and following up afterwards is the most important – and often underestimated - part.
  • People like to respond to surveys in their own language. Consider translating.
  • What should you offer as a prize for the winner? Or for the first respondent?
  • During a meeting, leave five five minutes at the end for people to complete the survey (paper or online).

KPIs for this tool

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • Number of responses versus invitees. Benchmark if possible.

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

Read more

  • Feedback Empowers

    Feedback Empowers

    Improving our communication with each other is a major focus for DSM and our ways of working – not least the ability to request, give and receive quality feedback. After all, we have a huge well of diverse and interesting insights and experience within DSM: why not make the most of it?

  • Tone of voice guide

    Tone of voice guide

    The same brand personality characteristics that inform our visual identity (courageous, caring and collaborative) also drive our verbal identity.

  • Our Brand platform

    Our Brand platform

    Our brand is forged by six core building blocks: our purpose, brand promise, core values, personality, positioning, and our ways of working.