Why your engagement process may be leading you astray…

Economics is a social science that analyzes all aspects of our society.  However, as complicated and as scientific as it is, economic studies are rarely accurate.  Why?  Well one reason is traditional economics are based on rational factors and there are usually irrational factors at work.

The study of irrational factors and their patterns in economics has been coined “Behavioral Economics.”  You might be asking… “What does this has to do with employee engagement surveys, customer engagement surveys or focus groups?”  Simple…what people say and what they do are often different.  And the circumstances and consequences surrounding these efforts have an impact on how people behave and respond.   What this means is that the interpretation of your results and the questions you are asking may not be very helpful.

Here are some quick tips to help you in your efforts:

  1. Don’t try so hard to understand people’s thinking or the reasons for their behavior.  The data probably won’t tell you all of that.  This is even tricky for professionals in the business.
  2. Try to use items or questions that are quantifiable.
  3. Use scales that have more than 5 levels because generally people have an aversion to extremes.
  4. Utilize scales that are specific such as “2 times a quarter.”
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