A note on changing standard driver questions

Making changes to the predefined questions that Peakon uses, can have adverse effects on the accuracy of benchmarking – which is relied on throughout the analysis Peakon provides. Even small changes can lead individuals to answer differently and potentially skew the results in comparison to the original questions.

Caution should be taken when editing questions, and when adding your own custom driver or sub-driver questions. Asking unclear, leading, or loaded questions could return a wildly different range of answers than those given to Peakon’s original questions.

Take caution when altering questions to be more specific

We’re sometimes asked about editing sub-driver questions to make them more specific. For example, changing the question “I am satisfied with the performance review process at our organisation” to “I am satisfied with our process of running OKRs”.

While it may seem beneficial to include the name of a policy or methodology, this is a good example of how being more specific can pose problems. In this example, people may instead rate their impression of how OKRs are implemented, based on their knowledge of how OKRs should be practiced – rather than how satisfied they are with performance management in general.

If in a year’s time you were to switch away from OKRs to another methodology you will not have clean data to make an accurate decision about whether people are more satisfied. Instead, you’ll potentially have two entirely separate and unrelated reviews of how people thought processes were implemented, but on one trend line.

Peakon's smart text analysis applied to employee comments will help you surface the specific, recurring issues in your company, (such as OKRs in this example).

A guide on how to formulate questions

Takin the following question as an example:

 “I feel like my coworkers trust me to do a good job.”

We can be reasonably sure that feeling your coworkers trust you is a positive, so this will fit the scale of 1 to 10. 

But let’s have a look at ways this question could have been formulated that will cause problems:

  • “I feel like my coworkers don’t trust me to do a good job.” – this would invert the 1 to 10 scale, with 1 representing the positive, making a mess of the correlation to the engagement question.
  • “My coworkers should have more trust in me to do a good job.” – again, this would invert the 1 to 10 scale, as agreeing that you should be trusted more, indicates low trust.
  • “This is the most trusting team I’ve ever worked in.” – rather than gauging how trusting your team is, this would instead be entirely relative, and based on an employee’s previous career experiences.
  • “We have a world-class level of trust among employees.” – we have designed all of Peakon’s questions so that scoring 10 reflects excellence. However, setting such high standards as “world-class” would cause two problems: it’s essentially a higher standard than the scale of the other questions, and it’s unrealistic for employees to know what a truly world-class standard of trust is.
  • “Trust in our team has increased since our last team-building event” – time sensitive questions are not a good idea – considering that you’ll need to ask the same question multiple times to understand whether improvements are being made. As time passes from the event in question, individuals’ memories of the event and it’s consequences will fade and differ, negatively affecting the reliability of their answers.
  • “Trust is essential for teamwork, I believe we have a trusting team.” – the framing of this question is not neutral. It insists employees agree with the premise before passing their judgement.

Hopefully these examples will provide a useful guide for what to look out for when adding custom questions.

Using open-ended questions

If instead, you’re simply looking for a way to collect feedback and ideas, that’s not required to fit the 1 to 10 scale, it’s also easy to add this kind of open-ended question to your Peakon surveys. For example, asking open-ended questions targeted to new hires around their onboarding experience and offboarding questions to leavers. These type of questions can easily be added or removed without affecting your scores down the line. 

For help on adding open-ended questions, refer to our Managing questions article for help on adding custom open-ended questions.

Article: Managing questions
Article: Targeting onboarding questions to new hires and offboarding questions to leavers

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