Dealing with the Organisational Structure

The way in which an organisation’s structure is incorporated into a survey will determine how relevant the survey results will be for each of the different business units and how useful it will be for management at all levels of the organisational hierarchy.


Benefits of basing a survey on a detailed organisational structure

The survey results in the analytics dashboard will be grouped and displayed according to the organisational structure on which the survey was based. An organisational structure comprising of one long list of employees will result in all the survey responses being grouped together as a single unit in the analytics dashboard. Conversely, a survey based on a detailed organisational structure, hierarchically broken down into divisions, business units and teams, will result in the survey responses being grouped and displayed accordingly – per division, business unit and team – which will be much more useful. Survey results that are broken down per business unit will make it possible to:

  • Analyse the survey responses at business unit level, i.e. per division, department and team, or even by combinations of business units and/or teams. This will make it possible to drill down and to identify and pinpoint issues where they matter and to target interventions where they will have the most impact.

  • Devolve accountability for the outcomes of the survey to the right level and to the right manager.

  • Selectively restrict access – via the analytics dashboard – for individual managers so they can only view the detail results of their own business units.


Take care not to make the survey groups too small!

When deciding on what level of the organisational structure the survey should be conducted, care should be taken not to make the business units or teams too small – ideally not smaller than 8 employees per business unit or survey group. Breaking a survey down into business units that are too small can have negative consequences:

  • The anonymity of the respondents in smaller business units may be compromised, which will in turn have a negative impact on response rates and on the integrity of the responses. Employees will be reluctant to participate in a survey if they know they are part of a team of only 3 or 4, even more so if they have to respond to demographic questions as well (gender, qualifications, age etc.).

  • In smaller groups it will be difficult to get an acceptable sampling error (see the section Statistically Representative Survey Results). To illustrate, in a small group of 6 employees all employees have to participate in the survey to get an acceptable sampling error of 5% or less. And getting a 100% response rate will be a tall order – the current norm is a response rate of 60 – 70%, even under the best of circumstances.


Creating special or discrete survey groups

Special or discrete survey groups comprising of smaller business units, administrative and support staff, and select individuals, should be considered for the following reasons:

  • To protect the respondents’ anonymity, the Engage ANALYTICS dashboard will not show the survey results of any business unit with less than 4 responses; their responses will simply be rolled up into the parent business unit. Smaller business units and teams should therefore be grouped together into special or discrete survey groups for the purposes of the survey, with such survey groups not smaller than ideally 10. See the example in the table below: 3 Finance & HR is a special survey group that combines the Finance and the HR departments. Administrative and support staff that fall directly under a CEO or divisional or business unit manager (e.g. personal assistants, clerks) could also be grouped into special survey groups to protect their anonymity.

  • There may in some cases be a need to survey a group of individuals as a unit so their collective results could be determined. For example, when doing an employee engagement survey in a large organisation, it will make sense to group all divisional managers into a discrete “Divisional Managers” survey group so their collective engagement levels can be measured as a unit (the discrete survey group 2.1.1 Warehousing Management Team in the table below comprises of the 5 sub-unit managers who report to the manager of 2.1 Warehousing Operations). Besides, it doesn’t make much sense to let managers participate in a survey as a member of their own business units – by doing that they will in effect be assessing their own performance!

Important: discrete survey groups where select individuals are combined in a survey group can only be defined in case of targeted online surveys – see Different Modes of Online Surveys for more on this.


Using Excel to prepare the organisational structure for use in a survey

The easiest way to get the organisational structure in a format suitable for use in a survey is to source an employee list in Excel format from your HR or IT department, or alternatively to capture the data in Excel. The functionality provided by Excel makes it much easier to manipulate and restructure the data so it is in the right format. However, for Excel data to be imported and used in Engage SURVEY, the data must be in a prescribed format (sorry!):

  • Use the standard Excel Import Template that can be downloaded via the Export Organization function of Engage SURVEY, and stick to the layout as provided – particularly with reference to headings, columns and related;

 

Index Business Unit No of Employees
1 Procurement 2
1.1 General 21
1.2 Franchise Operations 34
2 Logistics & Customer Services 3
2.1 Warehousing Operations 2
2.1.1 Warehousing Management Team 5
2.1.2 Central Region 4
2.1.2.1 Warehouse 1 12
2.1.2.2 Warehoiuse 2 8
2.1.2.3 Warehouse 3 12
2.1.3 Southern Region 24
2.1.4 Northern Region 43
2.1.5 Western Region 14
2.1.6 Eastern Region 31
2.2 Deliveries 35
3 Finance & HR 12
4 Sales 6

 

  • Business unit and sub-unit hierarchies and interdependencies should be uniquely numbered with a sequential index number (see example in table above):

    • The top-level units (e.g. divisions in a larger organisation) should be numbered numerically in sequence, i.e. 1, 2, 3 etc.;

    • Sub-units (child units) that belong to a top-level unit should be numbered as a decimal of the parent unit’s index number, e.g. 2.1 Warehousing Operations, 2.2 Deliveries;

    • Sub-sub-units should likewise be numbered as a decimal of the parent unit’s index number, e.g. 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, and the same convention should be followed for all lower level units (see 2.1.2.1 Warehouse 1 in the table below);

  • Index numbers should be unique to a particular business unit and should be used only once. Whether the details of individual employees or only the number of employees per business unit should be captured, depends on the online survey mode that will be used (see Different modes of Online Surveys below). Some guidelines though:

    • If employee totals per business unit are to be captured – the total number of employees per business unit will be used to ensure that there are not more responses than employees for a particular business unit. List only the number of employees who work in that business unit; don’t aggregate the total number of employees of all the sub-units who resort under a business unit (i.e. child units). To illustrate, in the table above, the 2.1.2 Central Region has a total of 36 employees if you add the employees of the three warehouses. However, only 4 of them fall directly under the manager of 2.1.2 Central Region (a personal assistant and 3 clerks), so the number of employees for Central Region should be shown as 4. Just bear in mind that Engage SURVEY will not combine a business unit manager's survey responses with the rest of the business unit's survey responses; the business unit manager's survey responses will automatically be rolled up into the next higher level in the hierarchy. 

    • If employee details are to be captured – employee details should be captured under the business unit where they work. In the table below, the details of the personal assistant and the 3 clerks are shown as part of 2.1.2 Central Region – the manager’s details are included in the special survey group 2.1.1 Warehousing Management Team.

 

Index Business Unit Name Email
2.1.2 Central Region Peter Sithole This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sarah Stilwell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fanie Besembos This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Montrial McGovern This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2.1.2.1 Warehouse 1 Chetty Claim This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Franny Opera This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Assist Tant This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Etc.

 

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