52 Acquisition International - Issue 11 2021 Sep21646 Data-Backed Business Improvement Protostar Leadership Development LTD, a survey generations and analytics business operating on a worldwide scale, is the ‘Leading Specialist Employee Engagement and Staff Surveys Firm of the Year’ for 2021. Creating surveys that are backed up by peer-reviewed science regarding their wording and format, and gathering data that its consummate professionals thoroughly analyse, Protostar Leadership Development allows management to engage with the needs and requirements of their employees in a way that can result in positive action. esigning surveys that provide a valid measure of employee engagement is both an art and a science. Since 2007, Protostar have used focus groups and online surveys to gain a deep insight into how engaged employees are, what they would prefer their employer to be focusing on, and how they could work more effectively. “There is not always an app for that” explains Michael Coates, the Managing Director of Protostar and former AI Innovation Award winner. “Writing surveys that provide a statistically valid measure of how employees are feeling about their work life and environment, and also encouraging them to be open and honest, is difficult.” As a result, many organisations have jumped on the trend of everything being done quickly and by an app, thereby losing the depth of information managers need to make changes to the employee experience. Protostar’s Online Surveys Protostar have worked with clients around the world to come up with what they believe is a winning formula that both encourages a high response rate and elicits detailed and honest feedback. This is one of the primary reasons so many organisations find Protostar’s approach refreshing. Michael also believes that the key to gaining a client’s confidence that the data provided is meaningful and should be acted upon, is how it is analysed and presented. “A typical survey report highlights hundreds of headlines such as 75% of staff feel this, and while that is a factual summary, clients quickly get lost in all that data and struggle to know, if 75% is good, acceptable or poor. That makes deciding upon an effective action plan very difficult,” says Michael. Protostar have tackled this dilemma in two ways. Firstly, their statisticians analyse the data, then highlight, in an easy-to-understand D format, actions that are more likely to improve employee engagement. Secondly, they have developed an intuitive dashboard that allows managers with no statistical experience, to both see the data they want, and also to compare and filter it. For instance, they might want to compare the responses from female staff in a particular country to male staff and track any changes over the years. It is the ease with which data can be interpreted, and the confidence that what they are being shown is valid (it reflects real life) that makes Protostar stand out and be awarded Leading Specialist Employee Engagement and Protostar’s Survey Dashboard Another key factor for readers of AI, is working in a global market. Employees are often spread around the world, possess different native languages and come from cultures with varied attitudes to the working relationship. Michael’s team at Protostar always start with language. There is an old phrase. “Sir, the staff are revolting Yes, they are disgusting but I love them anyway.” This works, as many native English speakers will sense the dual use of the word “revolting”. However, once translated the meaning is lost, and you cannot assume that every respondent will have the same degree of understanding as the survey writer. There should be no technical or management speak, idioms, dual meaning words or simply those that don’t get used very often elsewhere, for instance, “fortnight” or even “line manager”. Similarly, when reading the responses, it is important to know that words like “disappointed” are used more subtly in some cultures. Only a global awareness of communication can avoid such differences and allow a survey to compare one country against another.