3.1 Target respondents
Who the EO targets for its survey within a firm matters a great deal. The HR manager, who is often an obvious choice, is usually not the strongest part of the management hierarchy, and may not be involved in other areas pertinent to your survey. It is vital to get the right technical person for specific issues.
It is important to select the time when the EO does a survey. It is too late once a law or regulation is passed. The point of a survey is usually to influence policy change, not react to it once it has taken place. However, surveys can also be conducted by the EO that are 'press driven', in that the primary purpose is to generate publicity on an issue the EO wants to highlight and modify. This kind of research may not produce 'cutting edge' information, but it does enable the EO to further its agenda.
Timing is also important in respect to the EO's profile. For example, if members are surveyed just after the EO has been involved in a high profile advocacy effort, rather than at a time when the EO has been out of the media limelight, it is likely there may be different responses based on different perceptions.
Completing the survey
A decision needs to be made on how the survey will be carried out – by mail, face-to-face questionnaires, online, and so on. How the EO carries out the survey will be predicated on their specific circumstances. In countries with a lower internet use online surveys will not result in a large enough response.; mail surveys may be required if the quantity of responses is the main goal; and face-to-face interviews around a structured questionnaire may be the way to go if a high quality targeted response is required. Individual circumstances will determine how the EO chooses to move forward.
But if online is the EO's choice, make sure that the survey can be 'saved' by the respondent and accessed at another time, so it need not be completed in one session.
(1) David S. Walonick, op. cit.