Use Surveys to Measure Your Knowledge Sharing Platform’s ROI

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    You’ve been leading the charge to implement a new knowledge sharing platform because your current system just isn’t cutting it. You’ve done your research and anticipate that a new platform will save your users significant time, improve productivity, and help ensure important content gets to the right stakeholders.

    But no matter how valuable the new knowledge sharing platform will be in theory, you’ll still need to prove its ROI once you’ve launched it.

    Calculating the ROI of a knowledge sharing platform can be challenging because there are a lot of variables and “soft” benefits, such as increasing employee engagement, increasing employee confidence in information, and reducing internal communication gaps. You need to present stakeholders with a clear view of how processes and user behavior have changed (and hopefully improved) since launching your knowledge sharing platform. One tool that can help you do this is the humble survey.  

    Pre- and post-launch surveys allow you to quantify the changes that occur after introducing your new knowledge sharing platform rather than leaving you to rely on anecdotal evidence.

    A pre-launch survey can provide a baseline understanding of how much employees like or dislike your existing tools and processes, as well as an estimate of how long they’re spending searching for information. A post-launch survey can help reveal the impact of your new knowledge sharing solution, which will help you identify areas for improvement and communicate the ROI to your stakeholders.  

    What Should You Ask on Your Surveys?

    Below are a few sample questions to help you start creating pre- and post-launch surveys. You may want to include additional questions depending on the specific goals of your knowledge sharing initiative.

    How satisfied are you with the process of sharing information and areas of knowledge across teams or departments?

    a.) Very Satisfied

    b.) Satisfied

    c.)  Indifferent

    d.) Not Satisfied

    e.) Very Unsatisfied

    How much time in an average workweek do you spend looking for information you need?

    a.) Less than 30 minutes

    b.) 30 minutes to an hour

    c.) One to two hours

    d.) More than two hours

    How much time in an average workweek do you spend answering repetitive questions or helping others look for information they need to perform their duties?

    a.) Less than 30 minutes

    b.) 30 minutes to an hour

    c.) One to two hours

    d.) More than two hours

    What are your biggest pain points? (Please check all that apply.)

    a.) Too many places to search for information and no standard organization

    b.) The software is too manual to maintain

    c.) No way to share with colleagues outside my team

    d.) Cannot find information I need

    e.) Information is outdated and not relevant

    f.) Other

    How often are you unable to find the information you need?

    a.) I always find what I need

    b.) I sometimes can’t find what I need

    c.) I can find what I need about half the time

    d.) I frequently give up because I can’t find what I need

    What are some challenges you face when sharing information to collaborate with associates in your company? (Open-ended question)

    No matter what questions you decide to include on your survey, there are two important best practices to bear in mind:

    Keep it consistent. You need to ask the same questions on your pre- and post-launch survey so that you can accurately measure change over time.

    Keep it short. You may have a lot of questions that you’re curious about, but your platform users don’t want to fill out a five-page survey (you wouldn’t, would you?). Keep your survey as short as possible (while still collecting the information you need) to boost your completion rate.

    When Should You Send Your Surveys?

    You should send your pre-launch survey, as the name suggests, before introducing your users to the new knowledge sharing platform. Ideally, you should send it while your company is still using the system that your knowledge sharing platform will be replacing so that you can compare the two.

    We recommend sending your first post-launch survey 30 days after rolling out your new knowledge sharing platform. This will give your users enough time to familiarize themselves with the platform, incorporate it into their workflow, and get a sense of what they like or don’t like.

    From there, we recommend sending out a survey on an annual basis so that you can continue to take the pulse of your knowledge sharing platform. Annual surveys will help you measure behavior changes, such as time spent searching, over a longer period so that you can evaluate the long-term impact of your initiative.

    How Can You Get People to Actually Complete Your Survey?

    No one has ever answered “surveys” when asked, “What do you like to do for fun?” Convincing your co-workers to complete a survey can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. While internal surveys typically have higher response rates than external ones, they still only get turned in by about 30-40 percent of the people who receive them.

    And unfortunately, the lower your response rates are, the less representative the results will be.

    So how do you encourage as many people as possible to complete your pre- and post-launch surveys?

    Communicate through multiple mediums. Posting a link to the survey in your knowledge sharing platform is an obvious place to start, but you should also send email reminders, include the survey link in your company newsletter, call it out in your weekly all-hands meeting, and so on— whatever it takes to make sure the survey stays top of mind while you’re running it.

    Make it clear why you’re sending out this survey. You know the reason you’re sending this survey is to better understand how your co-workers are using your knowledge sharing platform and how you company can make the platform as valuable to them as possible. Make sure your survey recipients know this, too.

    Get creative with your incentives. Run a raffle for people who complete your surveys, host pre- and post-launch parties with tablets set up for people to fill out the surveys on, run a contest to see which team has the highest completion rate— tap into your company culture and give people a fun reason to answer your survey questions.

    Include the option to submit surveys anonymously. Include survey fields for the respondent’s name and department, but also add a box the respondent can check if they want to remain anonymous. This simple addition will remove a barrier to completion for participants who might be worried about confidentiality.

    Getting people to complete your surveys may require some persistence, but the effort will pay off when you’re able to present your stakeholders with measurable results and a clear story about how your knowledge sharing platform has added value.

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