(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by JotForm, a full-featured online form builder that makes it easy to create forms and collect data. They’ve just launched a new product called JotForm Approvals that automates approval processes with ease, something every HR department loves to hear. Enjoy the article!)
One of the keys to good decision making is having the right data and information. For example, the finance department doesn’t want to make a decision about spending without looking at the financials. The sales department wouldn’t make a decision that impacts customers without understanding why customers buy the product or service.
And HR departments shouldn’t make a decision that impacts employees without understanding what employees need and want. I recently had the opportunity to test drive the JotForm site and realize how much data forms can capture for us. But more on that later. The good news is that there are several ways to gather employee-related information and data.
IN-PERSON Interviews. The biggest advantage to this approach is the benefit of reading body language and asking follow-up questions. But with that comes a disadvantage: in-person interviews consume a lot of time and resources. It also requires a skilled interviewer to be able to interpret those non-verbal cues.
PHONE / VIDEO Interviews. If the organization wants some of the benefit of in-person interviews without using as many resources, a phone or video call could be an option. The interviewer might be able to pick up on some of the voice inflexion to ask follow-up questions. However, it’s still time consuming and requires interviewing skills.
FORMS / SURVEYS. Obviously, forms and surveys don’t give us the benefit of the non-verbal cues. That being said, they are extremely cost effective. We can use forms and data to gather information from a larger group, creating more statistically relevant information. Forms and surveys can also allow the organization to collect more data, which could be helpful in determining trends.
Why Organizations Should Care About Collecting Data
Today, let’s focus our conversation on the process and value associated with collecting data via forms and surveys. I believe this is very relevant right now because organizations are trying to make significant decisions about the post-pandemic candidate experience and employee experience.
For example, over the past year, organizations have been doing video interviews. While the pandemic might have caused organizations to try this option, that doesn’t have to be the reason it stays or goes. I’ve talked to lots of recruiters who think video interviews should continue to be part of the process. But what do candidates think? Wouldn’t it be great to send candidates a short survey and get some feedback regarding the candidate experience? This is a perfect example of how a survey could provide the organization with information to make their candidate experience even stronger.
Another example might be the conversation that organizations are having about remote work. Maybe before making any big decisions, it would be helpful to do an employee survey. Find out if employees still want to work from home. If they do, see what they might need to make their remote work experience better such as an internet stipend or office equipment. I could see this being a short anonymous survey and based on the results, organizations can have more in-depth one-on-one conversations with employees.
These are just two examples of situations where I could see senior management asking HR for suggestions and HR wanting to have some data to back up their recommendations. But I can also see HR departments saying to themselves – our schedules are full. To do this right, we need data. HR doesn’t want to go to senior management and tell them that they couldn’t provide a recommendation because they didn’t have time.
So, we need to create something – like a quick form or survey. That takes time and often some creative inspiration. As I mentioned, I recently did a test drive of the JotForm site and that “unique data situation” was the big takeaway for me. Yes, JotForm has all the HR/employment forms you would expect: employment applications, employee referral forms, performance reviews, exit interviews, etc. They even have Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and COVID related forms like medical information forms, HIPAA authorizations and privacy notices, COVID self-screening questionnaires, etc.
But what jumped out at me were the forms we need but often have to create. Like an “employee favorites” form for new hires. Organizations can welcome a new employee with their favorite things. Or an equipment checkout form so remote employees can borrow/return things they might need from the office to get their work done. Or an internet speed form, so employees and organizations can make sure employees have the broadband access they need to do their job. And if you need something unique – like a candidate survey – you can create it using JotForm.
Now I know what you’re thinking (because I was thinking it too). Once I get all these completed forms, what’s next? It’s a good question. With JotForm, you can import the data into a spreadsheet and then use the spreadsheet data for trend analysis, etc. Also, as a quick side note, while our conversation today has been focused on forms, JotForm has a simple customer relationship management (CRM) spreadsheet. I’m planting this little seed because, if your organization is ramping up their recruiting efforts and you don’t have this feature, you might find it valuable. It can help recruiters stay on top of their contact with candidates. Now back to forms.
Forms Aren’t Evil. They Provide Valuable Data.
Right now, organizations are trying to figure out the best way of finding the best talent, make sure their employees are performing at a high level, and take care of their customers. I know we don’t often think of forms as being an answer to those things. But we can’t discount the value of forms. Forms collect data. And organizations need data to make good decisions. Especially now.
If you’re looking for ways to get more valuable data, think about trying JotForm. They offer FREE Starter plans so you can see firsthand the value that they can provide.16