Cultural Survey Data: A Key to Understanding Irrational Exuberance.

How to Effectively Use Cultural Surveys in Your Company

Cultural surveys are a valuable tool for any company, especially as they grow and expand. They provide insight into the experience of working in the company, cross-team collaboration, compensation, and more. In this article, we’ll explore how to effectively review and utilize survey data, including reading results, taking action on survey data, modifying survey questions, and when to start and run surveys.

Reading Results

To effectively review survey data, start by spending a couple of hours digesting the results. Rather than getting caught up in the first couple of issues you notice, focus on the absolute scores rather than the relative ones. If a score is high, it’s still high, even if it’s relatively down a bit. Take the time to identify all issues, and don’t worry about keeping your notes tidy at this stage.

Once you’ve identified major themes in the data, create a private document to collect your notes. Take a screen capture of the data that raises an issue and provide a few sentences of commentary. This is your staging ground for analysis.

Get a sense of the size of your populations in the report to help build an intuition around what kinds of results might be statistically significant. Then, skim through the entire report and group insights into things to celebrate, things to proactively address, and things to acknowledge.

Identify areas of investment after your last survey, and see how you performed there. Focus on your highest and lowest absolute ratings, as well as ratings that are changing the fastest. Identify what stands out when you compare across cohorts.

Read every single comment and copy the most relevant ones over to your notes document. What are the subjective pieces of feedback that change how you interpret the data? What are comments you might quote when sharing a summary?

Taking Action on the Results

Identify a few important areas where you believe you can make real progress, and then actually do the work. If you identify any acutely serious issues, take action immediately. Use your analysis notes to select two to three areas you want to invest in until the next survey is run.

Once you’ve selected your investment areas, edit your notes and new investment areas into a document you’re comfortable sharing with the broader organization. Review this document with your direct reports, People or Human Resources partner, peers on the executive team, and trusted individual contributors within Engineering.

As you receive feedback from reviewers, incorporate it to your best judgment. Remember to remain transparent, but optimistic in your tone and focus on addressing the most important issues rather than trying to address everything at once.

Modifying Survey Questions

As your company grows and changes, it’s important to modify survey questions to ensure they remain relevant. Consider the following factors when modifying your questions:

– Company size: larger companies may require more nuanced questions than smaller ones
– Diversity: take into account different backgrounds and experiences of your employees
– Company values: link survey questions to your company’s core values
– Frequency: consider how frequently you want to survey your employees and how you can ensure the process remains efficient

When to Start and Run Cultural Surveys

It’s important to establish a timeline for conducting cultural surveys. When to start and how frequently you run the surveys is up to you, but it’s important to take the following into account:

– The size of your company and how frequently it’s growing or changing
– The availability of resources to conduct the survey
– The response rate from employees
– Your ability to analyze and utilize the data gathered


Cultural surveys can provide valuable insights into the experience of working in your company, but it’s important to utilize the data gathered effectively. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that you’re reviewing results effectively, taking action on the data collected, modifying survey questions as needed, and conducting surveys at appropriate intervals.

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