Let’s Settle This

I remember a time in AP U.S. History when Lake — my only classmate who could grow a beard — decided to survey the class on whether or not he should shave it. Everyone chimed in — shave it, don’t shave it or make it into a crazy design. In Zarca terms, he conducted a public survey using a radio button question with an “other” option.

Since I work at a survey company, I tend to think about surveys more than most people. And, like Lake, I know that surveys are powerful and valuable, no matter how they’re being used. In my office, we use surveys to settle just about anything.


We take the awkwardness out of remembering if our colleagues prefer brownies, cake or ice-cream cake by sending a survey to new team members. After all, it would be quite embarrassing to get an ice-cream cake for someone who is lactose intolerant.

Naming Spaces

After repurposing some office space, we decided to name the new work area.* Instead of lengthy debates and potential conflicts, we conducted a survey to narrow down the potential names and another one to pick a winner.

*This post is proudly brought to you from “The Lab.”


During our Chili Cook-Off, team members taste-tested eight different types of chili. The winners were chosen via a survey that utilized unique URLs, anonymity and a ranking question. No ballot-box stuffing allowed!

General Debates

When colleagues can’t seem to agree on wall art, who makes the best music or where to have lunch, we use surveys to settle things fairly.

Surveying is a powerful way to acquire and disseminate information. And there’s nothing wrong with using our Engage platform to have a little fun, too. When you want reliable data — no matter what that data is — surveys or polls are the way to go!

The Unteachables

By:  Joanna Zimmerman

The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce recently released a report titled “Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020,” which discusses job growth by industry and occupation, while providing projections for both areas. Curious about the most sought after skills in high-growth, high-wage and high-demand occupations, the report piqued my interest.

According to the report, the top two skills are active listening and speaking, respectively. This is both shocking and not too surprising. Most of us have been honing these skills since our earliest social interactions — skills for which we rarely receive formal training. And these “unteachable” abilities are the most valued in high-growth and high-wage industries.

Much — if not all — of my job as a trainer and Client Services Representative is hearing problems and providing solutions. Whether this solution is spoken or written, having the facility to convey information in an easily understandable manner is essential to my role.

But, when all the talking is done, what am I hearing?

For people who must do much of the talking, it’s easy to forget to provide your audience with an opportunity to respond and react to the information being provided. I must remind myself to ask my trainees what they feel is or isn’t working so that I can become a better trainer.

Hearing this type of feedback doesn’t mean you agree with every suggestion. But simply providing your colleagues with this opportunity will make you more sought after and more valued in your professional relationships.