Should we survey during a window in which a major internal or external change will be occurring?


Hi, I am Stacey Levine, and I am part of the Viva People Science team. One of the questions we are often asked at Viva Glint is if organizations should survey when a major change is happening. Our recommendation is that whenever possible, it is best to avoid major events happening inside a survey window that could influence employee responses and therefore muddy the data. These include both internal events that impact the entire organization (e.g., announcement about layoffs, a change in executive leadership) and external events (e.g., state legislation that impacts the organization's industry or funding, polarizing political election, etc.).


The important question to ask is: Do we think this event will impact results mid-survey?

  • If the answer is no, go ahead and survey.
  • If the answer is yes, it is best to plan a survey period in which the data will stay clean throughout the administration whenever possible.

For example, if a major political election that impacts a large majority of your workforce is coming, try to plan the survey administration period either before or after the date that election results will be announced, so that there is no debate whether responses may have been influenced differently before and after the outcome. 


Finding the right time to survey may be more difficult for a large global organization, where there may local events happening at various times. Think globally, and consider the impact on the entire workforce and business when deciding whether results are likely to be impacted mid-window by external events.

In the event that the survey window cannot be moved or a significant unplanned event has occurred during an organization's survey administration window, we recommend separating and reviewing the results pre- and post-decision or announcement in order to determine if responses differ.


We would love to hear your thoughts and how you have handled surveying during times of significant change. Please let us know in the comments below.

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