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Workshop 4: The Changing Landscape of Employee Surveys:  Emerging Solutions to Recurring Challenges


Bill Macey, CultureFactors, Inc.
Will Shepherd, The Wendy’s Company


Carra Sims, RAND Corporation


Employee survey programs are evolving at a rapid pace by capitalizing on advances in technology and analytics. This workshop will present some of the more recent advances and their pros and cons in comparison to more traditional approaches in each of the primary stages of survey activity.

Full Description:

Professional practice in the realm of employee surveys has evolved considerably in just the past few years and now includes a variety of sensing devices to gauge employee opinions and sentiment. This workshop will focus on current best practices and emerging opportunities in 4 major stages of survey program activity: (1) developing survey content, extending beyond engagement to obtain insights into organizational strategy, customer focus, and retention modeling; (2) survey administration, including the use of pulse surveys and complementary sources of data such as social platforms and career sites; (3) analyzing data, with an emphasis on the role of driver analysis and text analytics; and (4) driving change through survey-based action planning.

Intended Audience:

General audience at the post-graduate level: This workshop is for I-O psychologists and HR professionals who are looking for a refresher on survey best practices as well new strategies, methods, and approaches. Some experience with employee survey programs beyond graduate training is recommended.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the pros and cons of pulse vs traditional survey approaches across different survey populations
  • Identify the limitations of empirical approaches to key driver identification and causal modeling
  • Determine the usefulness of assessing employee preferences for identifying types and personas used in defining the employee value proposition
  • Discuss and explore the practical limitations of natural language processing of employee comments for both topic identification and sentiment analysis
  • Compare and recognize the value of collecting supplemental information through social platforms and career sites such as GlassDoor.
  • Describe the business contextual factors important to interpreting survey outcomes and providing survey feedback

Presenter Biographies

William H. Macey, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow at CultureFactors, Inc.  He was the CEO of Valtera Corporation for 35 years until the acquisition of Valtera by CEB in 2012, and was subsequently Managing Director, Global Research Office at CEB until 2014. A SIOP past-president, he is a Fellow of SIOP, APA, and APS and was recipient of SIOP’s Professional Contributions Award in 2017. He is a current member of the editorial board of the Journal of Business and Psychology. He received his PhD from Loyola University Chicago in 1975 in Experimental Psychology. His current professional interests include organizational surveys, culture and climate, and computational linguistics. Some of his more widely cited publications include “The Meaning of Employee Engagement” (Macey & Schneider, 2008); and “Employee Engagement: Tools for Analysis, Practice, and Competitive Advantage” (Macey, Schneider, Barbera & Young, 2009).


Will Shepherd, Ph.D., is the Director of Learning and Development at Wendy’s where he has broad responsibilities for leadership development, organizational culture, employee assessment, and training. Previously he led the talent management function at Huntington Bank. He also worked for Personnel Decisions International. Dr. Shepherd earned his Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He currently serves as the Chair of the SIOP Professional Practice Committee. He has presented at The Conference Board's conferences on Executive Coaching, Talent Management Strategies, and Onboarding. He has published research in academic journals including the Academy of Management Journal and Personnel Psychology. He has served as an adjunct professor at a variety of universities, including a current appointment in the Fisher School of Business at The Ohio State University.

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