Whether you want to gauge the reaction to your latest product, get a handle on how staff feel about your workplace re-organisation or simply need to know what everyone thinks of the canteen, getting good, honest feedback that means something is important for any business.

More companies are coming round to the idea that better employee engagement is the key to workplace happiness and improved productivity. Staff who feel part of a business and integral to its success are far more likely to be up for the challenge than those who sense they are just a small cog in a big wheel. Managers are making the effort to drill deeper into what employees think and many businesses are using this detailed analysis to ensure that they take the right corporate decisions.

The problem for many organisations, of course, is getting staff to respond with what they actually believe rather than what they think they should say. A system that allows for anonymous feedback is all very well too but you need to be able to identify certain data and order it in meaningful ways. In other words, it needs to be sophisticated enough to be of use to the business but also provide enough anonymity that users are confident of giving their own responses.

Our audience response system is currently being used by many businesses, educational and governmental organisations as well as market research departments across the world. It can be embedded in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and allows respondents to give their opinions on their own smart devices such as mobile phones or tablets as well as traditional keypads. All you need is a presentation with the right questions, an attentive audience and you’re good to go.

There are plenty of areas where an effective audience response system can be of use:

  • In the Workplace: assessing staff well-being and happiness in the workplace or highlighting concerns when major changes are being implemented.
  • In Education: At conferences and after study days to provide valuable feedback on the content and usefulness of a particular course or presentation.
  • Market Research: To evaluate people’s perceptions of various initiatives including political opinions and new product launches.

One major area that audience response systems are making a huge impact is human resources, bringing better employee engagement into easy reach of both large and small businesses. This area of management requires a number of measures to be implemented including having one to one talks with employees, assessing particular expectations and finding how the company structure and performance matches up.

Added to this, businesses also run focus groups where they are looking for the big picture rather than an individual’s isolated response. Software such as OMBEA’s audience response system is ideal for this kind of data collection and can provide valuable insights into where a company needs to be heading.

The audience can see the questions on a Powerpoint presentation and respond, when asked, on their smartphone or tablet. These results can then be shown instantly back on the screen so that everyone sees the results. This is great for engagement during a presentation where the audience quickly becomes confident that their answers are anonymous and they all begin working together to explore the issue at hand.

Even though responses are anonymous you can actually slice the data in various ways including getting information about what individual departments think. Questions can range from simple agree/disagree polls to Likert scales, and even open ended questions where respondents can type out a personal reply. And the information can be produced almost instantaneously in either number or graph form. According to distribution company Steljes:

“Showing the graph on the screen gave people the sense that it was a safe environment to discuss issues, both positive and negative. It meant that we could explore people’s views more fully and got so much more from every session than we would have otherwise.”

The key to a good system is that:

  • It needs to be flexible enough to ask a wide range of questions.
  • The analysis capabilities need to be robust whilst preserving anonymity.
  • It needs to be simple and clear to use.

Here at OMBEA we’ve combined all these qualities to make an audience response system that is highly fit for purpose and invaluable to any business that wants clear answers to important questions.

Image credit: Gilles Lambert.