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Why should we include open-ended items in our survey?

Comments provide unique insights into employees’ opinions. Numeric ratings are a basis for understanding overall and group-level employee perceptions, but comments build on those numbers by adding more specific context. 

The START/CONTINUE/STOP open-ended item offers ideas for specific, organization-wide initiatives, giving a better sense of what employees want (via START), what they currently like (via CONTINUE), and what they don’t like or think could be changed (via STOP). Likewise, the “categories” open-ended item showcases employee perceptions across a wide range of high-level themes that are part of any organization (such as communication, team dynamics, and manager effectiveness). These themed comments can be combined with numeric results to paint a much more representative picture of how employees feel about specific themes, which can better equip organizations to adequately address employees’ needs.