Polis: the most effective staff survey tool

Born out of experience, we understand that solutions to any organisation’s problems lie within that organisation. But these solutions need locating. Management usually has a grasp of most of the problems in an organisation, and therefore should in theory be able to solve most of the identifiable problems. But in our experience, management are often blind to the totality of the problems facing their organisation.

Management therefore does not know all the issues facing their organisation, nor is management aware of all the answers. Everyone in an organisation will benefit if this conundrum is solved. Just imagine what such an organisation could achieve if all the problems are addressed and then solved. Polis is the answer.

Colleagues speaking truth to power – or just even being 100% candid and open with each other and with management – is not what happens in most organisations. Of course, some organisations are more hierarchical than others: the more hierarchical, the less willing junior colleagues are to speak up. And some organisations simply don’t value honesty and transparency, with instructions issued for all colleagues to rigorously comply with. Polis is the solution.

How Polis can help your organisation

At the Crowd Wisdom Project, it is our belief – because it is our experience – that the best technology, coupled with brilliant human minds, can identify the issues in any organisation and then solve those same problems. This process can be performed quickly.

By using potent, intelligent and user-friendly technology – Polis – any open organisation, which wants to improve, can unearth what is going wrong and then identify solutions. Polis has the power to survey people – even hundreds of thousands of people – in their own words. Polis is not a static survey tool, which can be manipulated by those who set it up. Polis is the opposite of Survey Monkey!

We did not create Polis technology. Polis was created by brilliant and altruistic people in Seattle, who gifted their work to the world for free. Polis has been used all around the world – by Governments, cities, towns, businesses and politicians – for a number of years, uncovering ideas and building consensus.

What is Polis?

Very simply, Polis is a living, breathing online conversational tool, moderated by humans. Polis seeks consensus. Once a Polis conversation is framed, voters then answer statements, with either agree, disagree or pass. Once a voter had finished voting, they can then create as many statements as they like for others to vote upon. Voters can then return to the Polis link as many times as they like to vote on fresh statements. The way we deploy Polis, voting and statement-making is anonymous. Privacy is guaranteed.

Before new statements appear to be voted upon, they are moderated by humans – us. Machine-learning is used to build consensus. Each voter receives the statements in a different and semi-random order. Voters’ preferences on each statement can be viewed visually on a map, with Polis finding groups within the voters. The grouping of voters will be sure to blow the minds of management. The Polis data reports are granular in their depth.

If a colleague writes something nasty, will others see it?

No. All statements first come to us at the Crowd Wisdom Project for moderation. We reject all of the following statements:

  • Statements which attack an individual
  • Statements which identify the author
  • Statements which are defamatory or illegal
  • Statements which are wildly off-topic

Usually, we do not fact-check statements, nor do we change spelling or punctuation. Sometimes, we will need to work with management regarding specific statements, but this rarely is required.

How do you set up a Polis for my organisation?

First, we work with an organisation to frame a topic of discussion. Next, we then populate the Polis survey with statements designed to evolve a conversation within the organisation. Then, we release the survey to those who are to be surveyed, including management. As Polis is super-simple to use, few participants have questions.

Polis appears as a link to be shared by email, text, Whatsapp etc, and/or can be added to any number of websites. More information can be found here.

What happens when a Polis conversation goes live?

Once the Polis conversation is circulated, voters tend to vote very quickly. Once voters have finished voting, they then can add as many statements as they like, for their colleagues to vote upon. In our experience, colleagues find this process engaging, thought-provoking and fun.

Often, colleagues start in-person conversations with their co-workers about the statements and their individual voting patterns. Usage of Polis in an organisation creates a buzz. People feel valued and treated equally. Their voices heard, loud and clear and anonymously.

Are the votes and statements anonymous?

Yes, we use Polis anonymously, so that voting and statement-making is purely anonymous. Through anonymity, we have found Polis to be particularly powerful. Therefore, if a colleague writes something unpleasant about someone else, then they cannot be identified.

The organisation itself, or teams within the organisation, can be praised or criticised, without anyone knowing who voted for what. Anonymity is crucial to the success of a Polis conversation in a workplace environment, because anonymity produces the most honest appraisal of that organisation.

Free consultation

Our mission is to promote Polis throughout the world, in every business, charity, non-profit, faith group, town, city and country. We believe that Polis has the power to change the planet for the better, one Polis conversation at a time. Polis uncovers human potential.

Please get in touch to book your free consultation. Polis is free to environmental groups, half-price for community groups and full cost to businesses. For small Polis conversations, prices start at £400. We are proud to be a non-profit organisation.