Cover image for How do you survey your employees to know what skills to teach them?

How do you survey your employees to know what skills to teach them?

radumas profile image Raphael Dumas ・1 min read

We are a small (8 person) analytics team in a large government agency who frequently onboards student interns. Our datasets reside in an AWS PostgreSQL database and we have encouraged new employees to try doing analyses in PostgreSQL first before using scripting languages like Python or R. Invariably they run into some issues with PostgreSQL and would like one or more lessons on better practices using PostgreSQL. How should I survey them to prioritize what concepts to teach?

I've previously used Google Forms to conduct a post-mortem and the thing I found lacking was a multi-short-text input. Example being able to answer "What is your favourite animal?" with:

  • Cat
  • Cheetah

I'm picturing something that would allow multiple short answers and also allow voting on them, kind of like Facebook open-ended polls.

What else should I ask? Am I overthinking this?

Cover image cropped from Hey Christine on Flickr and is remixed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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radumas profile

Raphael Dumas


Project Lead for a city transportation department, mostly using Python and PostgreSQL. Interested in data analysis, data visualisation, GIS, and knowledge transfer/team productivity.


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Depending on just how many interns we're talking about, I wonder if taking notes in brief one-on-one interviews might be practical. You'd get better feedback from focused conversations than you're likely to see from form responses since it's such an open-ended field.


Two now who are about to go back to school and another replacing them. Total new-ish team members is 4-5 so interviews would be feasible.
Any thoughts on resources for asking questions?


"You/your colleagues mentioned you want/would have wanted more training with Postgres. Could you go into more detail on what you've struggled with, what concepts or aspects of working with Postgres you've found unintuitive, and where you think a slightly-more-formal crash course would have helped you?"

And then you let them talk, ask followup questions to get as much detail as you can, write it down, and see what patterns emerge.