Employee Assessments

Good leaders know when to hire someone smarter than them

Melissa French
7 min read

SurveyGizmo Programming Services 2017

You start with the best of intentions. You just got this great new software to help you collect the data you need. And while it may or may not be SurveyGizmo, it’s very exciting to have so much power and flexibility at your fingertips. When you get down to it, the possibilities are truly endless with what you can do with features and functions and distribution.

But let’s be real: take a peek at that flooded calendar right now. Do you have the appropriate amount of time and background knowledge to build an effective project? Likely not. Employees in the UK, for example, reported nearly 800 hours a year (60 hours per month) are lost due to distraction that could have been used for productive work. Factors include chatty colleagues, phone notifications, email, and social media.  

Think about it, in our hectic workdays and throughout the week, we often wake up and grab our phones to check the time, email, daily meeting schedules, to-do lists, and the weather. And we do this before we brush our teeth, take a shower, or take the dog for a walk.

Put simply, we are a distracted workforce

Learning new software and trying something outside of our job scope is more of an idealistic perspective; when push comes to shove, if what is being asked of you by a superior, colleague or even yourself, you get your work was done and combat distraction along the way. That often times does not include learning a tool that takes time and practice to really know its guts — no matter how powerful it may be — you just don’t have the time.

Yet, when we seek out for a new tool to make our jobs easier, it requires time and buy-in, two factors that are not easy to negotiate with. Many meetings and spreadsheets later, you have convinced your boss to buy the tool. This is a lot of energy and time to have been expended if, in reality, you’re too busy to configure projects powerfully enough to get the data you are seeking.  

Make it your own

An example of when hiring a pro can work, here’s a solution story we’d like to share. One of our near and dear clients, Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance in Protection (PHAP) came to us for help with launching a new diagnostic program. What they needed — to automatically send a results summary to the test taker that shared areas of improvement, what they did well in and the like — was beyond their expertise.

When the project was brought to our programming division, they saw right away it was a matter of massive customization and additional programming. With the scope of their project, having this automation was essential for the user experience.  


The pro team designed and built a robust diagnostic score report that is personalized to the test taker and their responses. The report includes information for the taker to read through to understand the areas they need to improve on to become certified in a particular area, and why the certification is necessary to achieve. What we really love about this project is that it’s an engaging way test takers can interact with PHAP and an entirely personalized improvement report that helps the taker to learn of what to do next.

This is just one of many use cases for tapping into the pro team. Not only did they get this project completed quickly, but they created a benchmark for each test taker to work toward and compare themselves to as they progress.

It was a great challenge to be able to take information and turn it into something visual, said Holly White, programming services specialist. “This type of project is my favorite type because it provides an entirely different perspective of the insights provided.”

That’s why many people choose the high road and hire an expert to step in

I like to think of it like this: I bought my car because it offered a lot of power, convenience, and safety to move around. Do I know how to fix my car when it breaks? Aside from basic maintenance, I’m clueless. I bring my car to experts who are hyper focused on this profession to fix my car. And I trust they will do an excellent job.

While with the car example we are talking about is mostly a safety factor, a lot is also at stake when you convince your superiors to give you budget for a new tool, and you return back with narrow results because you don’t know the nuances. The tool then seems less attractive on the budget sheet, and your credibility weakens. The next project you had in mind may not get the buy-in it needs, or it will be more challenging to do so. We don’t need to know how to fix a car transmission to get the most out of our car — a factor that doesn’t stop us from purchasing it — we just need to know someone who does.

This is not to say you’re not capable. Rather, the opposite. It’s been said leaders hire people who are smarter than them; successful leaders have practiced this time and again. “Hiring people who are smarter than you means that the work can be confidently delegated over time,” says David Hassel, CEO, and founder of 15Five, a San Francisco-based employee feedback system. “Then focus on the important stuff — growing your business and hiring more A players.”

Ease your workload, get results

From complex scripting and programming to CSS, themes, and complex builds, hiring a pro can mean these elements are easily navigated through so you get the best out of the tool, and have the most accurate and robust data possible — which makes you look great next time you see the boss who signed-off on the tool.

A D.C.-based business management advisory firm, McKinley Advisors, has unique needs for data collection. And understandably, with clients that have multi-million dollar budgets. McKinley tapped into hiring a pro to set up a complex project and instantly found a partner in problem-solving and they couldn’t be happier with the decisions to spend a bit more and get a lot more actionable data in return.

Adding experts to your team isn’t as hard as you think

They’re only an email or phone call away. Consider getting time with a pro in the programming services division. They’re eager to work with you to get the most out of the tool and have you be 110 percent more satisfied with the data and analysis.

We aren’t in the business of bragging, but our programmers are kind of a big deal

The possibilities are literally endless with their knowledge, as they live and breathe in the tool 40+ hours a week. In fact, we have yet to find a problem a client is looking to solve that they could find a solution for. Not only do you get the skills of an expert for half the cost of hiring an in-house programmer, but they help you understand the reason why certain elements are set up in a specific way versus another — spreading the knowledge to you and your organization as well. We strive to make your experience with our tool as dynamic and engaging as possible. Programming services do just that, and more. 

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