Taking Action On Your Employee Engagement Survey

How To Take Action On Your Employee Engagement Survey

An employer-employee relationship is like any other – it thrives when both parties are committed to learning, growing, and improving through open and honest feedback. In a professional setting, this is achieved when employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and feelings, whether that’s in a mediated group setting, a 1:1 check-in with a manager, or through an anonymous survey.

Employee engagement surveys are now standard tools used by employers to help identify organizational strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. These surveys are often distributed annually but can also be sent out monthly or quarterly to get a quick “pulse” on the organization.

While the act of surveying employees has become standard, the follow-up is often not as consistent. It’s not enough to ask your employees for feedback. You need to have a clear plan with goals, benchmarks, and consistent communication to demonstrate you’re putting their words into action. In fact, without a follow-up plan, you risk doing more harm than good from an employee survey.

Here is how we recommend framing your follow-up plans to make the most of your survey.

Review Results Quickly and Thoroughly

So, your employees have completed your survey and you’re now ready to look at the results. What should you focus on? Whether partnering with an outside vendor or conducting it on your own, it’s most important for your internal team to objectively review the data to identify strengths you can build upon, as well as concerns or opportunities to improve.

When looking for strengths, ask yourself:

  • What feedback showcases our organization’s strengths?
  • How have these strengths helped our teams and company be successful?
  • Are there best practices we can share across the organization?

To determine opportunities for improvement, ask yourself:

  • What answers show our biggest pain points?
  • What barriers can we address that would help improve the employee experience?
  • Which topics can we tackle immediately, and which might be more long-term?

Once you have identified your key takeaways, it’s time to take action. Remember that when sharing the data, it’s critical to be honest and transparent – your employees know what they submitted so don’t sugarcoat the results.

Make Your Data Actionable

Employers invest a lot of time and money in their engagement surveys, but they often make a big mistake when they don’t prioritize their follow-up plan. To avoid this and ensure results are strategically cascaded to your entire organization, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Identify quick-win items you can address in the short term, as well as items that may need to be addressed after more conversations or research.
  2. After you’ve categorized the feedback, create an action plan to share with employees and leaders that outlines how you will address each area.
  3. Assign a timeline to each action, noting why some items will be addressed immediately and others may be longer-term solutions.
  4. Draft talking points for leaders to ensure they communicate the action plan consistently.
  5. Archive results to establish benchmarks for future surveys. It’s important to keep questions consistent year over year to compare results and demonstrate progress.

Establish Consistent Follow-Ups

The goal of engagement surveys is to address concerns and help improve scores year over year, which means this type of improvement planning is a process, not a quick fix. As an employer, it’s important to maintain open communication with employees to monitor progress, accomplishments, and milestones – and this starts with consistent follow-ups.

Here are some ideas to help move your organization’s improvement plan forward:

  • Post any specific actions in a central physical location or an online platform like your intranet or a dedicated website.
  • Provide managers with the necessary resources and talking points so they can regularly review updates within the action plan with their team members.
  • Include topics from your survey results as a standing agenda item on your company calls or town halls.
  • Establish a steering committee or leverage an Employee Advisory Group through which team members and executives assigned to tasks can regularly report on progress.
  • Continue to modify, add tasks, and update the action plan as it evolves.

Employee engagement surveys can be useful tools that lead to genuine improvement and enhanced employee satisfaction. Just remember to make what happens after the survey a top priority from the start.

At IRI, we’ve helped clients across industries make the most of their employee engagement surveys. We believe every business is different, and each requires its own holistic and customized approach to communications. Whether you need an internal communications assessment, guidance in developing your internal communications strategy or social media strategy, digital media intelligence, crisis communications services, media relations, or media training, we have expert communications consultants who can provide a specialized solution. Contact us today to discuss the next steps, give us a call at (313) 965-0350.