Employee surveys have become a popular way for employers to demonstrate their interest in their employees’ concerns. But if no action is taken as a result of what you learn from them, your survey efforts will have little benefit and could even have negative consequences. So how can your organization leverage employee survey feedback to drive engagement and loyalty?
Congratulations! You’ve done an employee survey and got your results back. Now, what do you do?
One thing you shouldn’t do is jump straight in and start making changes.
The first thing you should do is sit down and study your results. Put just as much time into understanding your results as you did into creating the survey, advises Zach D’Amato, culture coach and list manager at Great Place to Work. Share them with your executives and look for areas of inconsistency.
For example, a healthcare company’s employees claimed they didn’t feel heard on the survey. HR’s initial reaction was to invite more employees to decision committees. But as HR dug deeper to find out what employees needed to be invited to, they found out the issue was totally different. To the employees, “not feeling heard” meant they missed their CEO! You see, he used to do rounds in the health centers, but had gotten busy over the last few months and had stopped swinging by with coffee and donuts. They felt the company was listening just fine . . . they really just wanted him to start swinging by for coffee again.
So, once you have a clear picture of what the results are telling you, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Share with employees, managers
Show employees that not only are you listening to them, but you’re a good listener. That means don’t just tell them about the positive feedback from the survey. Share negative and constructive feedback, too. It shows them you’ve truly heard them and you’re taking to heart what they said, according to INTOO, a career development and workforce transition flagship for Gi Group.
You can share the results through newsletters, small group meetings and companywide meetings. Just make sure you do it within 30 days of getting the surveys back. If you don’t, employees might think you forgot it or – even worse – you don’t care.
Keep employees informed at every step. And thank employees for their participation and honesty. That will help the company get better and stronger.
Meet with the powers that be and decide which changes will have the most significant impact. Sometimes one change can affect several other issues. For example, if one issue found was employees feel they don’t have opportunities to grow professionally within the company, starting a career development program would help solve that problem. And it’ll impact your turnover rate because now employees have opportunities to grow. But INTOO points out it would also diversify employees’ skills and improve the company’s agility when it comes to adapting to change within. In addition, it would help grow new leaders from within the organization. Once the issues are pinpointed, decide who will enact these changes and the budget required to do it.
Remember, these responses require a long-term commitment. If you can’t commit to a three-year corporate launch, then try a pilot program – but be clear with everyone that it’s an experiment so you don’t break promises accidentally.
Create strategic goals and action items based on the survey. Use the action items as goals on managers’ performance reviews. Then once the changes are up and running, do another employee survey to measure their effectiveness. This will let you know if you are on target for meeting employees’ needs or if you have to make tweaks to the changes.
Finally, be public – and celebratory – about the progress being made so employees know you’re listening to them and taking their suggestions to heart.