Part two: How should you respond to the results of your employee engagement survey?

In our previous article, we outlined best practices to follow when analysing the results of employee engagement surveys. This article serves as a companion piece to the previous text and suggests ways to take action that are informed by the feedback and suggestions delivered by research into employee engagement.

Make your action plan a collective effort

Just one in five HR and engagement leaders agreed that their employees deeply trust their company leaders, and only 22 per cent say their organisation is effective at fostering a culture that supports clear feedback. Many managers forget that each person has unique engagement needs and should be consulted when developing strategies for tackling complex issues in the workplace.

The ultimate goal of your action plan should be to empower employees to take ownership in responding to feedback and their own engagement. Managers that fail to involve their employees and fellow leaders when establishing an action plan experience lower engagement rates overall. Provide a safe space where employees feel comfortable contributing to the conversation. Inspire managers to get to know their employees on a personal level and motivate them to recognise those who are speaking up. By encouraging employee participation when developing a collaborative action plan, managers create a culture of feedback based on trust.

Managers should set aside time to speak with their team members to get their input on overall results and their thoughts on how to address them. The best way to do this is for each team manager to host a listening session with their team. At this session, they should walk through the results, highlighting any key pain points and successes, before engaging all team members in a discussion on how to best take action on the results. Ultimately, managers need to create an environment in which employees feel empowered to be a part of the solution and hold their managers accountable.

Ensure you communicate your employee engagement survey results

The way you communicate employee engagement survey results depends on your audience. For a company-wide survey, you should share relevant information with all employees before proceeding with individual team meetings. The CEO could hold a company-wide meeting to cover the top areas of focus and discuss how the company will act on the survey results, and then executives and managers can meet with their teams separately to take a deeper dive and create collaborative action plans. By revealing results to everyone, you can emphasise broader opportunities to make the company an even better place to work.

For a smaller-scale survey, it’s a good idea to share results with only those employees and teams who participated. In either case, don’t wait too long before sharing results with the team, as every day you wait is another day the feedback becomes less relevant. And to maintain the anonymity of respondents, always reference averaged results.

Take the engagement pulse regularly

Annual employee engagement surveys aren’t enough. Most people cite “survey fatigue” as a reason for limiting their surveys to once a year, but employees are actually exhausted from giving feedback and seeing little to no action in response. By the time leadership visibly takes action on an annual survey, it’s almost time for the next annual survey, and the previous year’s feedback is likely to be irrelevant.

The good news is that organisations are starting to pay attention. According to Gartner, 89 per cent of organisations used annual surveys earlier in the decade, but just 30 per cent were using other employee monitoring events. These numbers drastically changed over the next few years. Now, only 63 per cent of organisations publish an annual survey, and 80 per cent use other employee monitoring data.

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By involving as many of your employees as possible in the development of your action plan, communicating the findings of your research in the most appropriate manner and seeking feedback on a frequent basis, you’ll be able to harness the organisational benefits of a continual feedback loop. Once employees feel included in the feedback process and can see their suggestions being realised, they’ll be more willing to participate in future surveys and your company will start to embed a virtuous feedback circle.

Click here to find out more about Achievers’ employee engagement platform.