There’s a lot of excellent data that can be gained from an employee engagement survey. You can get a true sense of an employee’s satisfaction with their work, gain insight into staff attitudes toward change, and get a better read on what it’s like to work for your company.

We’ve found that many employers don’t take the fullest advantage of their surveys to discover how to engage employees. The way it often happens is that management becomes aware of a particular problem and wants to get more data about it. They initiate an employee engagement survey and look at the results searching for data that supports their beliefs about the initial problem, confirming their desired course of action.

One of the problems with this approach is that it minimizes involvement from the most important stakeholders involved: the employees. In essence, you may have inadvertently suggested that the feedback you sought wasn’t really that valuable to you.

Instead, we suggest a different approach that places greater emphasis on the feedback from your employee survey that also engages your employees more fully in the process.

Make a Case for the Survey

Before you send out the questionnaires, communicate the reasons for initiating the survey in the first place. Employees should understand why the company feels there’s a compelling need for the survey.

Provide detailed steps and timelines associated with the entire data gathering and feedback process. Place greater emphasis on the roles that employees have that will help to make the survey a success and describe how they can be involved in the various steps of the process.

Seek Validation of the Results

Sometimes, the data from a survey can be interpreted in a number of ways. By sharing your findings with employees and allowing for feedback, you’ll get validation that your results are an accurate reflection of the truth.

In this part of the process, it’s important to be as honest and transparent as possible. Even if some of the survey results aren’t very positive or flattering, glossing over them or omitting them in your findings will only serve to undermine the trust employees have in the process and the company’s good faith.

During this part of the process, the temptation to offer solutions to any of the issues raised in the results should be avoided. Instead, this should be just about the disclosure of the findings.

Action Planning

Your employee engagement survey has yielded some data. You’ve analyzed it and interpreted it. Your employees have validated it. Now, you need to figure out what you’re going to do about your findings. How to engage employees is dependent on you acting on your results.

Choose a manageable number of things to improve. We see the best success happen when employers choose 1-3 things to change as a result of the survey. While it can be tempting to select the organizations biggest weaknesses, instead, focus on your key drivers of engagement. Because key drivers indicate what will influence engagement, those are the areas that offer the greatest guidance for improvement.

Tell Employees What Action Will Be Taken

After viable solutions and plans have emerged from action planning sessions, management must now inform staff members of the actions that will be taken and what impact they expect them to have. It’s important to be clear about who will be responsible for implementing these plans and when it will happen. It’s also a good idea to measure your progress several months after you begin making changes, to measure progress against goals.

If you’d like more information about what an employee engagement survey can do for your company, download our free guide today.


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