After carrying out an employee engagement survey, it is important to take the necessary steps to utilise the information received from your people. The results will go a long way in improving the business, demonstrating to employees how much you value their opinions. Fortunately, you certainly don’t need to be a data scientist to analyse them. Here are seven steps that you as a UK HR professional can take to put your people’s feedback into action.
1. Dig into the data.
Take the time to look at the cross-sections of data to get a detailed understanding of your people and the challenges that different demographics are coming up against. You can find valuable insights by looking at the overall company-wide results and then breaking these down into departments and demographics, such as age, ethnicity, job level, months since last title change, and salary band.
- Using visual ways of analysing the data can help you to focus on issues and opportunities, and can make powerful assets for your next leadership presentation. Feel free to experiment with less conventional charts, for example, you could import your results into data visualisation tools for even more insights. Looking at things in a different way can trigger you to notice something you may not have spotted in a static spreadsheet.
- Reading the comments is also a must. Quantitative data might tell one story, but there is no better way to gauge sentiment than reading what employees have to say. UK employees in particular can shy away from conversations around challenges and issues they’re facing, so it’s important to take the time to read their comments to spot any subtle frustrations they may have.
When it comes to analysing the data, you must also be hyper-aware of any concerns around organisational culture. Firstly, the number of responses you receive is in itself an indication of how engaged your employees are — some of them may have concerns, but in a UK organisation especially, if they are willing to voice any challenges they are facing and have a conversation about it, that means they want to work with the company to do better.
You can use the survey results to tackle this issue through a number of ways. The results will give you the information you need to identify issues specific to teams, departments, or management groups. Digging into the data will enable you to pull out useful insights, and if you’ve asked the right questions, for example around employee satisfaction, alignment, and career progression, you should have everything you need to measure any discontent across the business.
This puts you in a good position ahead of later steps such as prioritising problems and brainstorming solutions, and will help you connect employees to the company’s mission and propel growth for both the business and your people.
2. Take the results to management.
We all know that communication is a critical skill in HR, and that is especially true when it comes to sharing something as sensitive as employee survey results and comments. When discussing the results with management, you should start the conversation by reminding them about why the survey was conducted.
After you have set the discussion up, you should head into the bulk of your presentation: the results. Run through the themes of your latest survey and call out factors such as whether results varied significantly by department, how results compared to previous surveys, and measurements against industry benchmarks if you have them. UK employers prefer fact-based statements so you should use the findings to paint a clear picture of how employees are feeling.
If appropriate, you should also include employee comments that help add colour to the findings and give your audience greater context. Their qualitative nature grounds the results in reality, and provides management with an indication of the actionable steps you can take to address any challenges.
3. Prioritise problems.
As a next step, you should assure employees that you are working through the problems and solutions to keep their confidence up, and so they know you are taking the survey seriously. UK workplaces need to work intentionally to gain employee trust, so communication is key.
This will also give you a chance to manage any disconnect between employees’ and management’s perception of challenges across the business. If you don’t take the time to prioritise problems and carefully think about solutions before sharing the results with your people, you won’t get that clarity and may end up making any problem-solving more complicated in the long run.
It’s important to remember not to bite off more than you can chew. First, determine which opportunities need to be prioritised by identifying your standout weaknesses and strengths. You should then pick three to five weaknesses to focus on, and propose potential solutions for each.
4. Brainstorm solutions.
Often it can be helpful to make the brainstorm a collaboration between leadership and managers as they, in many cases, will be responsible for the success or failure of the resulting action plan. The main reason for conducting the survey is because it gives you as the HR professional and the business leaders an opportunity to look inward at the organisation and understand how their employees are feeling.
Using these solutions as a starting point, you’ll need to formalise goals so owners have something to work from. Setting goals will also give employees, who want to see their feedback result in change, something to track progress with. Again, UK staff work better when provided with fact-based statements so make sure they are not vague goals, but instead tangible objectives that leadership and employees can work towards.
5. Share with employees.
Express your gratitude to employees for completing the survey, and let them know you have identified areas of concern. This will show that you have truly paid attention to their feedback and are actively thinking about solutions to the problems that have been brought up. Then you should outline your basic plans and next steps to reassure employees that your engagement survey will make a difference.
Next, open the floor to comments — this is the time to step back and see what your employees have to say because they may be able to give you critical insights that can better your plans. UK employees can often find these conversations difficult to have, so make sure you are giving them the space to give you feedback in a way that is comfortable for them. This is also a gut check to see if the areas that you have identified as problematic resonate with employees.
6. Manage post-survey engagement.
Your post-survey employee engagement strategy is like any other strategy you craft for your business – you have to create a plan, begin to implement it, and adjust it as time goes on. If you have to make a large change across the business then it would be best to focus on one specific area of improvement at a time, for example, anything that is going to significantly change the workflow, tools, or structure. If you are making smaller changes, you can implement a few at a time but keep in mind that we are creatures of habit and your employees will need some time to form new ways of operating, even at work.
Give your people key dates for when they can expect to see changes rolled out, as this will continue to strengthen the trust between you and your employees, which can often be more difficult to develop in a UK workplace. Even if they can’t be implemented straight away, it is important to keep lines of communication open because it shows you are willing to be held accountable. It will also force team members to prepare themselves for any habits that might be disrupted.
Continue to seek their feedback through post-survey meetings so they can share new or continuing concerns. You should also let them take the lead with generating ideas as a way of empowering them and involving them in the process.
7. Track progress.
Sticking to goals and measuring them is just as important as setting them. Once changes have been implemented, you and the goal owners will need to track their progress to make sure leaders, managers, and employees are kept updated.
One way to do this is through pulse surveys. You shouldn’t wait until your next big survey to determine whether an action plan is working, and instead you should administer short, 1-5 question surveys as often as needed – this can be monthly, biweekly, or even weekly. They will give you and the leadership team a real-time understanding of how changes are being accepted across the organisation.
Check in with managers by setting up recurring one-on-one meetings to get a sense of how things are going across their teams. Use this time to see how managers are getting on with their post-survey goals, and as an opportunity to walk them through pulse survey feedback or any additional comments that have come through from employees.
Company town hall meetings can serve as a good way to connect with employees on less sensitive issues. They can also be a good way for you to share positive news such as how the company has progressed since conducting the survey. Employees will appreciate your updates and honesty, and they provide an opportunity to continue an open conversation to develop your employees’ confidence in you and the business.
You can download Lattice’s eBook, The Complete Guide to UK Employee Engagement, to learn more about the best way to carry out a full engagement survey from start to finish. By building and launching engagement surveys, gathering and giving feedback and recognition, and setting up one-to-ones and status updates, you will receive a much fuller picture of how your company is doing and how to make it even better for your employees.