When you ask your coworkers and employees to fill out an engagement survey, they do so on the faith that their answers will be used to improve the workplace. Because of the effort involved from the employees and the expectations raised by the engagement survey process, it can be more harmful to a company and its employees to run employee engagement surveys and do nothing with the results than not running them at all. This guide provides actionable advice for breaking down employe engagement survey results, figuring out what changes need to be made at a company, and implementing those changes.
1. Thank employees for completing the survey and explain next steps.
When will you go over the results? Who will see the results first? When will managers hear the results? No matter what the levels of engagement are according to the survey, employee engagement will drop precipitously if you don't show that you're prepared to put that survey data to use for some employee engagement strategies. Let your employees know that the people team (or leadership -- whoever is running the survey) will be soon meeting with them to make plans around the survey results.
- Create a project plan with clear follow through. With leaders’ and managers’ schedules in mind, make a plan that includes a timeline for when results will be shared.
- Send out email explaining next steps.
- Thanks so much for filling out the engagement survey. We’re looking forward to digging into the results and we are preparing to move forward to review the results on [date]. Afterwards, we’ll be reaching out to managers to discuss the results, and will then host group/department meetings around the results. If you’d like to set up some time to discuss the survey with People Ops, please reach out to us privately. Let us know if you have any questions at all.
2. Share the results.
One of the most important things to do after an employee survey is sharing the results. Doing so builds trusts with employees that you held the survey specifically for employee feedback and they did the hard work of filling it out for their well-being. The way you share the survey results will depend on what you discover.
- Analyze the results -- what do certain answers to certain survey questions say about the company culture? About its organizational culture? About employee satisfaction? About each department? Make an action plan on how and what results to share with each department.
- It's likely you had certain employee engagement survey questions to measure engagement levels at the company. Consider how you want to discuss employee engagement with your company. An engaged workforce means the organization has a healthy drive towards high performance, the ability to retain its top talent, strong work-life balance and job satisfaction across the board, and, ultimately, a bigger bottom line when it comes to company performance. Were there any answers that are red flags for engagement, especially how levels of engagement differ based on performance, gender, age, tenure, etc.? How do you want to approach leadership with analyses on the company's work environment?
- Set up meetings with leadership to share the results, the analyses, and talk about next steps. Solicit feedback on key learnings and takeaways. What kind of engagement initiatives can you suggest that will lead to higher levels of employee engagement? For example, research shows that peer recognition is a great way to engage employees.
- After you’ve figured out what departments should be informed on what survey results, set up meetings with each one's management team. If the results are cross-functional or company-wide, then it’s the responsibility of the human resources team to act as a business partner and facilitate the discussion between teams or across the company.
- Set up meetings between People Operations team members and departments.
- Depending on those results, conduct interviews with individual employees. If there are specific departments or teams you want to know more about, reach out to them to do interviews.
- If you are surprised by the results, it’s possible that you need to work on improving your company’s feedback culture. Creating a feedback culture takes time but there are easy ways you can promote positive recognition and private actional feedback using Lattice.
3. Run post-survey meetings.
The point of these meetings to use the results to identify and work on areas of improvements within the company and its teams, but these meetings should be structured as conversations so people can have free-flowing discussions that lead to solutions -- direct reports should be a big part of the decision making process. While a survey is communicated from the top-down, solutions should be bottom-up. The people team should facilitate the meeting in partnership with the manager or team lead. The conversation should be focused on asking follow up questions on certain answers, asking what employees think might be a better idea or plan, and just listening to the discussion.
- A framework for people teams on how to run post-survey meetings:
- First and foremost: Let the team come up with ideas. Because these meetings are based on their responses, it’s important they feel empowered to take the initiative.
- Start with imperative results -- print them out and hand them out, put them up on a whiteboard/TV/etc -- somewhere where everyone can see the list.
- After each result, ask the team for their thoughts.
- Then let manager/leadership add thoughts. It's important that they not share before the rest of team, as it might influence or bias the discussion.
- Discuss in depth, then ask team what actions they think would work moving forward.
- Run upward feedback review cycle for all managers, especially if you uncover an issue within a specific department/team
- Set up an upward review cycle for your managers. This will give employees a safe space to provide more detailed and contextual feedback on their managers. Worried employees may not be completely candid? You can configure the settings so that the feedback will be shared anonymously with their manager, transparently with their manager, or not shared with their manager at all.
4. Make public goals based on the engagement survey results.
One way to ensure that the company and departments follow up on the survey results is to set up public goals that are specifically created to deal with areas of improvement surfaced in the survey. This will provide a transparent process that will show the company is taking the survey results seriously, not just letting them collect dust.
- Work with department leads and the leadership team to set up an action plan informed by the post-survey meetings.
- Then take your action plan and set up goals using Lattice’s department and company goals feature. The people team should be a co-owner of goals from survey results.
- If managers and departments prefer to set their own goals, get them to gain approval from the people team first, making adjustments based your knowledge of company-wide goals, giving context for the changes you make.
- The people team can also create goals for each department based on post-survey meetings and company-wide context.
5. Close the loop.
Complete the survey process.
- Send out an email informing people of the end of the post-survey period, and explain what actions the company is taking to address different results.
- Present results and post-results actions during a company-wide meeting. Let departments or team members explain how and what they settled on for goals. Encourage questions so people can learn from others’ methodology.
6. Plan check-ins.
Keep track of goals and consider how the discussions have changed or adjusted the organizational structure of the company. Depending on the issue, these check-ins might last week, months or maybe more, but it’s important that the people team stays on top of these issues and maintains transparent communication across the company.
- Make sure every goal is updated and progressing on an appropriate timeline.
- Depending on the issue, encourage managers and employees to include discussion on post-survey progress during 1:1s.
- Meet regularly with managers and employees to learn how these goals are advancing.
- When you close out a goal, make sure the company knows! It’s time to celebrate this cultural win across the company.
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