by Nancy Owen, PHR
If you want the survey to have been worth the time and money you invested in it, you need to do something with the results. Something that will raise morale and employee engagement. After all, wasn’t that the purpose to begin with? Getting your employees actively involved after the survey is key to its success. They really want to participate in making positive changes for their organization and they want to know that the survey was not conducted in vain. Communicating the survey results to your employees and having them participate in action plans for change can make all the difference in success.
By no means are we suggesting that you distribute the completed surveys to everyone in your organization; however giving overall summaries, or giving information on how the company did compared to others in the industry, may work well. Companies would be much better off not giving a survey at all if they do not plan to act on the information received — or if they did not plan to make positive changes. Develop an action plan to improve employee satisfaction and to let your employees know that you care about their feedback.
What has not worked in the past is having leaders try to decipher exactly what employees meant when they checked the boxes and commented on the questions. Instead, allowing the employees to participate in analyzing the information and to offer their suggested processes for change has yielded effective results.
One suggestion is to create action teams made up of your lowest level employees. Assign a team lead or strongly disciplined employee as the captain. Choose a few questions on the survey that are related to each other. Supply the team the comments only, omitting any that may divulge an identity.
Schedule the teams to meet regularly to discuss and to break down the information. It is important not to have too much time pass in between meetings so the momentum will stay alive. To that end, you should also assign an alternate captain in case the first captain is absent. Keep them motivated by supplying a comfortable area for the action teams to meet. Consider providing refreshments as well.
Each team should present their findings and have suggestions for resolutions to a team of senior leaders. The role of leadership will be to hear the employee’s findings and ideas for resolution and to approve or deny the requests for improvement. They should be prepared to act immediately on some of the easier items and have an action plan for the items that may have budgetary or approval restraints. This will show employees that the survey and action teams were taken very seriously. The leaders should also communicate next steps for the items not brought to closure.
Research suggests that people will not share information, positive or negative, in a survey or post survey, if they think the information they give will be held against them. Companies who truly care about their employees, and show it, have employees who want to work hard for them. Whether the results of your survey are good or bad, what you do with that information is critical to your employees’ morale and the success of your organization.
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