Employee Surveys
3 min read

5 ways to respond quickly to employee survey results

Barbra Gago

Barbra Gago

Chief Marketing Officer, RealtimeBoard

One of our customers recently said, “The worst thing we could do is conduct a survey and then do nothing.” A big challenge that organizations face when conducting employee surveys is responding to them. It's important to effectively communicate your process for taking action and driving change.

However, a common mistake organizations make is trying to do too much. They get results, identify ten areas for improvement, and then spend months fleshing out a strategy for how they are going to implement change.

All the while, employees are wondering, “What happened with that survey we took?” With no awareness or visibility into the process, employees often assume nothing is being done.

Instead of spending a year strategizing on how you’re going to respond learn from the success of Agile HR teams and take small, iterative actions. These actions will result in incremental change, so employees can see results faster. Then, you can then gather more feedback and make more improvements over time. In the spirit of tacking iterative action, here are five ways to respond quickly to employee survey results.

1. Be transparent

Engagement issues often stem from a lack of communication. Either employees don’t feel they are being heard or recognized, or there simply isn’t enough alignment within the organization as a whole when it comes to vision and values. Take your engagement survey as an opportunity to be transparent. Proactively share the results at your next all-hands meeting, and be honest about where there are areas for improvement. Share thoughts on how you’re going to make changes. Employees want to see that the leadership team is aware and on-board to make change happen–that you're all in it together.

Learn why communication matters: Read our article on how open and honest communication impact employee engagement

2. Dig deeper on survey results

Following up on engagement surveys doesn't have to be a massive undertaking. Once you’ve reviewed the initial results, if you need to dig a little deeper, do so. Maybe the responses to certain questions were not what you expected, maybe you need to rephrase them. If you notice something odd with one group in particular, why not send them a follow up survey? It doesn’t have to be long, even asking 2-3 additional questions could do the trick. Another way to dig deeper might be to set up one-on-one interviews with groups that scored extra high or extra low on engagement and get additional qualitative feedback on why that might be.

See our guide: Best practices for using employee engagement pulse surveys for more information on how to use pulse and deep dive surveys. 

3. Review results with managers

One-on-one meetings to review survey results with team managers can be a great opportunity to understand how each manager is doing with their group. Sometimes engagement is linked to an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor, and we've found a link between leadership and employee retention in our data. Working with individual managers can incrementally improve their performance as well as address any immediate engagement issues.

4. Host small group discussions

Oftentimes, after conducting a survey, you find there are geographic regions, departments, or certain demographic groups that have the same type of feedback and the reason may still be unknown. In that situation, set up small group meetings where you can review the results with the group and host an open dialogue. Try to uncover why these groups may be having a different experience than others. Sometimes it's something that can be easily remedied, but you may never really know without opening it up for discussion.

5. Organize an engagement task force

A good way to quickly show employees you're invested in taking action is to request their help. Depending on business objectives and survey results, determine what engagement issues need resolution and hold an open call for volunteers to join a task force. This will help you two fold - you’ll be working towards a resolution, and you’ll be engaging employees that are passionate about certain issues, and empowering them to be the change they want to see.

Read more: In our case study with Optoro, Emily Holland White, Senior Director of Talent and Culture shares why they implemented an engagement task force and how the group helps them tack action on survey results.