The 3 responses to employee survey results

Merel Wijnands

After months of preparation and a successful execution, the results of your employee survey are in. The impact of the employee survey answers insights gained heavily depends on the reaction to the results: Will they be used to tick the box? As presentation material? Or to take action?

The 3 responses to employee survey results

Employee surveys enable employees to be heard. As a tool, it creates a dialogue and enables employees to officially create wider impact, outside of their daily roles. For impact to happen however, employee surveys need to be well thought out, thoroughly communicated (why, how, deadlines etc.), executed and there needs to be action upon the results.

The key role of HR in employee surveys

What good surveys address

Employee surveys form part of a company-wide policy in which employees are actively involved in helping to change the organisation. Employee survey answers provides insights into various HR themes such as role clarity, efficiency, motivation, satisfaction, commitment and employee engagement.

The results of a survey should deliver a clear understanding of the successes within organisations.  Which departments are performing exceptionally well? Where in the organisation are managers and leaders adding value? Where and what are the best practices?

How to gather feedback from your employees

The step-by-step guide to creating your employee engagement survey.


Employee survey answers should also help you address the challenges. Where are the energy leaks? Is the workload too high in certain areas? Are certain managers underperforming? Is there a problem with the workplace atmosphere? In which areas are things not running smoothly?

The 3 responses to employee survey answers

Combined, the various insights mentioned above are valuable management information for the board of directors and HR, the line manager and employees themselves. Whilst this provides a good foundation for improvement, the insights are only valuable if they are acted upon.

5 steps to create impactful employee surveys

In our work with multinationals, we commonly encounter the following three reactions to survey results:

       1. Ticking the box

Reports are glanced over and then put straight into a rarely visited desk draw. Employee feedback is swept under the rug which subsequently damages employees’ commitment to future surveys.

       2. Presenting to top management

Results are presented to top management, and time is invested at the top of the organisational pyramid. Employees know something is being done with the results, but see little tangible impact.

       3. Sharing insights to create action

The feedback and insights are shared on all levels, and used as the basis to create meaningful action. Employees and managers are committed to improving the organisation, as well as to future surveys.

Why conduct an employee survey?

The importance of positive survey reactions

When conducting a survey, it’s important to think about the reaction to the results, and what the impact on employees could be. Will the planned actions with the results help you achieve your survey goals? And further, will they help sustain good will and enthusiasm for future surveys and HR initiatives?

Our advice to our partners is to always encourage and facilitate an action oriented reaction to employee survey answers. It is by far the best way to both maximise the survey impact, and to keep employees motivated for future surveys.