What should you do with the results of an employee survey?

Merel Wijnands

Where do you start with the results of a survey? It’s a question facing many organisations planning their own employee surveys. Merel Wijnands, Project Coordinator, lays out a few of the possibilities.

We know from experience that often, attitudes towards the survey results are perhaps too harsh. For example, there can be fear that the survey itself will stir up trouble, which is an additional issue that has to be dealt with, etc… This can colour perceptions of even conducting the survey. What a shame!

Three levels of information

If there is already a good amount of strife among your employees, then you know it’s best to avoid aggravating the situation further. In practice, it’s not always that easy. From every survey, you’ll get three levels of information to help you choose the best course of action:

  • For management and the board of directors, the results are an important research tool to find out what’s happening in the organisation at large. The essentials rise the surface, providing insight into things like whether employees have good grasp on the company’s direction, or if they’re proud of their employer.
  • In addition, HR will get a clear picture of key themes in their territory, like the successes of their training efforts or how employees view their own career development.
  • Finally, and most importantly, teams (and by extension, employees themselves) can act on results specific to their individual team or department, which is why reporting the findings to every level of the organisation is vital.

Projects and quick wins

On the one hand, you have long-term projects (improvements that require more time to be resolved) and on the other hand are quick wins: situations where, as an organisation, you can implement changes almost immediately. With quick wins, you already get a return on your investment in the employee survey, as it’s tremendously important for any successful organisation to identify and tackle their energy leaks.

Scores per team

When you put the results into practice, it’s definitely valuable to look at the exact scores that came out of the research. Here’s an illustrative example: suppose your organisation averaged a 7.0 on employee engagement. Then a goal for the next survey might be to up that score to a 7.2. That’s the traditional idea: bring the entire organisation up to the next level. But in reality, that’s just not necessary, since there are often significant differences in results per team. You could have teams that already score well on engagement, so they can share that result, celebrate together, then move forward with any action they might need. Teams that score below average can also share their numbers and target problem areas with self-directed changes. Finally, there are other teams where every score falls well below the average. These are sites of potential energy leaks that can negatively affect the rest of the organisation and require your full attention, from management on down. If you can get the lowest scoring employees up to a normal level of engagement, it will buoy engagement across the board. With minimal but focused efforts, the entire organisation can jump from a 7.0 to a 7.2.

With the results from an employee survey, you can take focused, small-scale action without changing the direction of the whole organisation. It generates major improvements from simple solutions.

Action Planning: a free workbook

Could you use some help turning your research into action? Click here to watch the video about Action Planning. The video will guide you, along with your employees, through four simple steps for implementing your results.

We can also help you start the conversation through our energetic and constructive workshops. Our vision is helping you join with your employees to find creative solutions that benefit both individual teams and the organisation as a whole. Effectory has experienced trainers who bring their expertise and enthusiasm to bear on making your organisation better. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact us on +31 20 30 50 104 and we would be happy to help.