10 Tips For Employee Engagement Post-Survey Communication

By Bradley Wilson - August 28, 2019

In many previous articles, we have focused on the important elements involved in designing surveys and survey strategy, with the ultimate goal of increasing employee engagement and productivity. But effective employee surveys are about more than data collection, analysis and research.

A critical (and too often overlooked) element is employee engagement post-survey communication. Sharing employee engagement survey results is a critical part of the feedback loop for any successful survey program—it communicates to employees that leaders are listening (Tweet this!) and value employee opinions. The alternative—failure to communicate after the survey—can send an unintended message: “We asked for your input but we don’t really care; we don’t value your opinion or your time; we didn’t hear anything you said.” Few things are more disengaging for employees than the perception that their ideas and opinions are being ignored.

In this article, we’ll look at how to present employee engagement survey results, with 10 tips for post-survey communication that help build engagement.

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10 Tips For Employee Engagement Post-Survey Communication

  1. Time matters. Silence following an employee survey sends a loud message and it isn’t the message you want. Timely follow up—acknowledging responses and thanking people for participation—shows leaders care and sets an expectation that they’ll use the feedback to take action on things that matter to employees.

  2. Provide themes for scaled and qualitative data. You can compile information about the overall themes and trends arising from survey results fairly quickly, even before a full analysis is complete. Sharing comment themes and an overview of the most and least favorable questions or dimensions shows leadership is paying attention and willing to be transparent.

  3. Help people connect the dots. On their own, respondents often do not see the connection between their feedback and improvements that are made after the survey’s close. Remind them of the survey feedback when making improvements. Without this important step, the perception may be that nothing happened after the survey.

  4. Balance the messaging about strengths and opportunities. Avoid the temptation to only focus on things to “fix.” This is also a time to acknowledge and celebrate wins. The least desirable outcome is for the organization to feel bruised based on the results. Highlighting positives helps dispel the potential perception that employees are being punished with more work for providing honest feedback.

  5. Use benchmarks (comparisons to external, industry, or overall company scores), but use them sparingly. These can be helpful to put results in context. However, avoid creating the perception that leaders only care about score comparisons. Instead, focus on employees’ experiences and what they are telling you.

  6. Focus on the employee experience. This is a chance to make it real for employees. When action planning and setting goals, it’s ok to track outcomes like engagement—but help employees understand what’s in it for them and how they can influence the things that matter most to them, like development, empowerment, resources, and work/life balance.

  7. Don’t attempt to “boil the ocean.” Too often leaders identify five, 10, or 15 things they want managers to incorporate into action plans—this approach can be overwhelming. Managers are already busy. When they are asked to do the additional work needed to simultaneously incorporate multiple improvements, they often anticipate failure and disengage from the process. As a result, nothing gets done.

    Meaningful improvements in one area will yield secondary benefits in other areas. If managers can focus on doing one thing a little more, or better, or more consistently, that can make a huge positive impact on workplace culture.

  8. Keep it simple with the 1-2-3 model. At Perceptyx, we encourage clients to:

    • Identify one theme or focus area.

    • Develop two strategies to address the issue.

    • Talk about what was done to address the issue at least three times with employees to help them connect the dots.This simple approach shifts the focus away from action planning exercises and puts it on execution and driving meaningful change.

  9. Involve employees in designing the response. The expectation should not be that leaders lock themselves away and solve all employees’ problems on their own. Instead, use the survey as a tool to foster ongoing dialogue.

    Employees often have a line of sight to solutions that are more effective and elegant than what leaders would come up with on their own. Make the process engaging and empowering for employees. Involving employees in the process is also a strategy to help increase their support of the change because they will have some ownership in the work. Another way to think about this is: “Ask, listen, respond, involve, and solve.”

  10. Foster ongoing conversations. An employee survey isn’t an academic research project. It also shouldn’t be an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly event that happens in isolation; these aren’t the only times you should be discussing employee engagement survey results. Communication examples such as company idea or innovation boards and regular team meetings with open dialogue can keep the conversation going to make the most of the experience for both leaders and employees.

Following these tips for employee engagement post-survey communication will ensure that you get the most benefit from your surveys—both immediately after the survey closes and in the future.

Want to get the most out of every employee survey?

At Perceptyx, helping companies get the most out of their employee survey programs is our mission. With custom surveys paired to our people analytics platform and expertise in all aspects of survey design, strategy, and communication, we can help you increase employee engagement and boost productivity. Get in touch and let us show you how.

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