6 Key Steps to Implement Your Employee Engagement Survey Results

a picture of 6 lanes on a race track

Now that your employee engagement survey results are in, the real work begins. It is clear that there is room for improvement. Your goal is to identify the handful of key actions to take to measurably increase your employees’:

• Level of advocacy for your company and its solutions
• Daily discretionary effort
• Intent to stay for the long-term

You learned from employee engagement training that a survey was the first step in understanding what matters most to your workforce. You’re on the right track…just keep going to reap the benefits.

Here are 6 proven steps to follow to reach the “finish” line and maximize the results of your employee engagement initiative.

1. Share the company-wide employee engagement results and leadership’s plan for next steps
Your engagement communication plan should have three main phases. First, you need to acknowledge and thank everyone for their participation. Second, you need to provide an executive summary of the key findings and insights from your employee engagement survey. Third, you need to publish the detailed results and indicate what company leaders plan for next steps. This information could be delivered in an email or, perhaps more effectively, in a large meeting format, either for managers only or for the entire workforce. Whatever mode you choose, be sure to share the results in an open and objective manner.

The goal: Leaders are aligned with next steps and employees feel appreciated for participating, understand the company-wide results and are clear about what leadership plans for next steps.

2. Discuss team-level engagement results in smaller meetings
Organizations with consistently high employee engagement scores expect and equip managers to work directly with their teams to meaningfully improve employee engagement. After the company-wide engagement results and next steps have been communicated to the entire organization, it is time for your managers to gather their teams together for the purpose of talking openly about what the engagement results mean to them and their team. Often it’s best to use a skilled engagement consultant to facilitate the discussion in order to encourage tough questions, surface important issues and involve all team members without worry of repercussion or censure.

The goal: Teams have held open and honest discussions about what the results mean to them.

3. Have teams agree upon and identify 2-3 employee engagement improvement areas
After your teams have openly discussed the findings and what they mean for them, it is time for the team come to agreement on the 2-3 key engagement areas that deserve the most attention. Examples of employee engagement areas of focus include Manager Effectiveness, Trust in Senior Leaders, Communication, Job Satisfaction, Teamwork, Feeling Valued, Trust with Co-Workers, Alignment with Goals, Performance Management, Collaboration, Training and Change Management. The more involved the team is in identifying the areas that matter most to them, the more they will be committed to the changes required to improve employee engagement. A skilled engagement facilitator can help guide the discussion by reviewing the survey results and highlighting areas with the greatest potential impact that are also in alignment with your company’s overall strategic priorities and organizational culture.

The goal: Teams have identified the critical few 2-3 engagement areas to directly improve employee advocacy, discretionary effort and retention in a way that aligns with the company’s strategy and organizational culture.

4. Have teams define employee engagement success and potential solutions.
Once your team has identified the high-level engagement areas they want to impact, it is time to select the specific items that you want to improve and plan how you will measure success. For example, for the engagement area of manager effectiveness, a common question for fast growing teams who want to improve that is highly correlated to improved engagement is “There is open and honest communication between employees and managers.” After you have selected the item you want to improve, agree upon what it means to your team and why your team’s performance isn’t where you’d like it to be. Once you have identified the root cause, it is time to identify how you will measure success and the potential solutions that will get you where you want to be.

Make sure the potential solutions are “implementable” in your corporate culture and aligned with the overall business strategy. Discuss specifically what improvement could mean to you and your team. How will your selected action plans align with the company’s strategy? What are the potential barriers to success? Who are your key stakeholders? How important are your engagement initiatives compared to other team priorities? How will you monitor progress and measure success? Be prepared for some difficult conversations. If, for instance, survey results have shown that there is a lack of trust on the team, discussion of the reasons for this improvement area could be uncomfortable…all the more reason for an objective moderator.

The goal: Teams have agreed upon success metrics and potential solutions to improve employee advocacy, discretionary effort and retention.

5. Decide upon and implement next steps
After you have agreed upon the engagement success metrics and potential solutions to move the needle, it is the time to prepare to take action. With your team, agree upon the specific steps needed for improvement and set up a reasonable process for implementation that is fully supported by company leadership. Share responsibility for the various tasks so all team members are aboard, have a stake in success and are held accountable. Most leading companies hold leaders and managers accountable to measuring and improving employee engagement scores as part of their performance dashboard.

The goal: Teams have an agreed-upon action plan supported by company leadership that managers are held accountable for executing.

6. Meet regularly to report on and evaluate progress
You now have the plan. Make sure that it is being rolled out according to schedule and that it is working as hoped. If not, figure out what needs to be adjusted or changed. Just keep at it and let people know where you stand. Most leading companies review progress monthly and results quarterly.

The goal: Measurably improved levels of employee engagement.

Change is an iterative process. Cycle through steps 1 to 6 as each objective is met and then move on to the next improvement area. As the team functions more smoothly, team members will be more committed to working effectively together.

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