5 Steps to Follow Through on Employee Engagement Results

graphic of a team using a ladder to go across a mountain chasm to illustrate how to Follow Through on Employee Engagement Results

Rule Number One – Follow Through on Employee Engagement Results
The cardinal rule of employee engagement surveys: don’t ask for employee feedback unless you are determined to follow through with meaningful actions and answers.

Curiosity vs. Action Driven Surveys
Surveys driven simply by curiosity only raise employee hopes that things will improve. If no action is taken, leaders lose credibility and fewer employees will invest in the “empty process” next time. But surveys undertaken with the will and resources to follow through upon what is learned can, by the initial effort itself, strengthen employee faith in their company’s leaders.

The Real Work Begins Earlier than You Think
Many mistakenly believe that the real work begins once the survey has closed.  While it is true that creating and implementing actions is difficult change management work, the real work begins before the survey has even been announced.  Before you embark on an employee engagement initiative:

  • Be Strategic. Identify the role employee engagement and retention play in your business strategy and where it falls compared to other strategic priorities.
  • Focus on Implementation First. Ensure your leadership team has the capability and willingness to follow through on employee engagement survey results before you worry about survey design.
  • Make Employee Engagement a Key Performance Indicator. Monitor, measure and reward employee engagement and retention as one of your key management success metrics.

Five Steps to Follow Through on Employee Engagement Results
If you are prepared to commit to meaningful action and your employees understand how engagement fits into the strategic picture, go for it!

Then, to be sure your investment pays maximum benefits, follow these tips from our best practices playbook compiled after surveying over half a million employees across more than 5,000 organizations every year.

#1. Communicate Engagement Results
Communication is perhaps one of the most overlooked and under-executed elements of the employee engagement survey process. Your survey communication can increase participation rates, build employee trust, encourage open and honest feedback, and lead to positive organizational change.

Ineffective communication is one of the biggest barriers standing in your way of survey success.

All engagement-related communications should have the goal of informing, educating, building momentum, ensuring confidentiality, disclosing intent, improving engagement, building trust and gaining buy-in.

The minimum communication plan should include:

  • A Thank You Email: Thank people for participating, share response rates and outline next steps
  • Results Overview: Share a quick look at first insights regarding the highest and lowest rated areas and high level next steps
  • Detailed Results: Provide a more in depth look at results, at what leadership plans for next steps and at how managers can access their team’s employee survey results

#2. Actively Discuss Results in Smaller Groups
If you want to follow through on employee engagement results, you must actively involve managers in reviewing the results and creating actions to improve engagement.   And managers must actively involve their teams in reviewing the results and creating actions to improve engagement for their teams.

#3. Identify What Matters Most
At the company and team level, identify the engagement areas and items that (1) have the highest correlation to engagement in your unique culture, (2) have the greatest room for improvement, (3) make sense for your unique strategy and culture, and (4) have viable potential actions that align with your business and people strategies versus pie-in-the-sky ideas that will never truly be implemented.

If you want to have a higher chance of follow through on employee engagement results, actively involve employees in identifying what matters most, rather than telling them what they should do next.

#4. Agree Upon Next Steps
After the data has been analyzed and options have been fully discussed and debated, it is time to identify the critical few actions to get from where you are to where you want to be for each strategic area of improvement.  To create a higher chance of success, have clear success metrics, assign clear ownership and break the actions into manageable steps.

#5. Monitor and Continuously Improve
Create a project plan to evaluate and share progress, learn and adjust. Learn from both successes and failures and involve employees in making it a great place to work.

The Bottom Line
Hold yourselves and others accountable for implementing the steps you have committed to take.  The overall objective is just where we started:  to take steps to influence how employees get their work done every day, year-round and gain their whole-hearted commitment to improving performance overall.

To learn more about boosting employee engagement, download Top 6 Forces Driving Employee Engagement and Strategies to Move the Engagement Needle

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