How to Communicate Employee Engagement Survey Results – Battle Tested Tips

How to Communicate Employee Engagement Survey Results

How to communicate employee engagement survey results can make or break your engagement initiative.

How you communicate the results of your employee engagement survey to your employees is as important as what you do with the data from your survey.   Based upon communication best practices and hard-learned experiences in the trenches, we recommend communicating employee engagement survey results in three main phases.

Phase 1 – Thank You For Participating

The first step to better communicate employee engagement survey results starts once the engagement survey has been closed.  We recommend immediately sharing the following.  Keep it short and to the point.

  • Thank everyone for participating.
  • Reinforce how employee engagement fits into your overall business and talent management strategies.
  • Share the participation rate.
  • Be clear about what is next in terms of timing, information flow and next steps.


Phase 2 – Initial High Level Results

The second step in how to communicate employee engagement survey results is to share the initial high level results with the organization. At this stage, you are not sharing any detailed analysis or actions plans.  Your objective is to maintain momentum to help ensure employees feel heard and appreciated.  Typical communication components include:

  • Thank everyone again for participating.
  • Reinforce how employee engagement fits into your overall business and talent management strategies.
  • Share the participation rate.
  • Share the overall engagement scores along with the top 5 most favorable areas and top 5 least favorable areas.  Note: You can also share anything else that people should know regarding any demographics or items that are important and can be shared without additional context.
  • Be clear about what is next in terms of timing, information flow and next steps.

Phase 3 – Detailed Results

The third step in how to communicate employee engagement survey results is to share the detailed employee engagement survey results with the organization. At this stage, you are sharing overall company and team-specific results, analysis or actions plans.  Your objective is to move from analysis to action in a way that makes sense for your unique talent management strategy and workplace culture.   Typical communication components in addition to the above include:

  • Employee engagement profiles detailing the percent of employees who are highly engaged, moderately engaged, barely engaged, and disengaged.
  • Benchmarks against your industry, size, location and high performers.
  • Favorable, uncertain and unfavorable categories and items.
  • Top 10 engagement items with the highest correlation to engagement for your company.
  • Recommended actions and rationale.
  • Detailed cascade, communication and change plans.
  • Specific next steps.

In each phase of communicating employee engagement survey results, follow these battle-tested tips.

1. Accept and appreciate the results for what they are
Employees should never feel guilty or threatened about providing their feedback.  Thank them regardless of the results to help them trust the survey process and your leadership team.  All follow-up conversations, communications and focus groups should be about understanding and creating positive actions to increase employee engagement levels – not placing blame or making excuses.

Do not debate opinions, get defensive, or try to change opinions.  Be humble.  Employee engagement surveys expose employee perceptions. To increase engagement, you want to validate employees’ feelings and experiences, not try to change their minds.

2. Focus on the feedback, not the people
Employee engagement survey responses should be 100% confidential. When reviewing employee survey results, focus on the insights, trends and potential actions for improvement.  Do not waste your time or your leadership credibility guessing who said what.

3. Be open, objective and clear
How you talk about the survey results sets the tone. If you want to improve survey participation and engagement, be open, objective and clear. Talk openly about the results – both good and bad. Communicate the findings objectively and be as clear and concise as possible about what you intend to do next.

4. Be collaborative and inclusive
Encourage and invite employees to provide additional feedback and ideas as you review survey findings. Foster an ongoing dialogue, ask for questions and ensure that they can review the data and create their own plans for improving employee engagement.

If you liked How to Communicate Employee Engagement Survey Results, download The Relationship Between Employee Engagement and Manager Effectiveness to learn more.

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