Your company issued an engagement survey. Employees were enthusiastic about participating, and did. The results are in. Now what do you do?
One of the biggest mistakes organizations can make in the survey process is failing to disseminate the findings to management and employees. It would be naive to think that every little complaint can be addressed, because you simply can’t please everyone. However, you can identify the most important areas to focus on and develop a strategy from there.
Of course, not all survey findings result in complaints. Perhaps you also discover things you are doing right and that employees enjoy, and such compliments are just as important to know. In fact, many good things come as a result of surveying employees, so don’t focus solely on the grievances.
The Debriefing Session
Two key topics related to employee engagement are communication and trust. You have an opportunity to set a positive tone in these areas by simply debriefing your workers on the survey findings. One of the standard questions we proposed you ask was, “How confident are you that some type of action will be taken as a result of this survey?” If your respondents reported high confidence, don’t let them down! Similarly, if your respondents were skeptical, here’s your chance to prove them wrong.
Start by acknowledging the strengths – by department, if possible – and then address any areas that need improvement. Celebrating the positive results and accomplishments that your employees achieve year over year can have a big impact on morale and, ultimately, engagement. Also speak about the actions your company plans to take.
Make Your Action Plan S.M.A.R.T
Developing S.M.A.R.T goals is critical to managing your own and your employees’ performance. When you communicate next steps with employees, be sure they are – in line with the S.M.A.R.T. acronym –specific, measureable, achievable, results-focused and timely.
Specific: Clearly define what you are going to do. Share the what, why and how.
Example: By May 1, implement a new employee advocacy program using a clearly defined referral process so employees and managers have a stronger work environment with less turnover.
- What – “Implement a new employee advocacy program”
- How – “using a clearly defined referral process”
- Why – “so employees and managers have a stronger work environment with less turnover”
Measureable: You need tangible evidence to determine if a goal or plan was successful. Using the same example from above, the measureable metric is whether or not the advocacy program is operational by your May 1 deadline.
Achievable: Goals should stretch you slightly, but also be defined enough to be attainable. Reasonable goals pump up motivation; impossible goals deflate it.
Results-driven: Goals should measure outcomes, not activities. The outcome of our example would be that employees feel their work environment is stronger and less turnover is experienced.
Timely: Aligning a goal to a time frame creates a sense of urgency, so results are more likely to be obtained.
Communicating the Action Plan
Before you can share the action plan with employees, secure buy-in with the senior leadership team. Having a unified front will impact employees’ confidence in the overall plan moving forward. Once your senior leadership team is onboard, share the results with your managers; you don’t want them to be caught off-guard once results are shared with the entire organization. Give them ample amount of time to prepare responses to any foreseeable questions that may arise once employees are notified.
As you share survey findings with employees, share your action plan as well. Don’t leave it up to workers to imagine solutions; tell them specifically what the next steps will be.
Failing to act can severely impact future attempts to gauge employee satisfaction. However, organizations choosing to engage employees, hear their responses, and act honestly and openly about new approaches will see the greatest amount of improvement.