Unless you act on the information from your Employee Engagement survey you run the risk of increasing disengagement.
Not listening to employees will increase the “Why bother? Nothing ever changes” attitude in your organisation and make surveys a waster of time and money. It is when we act on the results of the Employee Engagement survey we improve our culture and our engagement scores. Unless employees see changes, and feel they are part of the process, energy soon dips and the survey can have a negative impact on the culture and engagement levels.
Some organisations stop communicating the results of the survey as they mistakenly think employees should know that their opinions are valued, and their input is used. Unfortunately what happened last year (or even last month) is often lost in the chaos and noise of daily life. To keep employees engaged in the survey, and enable them to see the value of participating, provide honest feedback and keep employees involved in every part of the process.
Use these 5 tested tips to ensure a successful Employee Engagement survey:
1. Share the results.
Sharing the results from the survey is an essential step in keeping employees involved. When information is not shared employees may feel that they are being kept in the dark and start assuming there is something wrong. Often the group most surprised with the results are the managers.
The key elements to share area as follows:
- The overall health of the organisation (with a question by question breakdown). Simple graphs and charts are more effective than lots of data and bullet points. A visual snapshot.
- The best and worst rated elements.
- Acknowledge the best elements and make a clear commitment to address the worst elements.
- A time frame for sharing the department data, and when the action plan meetings will happen.
- After sharing the overall results managers should share department or team results to their direct reports.
- Results should be shared within 30 days of receiving all the data. If it takes too long rumours will circulate.
Timely disclosure of all relevant results to employees increases the belief that the survey is being taken seriously and is being used to address employee concerns.
2. Commit to action.
Successful surveys require action and commitment. This action looks different at each level within the organisation. Senior leadership needs to take action based on the overall feedback from organisation as a whole. At the departmental, or team level, actions are taken based on the results in their area. Though the actions take by senior leadership are important the key actions taken are at a manager or supervisor level are more so. The manager/supervisor level has the greatest direct impact on Employee Engagement scores. If you do not take action (specifically at manager/supervisor levels) it be more difficult to get employees to take your next survey, and in most cases your scores will decrease following inaction.
3. Involve all levels of the organisation.
Once employees have seen the overall data for the organisation, it is important that they also get the data for their department or team. Give team members at least a day to digest the information before holding an action planning meeting.
In the action planning meeting:
- Begin with the positive. Ask team members about areas in the survey that they feel most positive about, and why they think the team/organisation has been successful in this area.
- Review the overall and team specific data and note areas they would like to see addressed.
- Get team members to share their thoughts about their areas of concern. Facilitate a discussion to discover the top 1 or 2 areas they feel, if addressed and acted on, would have the greatest impact.
- Ask employees to identify what they, as well as their managers could do, can do to address these concerns. Action steps need to be developed for both employees and managers.
Ensuring that employees have the opportunity to discuss their concerns, and provide some solutions, makes them part of the process and demonstrates the value of the survey.
Employee Engagement requires action from employees and management, it is not a one-way process.
4. Hold managers accountable.
Employees leave or stay with your organisation because of the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor. Motivated and engaged employees are essential to any successful organisation. By holding managers and leaders responsible for their part in building relationships with their direct reports employees are more likely to stay. Many leaders are scared of what these surveys will say. Asking for feedback can make us feel vulnerable. However in today’s economy where talent is scarce, and the cost of recruiting new talent can be up to a years salary, engagement should be a strategic priority throughout the organisation. Don’t let your talent migrate to your competitor because acting on survey results can be uncomfortable. Hold leaders within the organisation accountable for meeting with their teams and developing an action plan with employee participation.
5. Keep the conversation going.
To ensure the success of your engagement survey, it is essential to keep the conversation alive throughout the year, not just when the survey happens. Regularly share updates on the success of the actions being taken as a result of the survey throughout the year. Get managers to get team input on whether these actions are working or not on an ongoing basis. Organisations who routinely achieve high engagement scores continually engage staff and stress the importance employee feedback. This inclusive action-orientated approach helps create a great place to work.
Culture is a dynamic element of a successful organisation and requires stewardship and participation. It is when we utilise the results of the Employee Engagement survey we improve our culture and our engagement scores.
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