How to Successfully Communicate your Employee Engagement Survey Results and in What Order
Don't let all the hard work of carrying out your employee engagement survey go to waste by falling at the final hurdle. You must communicate to all employees when the survey has closed, be clear about the next steps and whatever you do, don’t forget to share the results and action plans. As research shows that businesses lose a staggering $1.2 trillion each year due to poor workplace communication, this last step of a successful employee engagement survey is critical. Otherwise, what's the point in the thorough survey preparation and your people giving you feedback if it's followed by silence?
Take these steps to ensure that you finish the process of carrying out an employee engagement survey with all-important communication.
1. When the survey closes
It may sound like a small gesture, but once the deadline for completing the survey has passed, communication with your employees is essential for several reasons:
- An email to all employees from senior management and HR should be sent out after the survey closes.
- The email should thank employees for their participation, confirm that the survey is closed, and explain the next steps (which include the behind-the-scenes results analysis and the discussion at the senior management level of high-level action plans). This message from senior management can also be added to the company intranet and other internal communication channels.
- Team leaders can also reiterate this information during their team meetings.
- For example, they can confirm the survey is closed, thank everybody who participated and explained that once they have the survey results for the team, they will organise a time to discuss the results with the team and set action plans.
Sorwe tip – Be sure to thoroughly plan the next steps before you communicate them with your people. If you tell them you’ll have results in a week, but fail to deliver on that timeline, it may cause frustration and decrease trust. Therefore, ensure you give realistic timeframes in all communication.
2. One to two weeks after the survey closes
It doesn't have to be an exact time frame but ideally, senior management should be in a position to communicate high-level survey results to all employees within weeks of the survey close. This is because the survey will still be fresh in employees’ minds, it shows the buy-in of senior management if they act and communicate quickly and ensures survey momentum.
Ideally, and this will depend on the size of the company, the CEO or members of the senior management team will organise a face-to-face meeting with all employees to communicate initial high-level results. The meeting should be streamed to those individuals who are not in the office and recorded and shown on the intranet. However, this can be carried out via an all-staff email and instead the main results can be communicated in person to all staff at a later date.
Rapidly measuring the results and analysing the outcomes of the survey would be essential to communicate the results in a timely manner. For this instance, you might want to get support from an engagement survey tool that would help with the reporting, even with instant reporting while the answers start to be collected. Another key area that such tools can fasten your analyses is the ability to get results essential breakdown and filters. Having departmental, seniority and locations breakdowns in results would ease your analysis and help you to decide what to communicate with the wider team.
At this stage, senior management doesn’t need to communicate individual team results but does need to highlight some information. This may include:
- Statistics about participation rates
- Details about demographics (e.g., percentage of male and female respondents etc)
- The top survey results
- The bottom survey results
- Any obvious key trends from the survey
Senior management must address not only the high-level positive findings but also the areas that require improvement so that individuals see that results are honest and create a culture of trust.
During this communication with all staff, senior management doesn’t need to outline detailed action plans because they may not have them yet. It’s more about acknowledging the top-level feedback and committing to further feedback.
Sorwe tip - The energy of this meeting is important as it should be upbeat, positive and focused on thanks to the people for participating in the survey and a commitment to making improvements when necessary. If the meeting isn’t done in person, the CEO or a senior manager could record the information in a video which can be sent to all employees, to keep the personal touch.
3. 2 to 3 weeks after the survey closes
Once HR has analysed the survey results in detail or received detailed results from the company they have outsourced the survey to, they can present senior management with detailed findings. Senior leaders will need detailed analysis presented to them highlighting overall strengths and weaknesses within the company so that results can be compared to the initial survey objectives.
Together senior management and HR can work on a detailed action plan that can be communicated back to all staff. HR should also present to senior management the results for each team highlighting the top and bottom results in each area which can be then communicated to line managers.
Even though senior managers will delegate action plans for teams to individual line managers, they need to see the findings and results for every team so that they have an awareness of engagement across the company not just at the high level.
Sorwe tip - At this stage, HR should discuss with senior management how the findings will be communicated to the company and whether they want to organise focus groups to gather more information in specific areas and when they think the next survey should be carried out.
4. 4 to 8 weeks after the survey closes
Now that all findings have been reviewed, analysed, and discussed with line managers, senior management can communicate the survey findings in person to all staff. Again, it's essential to ensure that remote employees or those not in the office can also sign in to view the meeting or catch up with it afterwards.
Senior management should communicate the main positive and negative findings from the survey and discuss in detail the actions they are taking to make improvements and those actions that they've already put in place.
During this meeting, they can also confirm the next steps in that line managers will meet with their teams to discuss findings and create action plans and again it's an opportunity to thank everyone for their participation and the positive steps to making a more engaged workplace.
Sorwe tip - If this is the first employee survey the company has done, leaders may wish to confirm that a future survey will be carried out although they may not give an exact time frame. However, if a survey has been carried out in the past this is also an opportunity to compare findings especially if there are improvements; it’s a good time to celebrate these!
5. After the results have been communicated by senior management
The next step is for line managers to communicate their team findings together with their team. They may have a presentation created by HR or the survey software provider that they can present to their people, or they may create their own.
It's important to consider how those people not in the office (for example, those on maternity leave or remote workers) will access this feedback. If they can't join the team meeting the managers should ideally organise separate one-to-one meetings for those people so everyone in the team hears the same feedback and action plans.
Again, managers should discuss the main positive areas of feedback to highlight where the team is doing well, but also focus on the less favourable feedback. Although the manager will be feeding back the survey results, the meeting should be an opportunity for further feedback or discussion to really drill down into the problem areas to further understand issues.
Once the manager has discussed the results then they can focus on action plans by outlining what needs to be improved and why. Depending on the specific areas for improvement there may be some simple, quick-fix ideas, however, some areas may require group input and may take longer to improve.
Sorwe tip - There may be some areas that individuals are not comfortable discussing within the team setting, so the manager should make it clear that they are available for one-to-one follow-ups with team members if they have further feedback or ideas for improvement to add.
Employee surveys are not about right or wrong answers or hiding feedback. Leaders and managers need to be objective throughout the process and ensure that they don't take feedback personally or share their opinions when feeding back the results. Throughout the process, those feeding back results should be open, clear and honest about how they intend to make improvements. And the changes expected from action plans will take time and in order to create an ongoing culture of feedback within your organisation, you need to ensure that employees understand how and when they can give feedback when the survey has closed.
Sorwe provides the tools you need to carry out an employee engagement survey and feedback survey results. Please get in touch with us to learn more about how Sorwe solutions can help you improve your employee engagement practices.