A Recipe for Post-Survey Tactics that Works

recipe post-survey tactics

Your survey results are in. You’ve seen the analysis. Not surprisingly when this information is served to senior leadership you hear the question, okay, so now what? Exactly. What post-survey tactics are part of your next steps? Everybody who participated in your organization’s employee engagement survey has expectations, two are chief among them. One is to be informed about findings. The other is that there’s going to be some action taken as a result.

Informing employees about engagement survey results is like the mixing bowl you use in a recipe. It’s where everything starts to come together. The first thing TalentMap counsels after senior leadership has received findings is to present results from one central person (ideally your CEO) to as many people as possible. Why? So that everyone hears and understands the results from the same position.

Use a generous splash of information

If you can hold town halls in person, that’s great. If you can do them by webinar or video that’s fine too. They’re an effective way to impart information. Just don’t expect to generate feedback. Anyone who has presented to a large group knows when you ask people for questions or comments you’re going to hear the hum of your heating or air conditioning system. People are reticent to reveal their cards in an open format. Town hall gatherings are your communication mechanism, the best way to share findings with transparency.

Add a healthy amount of listening

Smaller more intimate groups allow people to be more comfortable expressing their own views. That’s where focus groups come in. It’s an opportunity to bring together groups of six to ten people from across the organization to “start the conversation”.  With focus groups, you can explore how employees feel and why - in ways a survey can’t.  You can search for root causes. Focus groups are your listening mechanism, the best way to delve deeper into staff observations and concerns, without judgement.

group meeting

Add a huge dollop of empowered participation – the secret ingredient

Something everyone can relish is being involved right from the get go. An employee engagement steering committee is an empowering mechanism for employees and helps stir up organization-wide participation in the engagement process. Invite representation from across the organization and throughout various levels. Avoid creating an unsavory situation by putting a manager and direct report together on the task force. Open and honest discussions will assuredly fall flat. Above all else, include one person from the leadership team (who does not take a lead role – that’s important!). This individual is meant to participate as a member, take what comes out of the group to executive peers and champion recommendations, making sure they’re understood, supported and implemented.

Stick to the recipe

Many organizations try peeling the onion back to the lowest common denominator. They want to isolate or target divisions with poor scores rather than focus on the issues themselves and the root causes behind them. Others get caught up in paralysis by analysis. A considerable number hope to resolve all problems revealed by the engagement survey. It’s natural to want to understand the issues. But not all issues are going to have the same impact on engagement. It’s best to understand which issues have the strongest sway over your organization’s employee engagement and focus on those.

• Work environment?• Immediate Management?• Senior Leadership?
• Performance Feedback?• Innovation?• Professional Growth?
• Work-Life Balance?• Customer Focus?• Teamwork?
• Organizational vision?• Performance & Compensation?• Communication?
• Work environment?• Immediate Management?
• Senior Leadership?• Performance Feedback?
• Innovation?• Professional Growth?
• Work-Life Balance?• Customer Focus?
• Teamwork?• Organizational vision?
• Performance & Compensation?• Communication?

Inevitably your organization is going to have people zero in on the lowest scores (maybe it’s communication or compensation) and say, we need to pay attention to that! Resist the temptation to try to address the worst issue, which is probably the least influential.  Experiential evidence and scientific 3rd party survey expertise will back you up. Stay focused. Identify one to three key opportunities for improvement (no more, no less) and really dig deep. Everything else can be set on the back burner.

Making something successful out of your employee engagement survey is all about making sure you follow basic steps, just like you would a recipe.

  1. Communicate results
  2. Focus efforts on just a few priorities
  3. Work with employees to develop action plans
  4. Implement and monitor action plans.

Importantly, employee engagement isn’t a project with an end date. Would you treat building ‘trust’ as a project or process with a beginning and end?  Employee engagement is about continuous connection.  Ideally, engaging employees is (or will become) part of your organization’s DNA.  Make sure people know what’s being done and what’s been changed. And toast each success, large and small.

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