Employee surveys are a valuable tool for gaining insight into the attitudes and concerns of employees, particularly during these trying times. When conducted properly, surveys can provide vital information that can enhance workplace culture while also assisting firms in identifying the problems that affect engagement and productivity. However, conducting surveys wrong will lose you the respect and willingness to perform for you and could increase attrition.
Why is it important? Doing all the right things after you have surveyed your employees is more important than asking the right questions in the survey. According to Most Loved Workplace research, workers who feel employers value their opinions at work are four times more likely to perform at their peak level and stay longer.
The only way you can ensure this is by avoiding the following three things post-survey that prevent organizations from realizing the actual value of employee surveys.
Not following up
Employees whose bosses follow up with them after a survey are much more likely to be engaged; therefore, following up on surveys is just as crucial as sending the survey in the first place.
Employees will likely give you one shot to provide honest feedback and then put it on the company to prove they are doing something with it. If you don’t do anything with it, whether conscious or not, you are ignoring your employees, and they will never be honest with you again and likely won’t even participate in future surveys.
The findings still require action even if a company conducts weekly or monthly surveys. Even if you conduct internal employee surveys regularly but take no action based on the feedback you get, your organization will likely have decreased levels of involvement post-survey. Even worse than doing nothing at all is surveying without any follow-up.
Employees feel that their leadership is listening to them and values their opinions when the company shares improvement efforts with them as a follow-up to the survey. Additionally, follow-up is a sign of commitment to ongoing improvement and aids in influencing how your employees handle change.
If you ask your employees for feedback, you better show them you are appreciative and open to it. Employees want employers to hear them; and will be more honest and likely to perform better.
Ignoring Critical Issues
Surveys can assess the severity, pinpoint the areas of concern, and build trust by acknowledging the issue you heard from the employees.
For example, send a second survey with a few questions explicitly geared toward communication if your results show that your company has poor communication.
Another opportunity to go deeper into the findings is focused follow-up surveys, which discover the critical issues raised in the original survey. Additionally, invite a group of willing volunteers from your team to discuss some organizational matters highlighted in the survey and how to solve them. It will contribute to the feedback’s context, draw on various strengths and perspectives, and increase employee buy-in.
Trying To Make Everyone Happy
It is impossible to make everyone happy. Browsing employee survey results will likely cause you to miss the key themes and likely cause you to quit trying. A proper thematic analysis is required to identify the feedback, rank it by occurrence, and then address those which have the most significant impact on performance and productivity.
Avoid forming a plan of action or drawing conclusions too quickly. Instead, concentrate on combining your data and finding a few significant trends in the results.
We recommend grouping the feedback into 2-3 core themes (or stories) that address the weaknesses and the strengths using these data points. Your strengths will help you understand what can be replicated and repeated in other parts of your firm, while your pain points will highlight the areas on which you should focus your action plans. They might also highlight opportunities for employee recognition and connection to succession planning and performance management.
Another piece of advice would be not hoarding the results. If you present your findings to a peer or a stakeholder, the new set of eyes may spot trends in the feedback you missed.
Your Next Step
Follow-up! And, do the things you promised. If you do not, you will lose the trust of your employees and boss and likely lose your job. Even worse, your company will fall off the radar screen and become obsolete in this increasingly competitive and challenging landscape. Please don’t wait until it’s too late.
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Louis Carter is the founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, founder of Most Loved Workplace and the author of more than ten books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion’s Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives voted him one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture thinkers worldwide. He is the host of the Leader Show on Newsweek.