Why Gather Employee Feedback on Employee Engagement
Most companies now understand the importance of gathering consistent feedback about employee wants, needs, and concerns as part of their business and talent management strategies.  We know that an employee engagement survey can be a critical tool to monitor and hopefully improve organizational health.    Unfortunately, too many companies struggle to follow up on employee engagement surveys.

A lack of survey follow-up can cause employee apathy, disengagement, and skepticism. 

Why Employee Engagement Matters
Engaged employees advocate for their companies, outperform their disengaged peers, and intend to stay for the long term.   Based upon surveying over half a million employees across more than 5,000 organizations every year, our engagement research shows that engaged workers are over 40% more productive and effective than their disengaged counterparts.

Engaged employees have 18% greater productivity, 12% higher customer satisfaction, and 51% less voluntary turnover while disengaged employees correlate to 12% lower profits, 19% lower operating income, and 28% lower earnings per share.

The Worst Way to Follow Up on Employee Engagement Surveys
Now that the employee engagement survey results are in, it’s time to take action.  The worst way to follow up is not to follow up at all.  By not acting upon the results, you break trust with the employees who believed there would be changes made if they participated in the survey.

Top 5 Reasons Companies Struggle to Follow Up on Employee Engagement Surveys
Too many organizations fail to act upon the employee feedback they received.  Their inaction is due to these main reasons:

  1. Weak Project Kickoff
    Weak project kickoffs create weak projects. With it being so easy to buy and administer engagement surveys, far too many organizations forget to get the basics of following up on the results right.  Make sure that you spend the time to create a solid business case for engagement, define the right executive project sponsor, and agree upon engagement goals, success metrics, deliverables, scope, stakeholders, follow-up approach, assumptions, timing, and budget.

    Then outline the specific steps to finalize survey questions, compile employee demographics, finalize survey invitations, build and test the survey, and finally launch the survey and thank employees for their participation.

  2. Misaligned Leadership
    If company leaders are not on the same page regarding the importance of engaging employees and the plan to improve employee engagement, there is little chance for success. Based upon the survey results, invest the time with company leadership to identify 1-3 company-wide areas of focus, to reconfirm their motivation for change, and to determine how to create transparency and accountability.

  3. Not Actively Involving Managers and Employees
    Recent research by Bain found that the active engagement of stakeholders during the strategy design phase has the highest correlation to strategies being successfully implemented. We know that the same is true with employee engagement.  You need the active, committed involvement of your entire work force to improve employee engagement.

  4. No Clear Accountability
    It’s critical to clearly establish who’s in charge of moving from feedback to action. Otherwise, no one feels responsible or accountable.  While HR has historically been charged with engagement initiatives, we have found that leaders and frontline managers have the greatest impact on fundamentally improving employee engagement.

    To gets results, hold your leaders and frontline managers responsible for following up on employee engagement survey results.

  5. No Training, No Resources and No Time
    If you are going to ask your frontline managers to act on the survey results, you need to make sure they know what to do, how to do it, and are supported by senior leaders to spend the time required to get the job done.

    Managers can feel defensive when confronting negative feedback and can get overwhelmed with additional responsibilities related to employee engagement.  Give them the tools and time they need to discuss the results with their team, to facilitate discussions on what matters most, and to translate high priority issues into meaningful action steps.

The Bottom Line
It’s not enough to kick off and conduct an employee engagement survey.  The proof of your intent to improve the organizational health of your company is what you do with the results.  Asking for employee feedback is not an exercise in curiosity but a decision to boost engagement and performance. 

Are you ready to follow up and act upon the results?

To learn more about how not to struggle to follow up on employee engagement surveys, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

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