How to Give Meaningful Feedback on an Employee Engagement Survey:

Your Organization Wants to Know What You Think … Now What?

When the annual employee engagement survey comes, many people think their responses are catalogued or graphed, presented to senior leaders in a power point presentation and pushed aside. We hope this isn’t the case.

An effective survey process, with a strong communication plan, is designed to recognize effective leaders, improve policies and processes, and fix problems.

Giving feedback to your organization can be uncomfortable, for both the giver and the organization. When an organization invests in an employee engagement survey, and you’ve been asked to participate in the process, this is an opportunity to give valuable feedback, an opportunity to find solutions for problems you see in the organization.Organizational change can depend on you.

Follow through on results not only depends on action but communicating those actions. This is the organization’s (and your manager’s) responsibility.

But let’s take a step back. It’s time to take the survey. How can you give meaningful feedback and better express your ideas?

1. Understand that this can be uncomfortable – for everyone.
2. Be fair and candid, even with negative observations. The relationships you have with your organization and/or manager won’t improve if you’re not truthful.
3. Don’t swim in the negative. Recognize problems and focus on positive actions and behaviors that managers, senior leaders, and the organization can take to improve the organization and employee engagement.
4. Keep things concise. Make your key points, backed by facts, in a succinct, straightforward manner.
5. You can’t move the factory to a lakeside property. What can you do? Focus on what can improve. That said, the whole point of feedback is professional and organizational development. Emphasize what actions, behaviors, and processes are changeable.
6. Focus observations on the what and how of the job, the workplace, the process. This will help the team develop action plans.
7. Focus observations of senior leaders on the actions and behaviors of colleagues and managers. This is an effective way to separate the personal from the professional.
8. Anonymity is important, as is honesty. How you respond to the questions is nobody’s business but your own. Avoid office gossip because negativity breeds negativity. Give the organization and your organization leaders the chance to respond to the survey results.
9. Be an active part of finding solutions, to create action plans together. Feedback can be incredibly overwhelming. When responding to the survey, provide tips on how to address challenges and how your team, management, and organization can improve.
10. Above all, be kind.

The goal of an employee engagement survey is to help the organization and its leaders improve. This can only be effective if survey responses are thoughtful, candid, and given from the position to help growth and improvement. Be part of the solution – starting with effective ways to express yourself and give feedback.

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