Last week, we discussed why employees don’t believe an engagement survey matters. It’s easy to fall into cynicism. It’s easier to get frustrated and blame management and the organization for issues than be part of solutions. Being a real change maker calls for dedication. If your organization is asking you to participate in an engagement survey, suspend cynicism. It’s time to believe that your organization is prepared to listen and take action. You need to be part of it.
Giving effective, concise feedback in your engagement survey can be the difference between status quo and meaningful change. So, how can you give feedback that will be heard?
1. Understand that this can be uncomfortable – for everyone.
2. Avoid the feedback sandwich (good-bad-good). We’re not Kindergarten teachers, and that only serves to dilute, and often confuse, the message.
3. Be fair. Be candid. Dancing around negative observations will not help improve your relationship with your organization and/or manager.
4. Don’t fall into a vacuum of negativity. If things are really bad, recognize the problems (candidly and fairly) and change your chip. Think of positive actions and behaviors your managers and organization can take.
5. Discuss actions and behaviors, procedures and practices – not people. Keep things professional. Later, this will be key to developing action plans.
6. What can improve? Focus on that. There are always barriers to growth that even the best manager and/or organization can’t hurdle. What actions, behaviors, and processes can improve?
7. Get to the point. Avoid the info dumps. Keep your observations succinct and concise. Back them with examples.
8. Anonymity and honesty are important. Avoid the water cooler whine and office gossip. How you respond to the survey is nobody’s business but your own.
9. Be part of the solution – providing actionable tips that address problems you see in the organization.
10. 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.
The survey, too, is the first step toward meaningful communication. Hold your managers and HR accountable for the survey – asking for results within a reasonable period of time. Ask your manager about action plans based on survey results. Be active about change in the organization. The survey is a phenomenal tool to start the wheels turning.