Remember that employee engagement survey you conducted last year? Well, if the survey and its results aren’t top-of-mind with management, it is likely employees will have kicked those ideas under the rug as well.
An engagement survey isn’t like spring cleaning. You don’t do it once-a-year to … get it done. It’s a roadmap, when implemented well, to continuous growth in your organization. A good survey, with benchmark data, is a window into what motivates, and de-motivates your employees, specific to the organization and even to different departments within an organization. By taking the time to analyze results, understand employees, and taking a step back to get a bird’s eye view of the organization’s culture, an engagement survey is an invaluable tool that can help leaders make decisions to affect change.
Significant change can only come from actionable ideas. With the excitement of the New Year still buzzing, take the time to dust off the survey and continue with the action plans established after receiving survey results, starting with reminding your employees that they have been heard and not forgotten.
1. Communicate with your team. However big or small the organization, HR should write an e-mail discussing the survey results (and, perhaps, reminding employees about the survey), celebrating teams that have been successful and recognizing challenges the organization faces. Transparency is critical.
2. Now what? Senior leaders should have gotten together to discuss these challenges and come up with action plans accordingly. Better yet, they should bring these challenges to their teams for ideas on how to tackle them. Hopefully, this has been done. If not, it’s not too late. Dig in!
3. Discuss progress. Based on the survey results from the previous year, each team should have been working on an action plan. Share progress and setbacks. Share what resources are being allocated to address challenges and issues within the organization. When employees see that the survey translates to real action, resources, and time, the survey becomes a powerful tool for change, not just a gripe session that’s soon forgotten.
4. Give your team the tools to succeed. In the survey, global ideas and needs will come through. Creating a culture of accomplishment is a way to build teams and the organization. Give collaborators the skills they need to tackle the biggest challenges. Teach them how to break down challenges into small pieces. Be available to collaborators (especially when implementing new programs, new policies, or any changes). Be clear about expectations. Better yet, set expectations together. This drives accountability.
5. Build a culture of risk takers. Give employees the tools to reach beyond, knowing that failure is an essential part of growth. Assign stretch tasks – tasks that push employees beyond their comfort zone. Make your teams psychologically safe. There’s a lot of give-and-take in this phase of growth, but it’s the only way to see how much space you can give each employee, as each individual varies in comfort and skill levels.
Based on the employee survey, you have a lifetime of actionable items to work with. Whether it’s accountability, communication, transparency, or different competencies, build your organization’s culture around transparency and action. Don’t lose the energy of the New Year to the humdrum of last year. Give your employees new leadership and technology skills and inject spark in your organization.