How to Communicate Employee Engagement Survey Results

Prepare a Strategic Communication Plan

An employee survey is a powerful, cost-effective tool to identify, understand, and fix engagement problems in an organization. It can identify key drivers of motivation, what kills morale in your organization, detect high-performing teams, as well as areas in need of development.

But so many organizations, when it comes to the communication plan, simply get it wrong. Strategic communication throughout the process can make, or break, an employee survey.

Effective communication and building trust are essential for fostering employee engagement. By focusing on these areas, you can create a positive environment even before the survey starts. This approach can also lead to a higher response rate and more honest feedback from employees.

Is your organization ready for an employee survey?

Before jumping into a survey process, ensure your senior leaders and organization are prepared. How? Answer these questions:

  • Do you know why you are conducting an engagement survey?
  • Will you share at least some of your results with your staff?
  • Do you have a communication plan for how you will share the results? (Via e-mail, in staff meetings, etc.)
  • Have you established a timeline to share the results?
  • Are your senior leaders committed to this process?
  • Are your senior leaders committed to spending time on the process to make it work? (Will top leaders, managers, and staff be given dedicated time to improvement measures?)
  • What resources will you set aside to implement changes? (People, time, external consultants, teams etc.)

How do you introduce an employee survey?

When senior leaders are on board and their roles and expectations are defined, it’s time to introduce the employee engagement survey to the company. Before distributing the survey invitation to contributors, the top leader should communicate the plan to all employees in a personalized email. The email should be sent about a week before the survey process begins and should:

  • Explain the purpose and importance of the survey.
  • Give your employees a timeline of when the survey will take place and when they can expect to receive initial results.
  • Provide details on how the survey will be conducted.
  • Emphasize the confidentiality and anonymity of responses, that you are using an outside company. Explain the benefits of the survey to each employee (eg. The goal is to improve the organization culture, workplace safety, improve DEI etc.)
  • Set expectations for follow-up actions based on survey results.

How to Communicate Employee Survey Results:

One of our most important questions on the employee engagement survey is, "Will senior leaders take action based on the results of this survey?" For contributors who believe this will happen, don't disappoint them. For those who are skeptical, this is your chance to prove them wrong!

It's generally expected that companies will share some survey results with employees. Not sharing any high-level results can reinforce negative impacts on employee engagement and satisfaction.

Sharing results signals trust, openness, and respect. It builds credibility with your team.

  • Be transparent and honest. Don't only share positives while ignoring clear issues. Employees are aware of these problems and acknowledging them openly can earn trust.
  • Strike a balance; don't solely focus on problems, but address them alongside positives.
  • If your results are mostly negative, acknowledge the seriousness of the issues and reassure your team that you're taking action.
  • Use discretion in sharing information. Avoid singling out specific departments or managers publicly; address those issues in a private setting.

Conducting an employee engagement survey is a way to close the feedback loop and listen to your staff’s concerns to take actionable steps for improvement.

Dame Angela Jean Ahrendts, DBE is an American-British businesswoman who was the CEO of Burberry and SVP of retail at Apple Inc. She currently sits on the boards of AirBnB, Ralph Lauren, and WPP. She writes, “Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”

In the next blog, we’ll discuss how to communicate the action plan and communication pitfalls to watch out for.

How to Communicate Employee Engagement Survey Results

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