A Game Plan to Keep Your Engagement Survey Message Alive

Linda Dulye's picture
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game plan.jpgYou've invested a great deal of time and resources on your engagement survey, so don't that work go to waste by taking months to prepare and conduct executive debriefs of the results.

Some organizations lose the employee enthusiasm they generated during the survey process due to a protracted analysis and communications process. In employees' minds, their voice -- the one that the organization claimed to value -- has been forgotten.

It doesn't have to be this way. Here's a four-point plan for keeping your engagement survey relevant from start to finish.

  1. Accelerate results sharing. Expectations today are high set high by instant polls online. You can't wait four months for survey results -- we don't wait that long for election night results. Don't make your employees wait that long either. This does not reinforce the message "we value your voice."
  2. Eliminate bulky leadership reviews. Siloed debriefs are old school. Transform the process by inviting multiple leader levels and departments to take part in preliminary debriefs. Also, slash from two months to two weeks the preliminary review of data with leaders by using interactive webcasts and multi-level approaches. You'll save time and strike up a healthy cross-department conversation and, along the way, break down old barriers and build a new approach.
  3. Keep employees aware of key milestones. Once pens are down or send buttons clicked, a period of silence blankets the organization. Simmer that silence with periodic updates: communicate the number of responses; follow up with a communication about high-level, overall trends (while the department and regional sorts and analysis are under way). Another message can outline next steps for acting on data and the process and schedule for doing so. Enlist various voices from the leadership ranks to lead this communication. Don't settle for silence, your employees deserve better.

  4. Avoid insincere follow up. We just heard an example of an absentee manager who pulled his direct reports together to debrief them on engagement survey results. The meeting was perfunctory -- with the manager going through the motions, following a scripted presentation supported by dozens of slides and avoiding discussion over the results. The reason? The numbers weren't so good. Clearly that manager wasn't interested in hearing anyone's voice—both from the survey and from a live meeting. Whether good or bad, data is the ideal discussion starter. And if you are genuinely telling employees that their voice is important and management is listening, you've got to keep that commitment year round—not just during some survey period. So, ensure that managers are briefed and trained to lead truly interactive discussions about survey results where employees feel comfortable and valued for providing direct feedback on the results and follow-up action plans.

Want to learn more? Listen to our recent podcast on this topic.

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