Sometimes the most disengaging thing a company does is its engagement survey. If your company has to push harder with every survey to get the same response rate, if the water cooler talk does not match up to survey results, if news of an approaching survey creates a sense of dread, it may be that your engagement survey is starting to be part of the problem.

Soteres Consulting has been involved in communicating engagement survey results at dozens of organizations. My next three blogs will look at some surprisingly common dysfunctions of engagement surveys, with a few notes on how better communications can lead to better outcomes.

The dysfunctions I’ll address are:

  • We take the survey every year and nothing happens.
  • Our biggest problem is that we are overwhelmed with work, but engagement surveys lead to new committees and more work.
  • We don’t always tell you what we think.

Let’s start with the first one, and if you have others please comment for future blogs and discussion.

We take the survey every year and nothing happens. Organizations can spend months after a survey simply debating what information to share with different levels in the organization. A shocking number of companies end up never communicating meaningful results to front-line employees. Some never get so far as to thank employees for their feedback!

Communication solution: A specific template for communicating results should be developed and fully approved before you invite employees to participate in the survey. If you can’t agree on how to report results, your organization is not ready to administer an engagement survey.

Soteres Consulting also recommends: Decide on one to two benchmark measures before you administer the survey. You might pick a question like: I know how my role connects to the success of the organization. Secure executive agreement that the corporation will take action if the score is below X on that question. Propose and get approval for the specific action that the organization will take.

With the action already determined, your company will be able to start doing something based on survey results much more quickly. Make that specific corporate effort a highly visible flagship for responding to employee feedback while you develop additional actions.