In the face of a global pandemic, political unrest and the great resignation, organizations are renewing their focus on employee engagement to help drive retention. While surveying your employees is a great way to get a pulse on sentiment and identify key opportunities to improve the experience, communication is critical to help prevent lack of action fatigue.
When asking for feedback from individuals who complete Culture Amp surveys, we've consistently found that most negative comments aren't about the survey experience itself but about perceived inaction despite survey results.
So, how do we change this? The most important thing to do is communicate your organization's planned action(s) promptly after the survey – and then follow through. In this article, we'll share four key tactics that you can implement to help you build trust and improve communication in your response to survey results.
4 ways to ensure the success of your employee surveys
1. Always tie actions back to survey results
Consistently connect discussions and resulting actions to the survey data. This helps build trust and shows your team that you are listening. That said, ensure that your employees understand that actions are linked to the quantitative results and that survey comments are primarily used to help understand the overall results. In other words, not every comment is going to have an action associated with it.
2. Acknowledge survey limitations
A survey does not answer or solve everything, and it's important to communicate that to your employees. Create opportunities for a dialogue to help understand the overall results so that employees feel involved in coming up with actions that should be taken in response. Again, be careful to set realistic expectations and acknowledge that no survey is a perfect measurement instrument. This will further build credibility and trust with your workforce.
3. Set realistic expectations
Everything that comes up in a survey can't be resolved instantly – these things take time. Clearly communicate that you're not expecting to have everything solved by the next survey. Your aim should be to start working on the issues and begin implementing thoughtful (sometimes small) changes. You should also communicate that culture and engagement will always be a moving target and that the aim is to maintain your areas of strength and continue to improve on pain points as best you can. Progress itself is a positive outcome and celebrating even small wins as a team can boost morale.
4. Encourage two-way communication
Honest and open communication starts with listening, and it's the only way to build trust with your workforce. Whether this is through focus groups, task forces, or 1-on-1 meetings, be intentional in creating dedicated spaces where employees can share honest feedback.
Communication from inception to action is critical when it comes to employee surveys. This is especially true when building and implementing a long-term employee experience strategy. Ideally, you'll be able to facilitate a few quick wins from survey results, but some things will inevitably take more time. Be sure to listen, share, and iterate as you work on larger initiatives across the employee experience.
Employee retention starts with the employee experience, and as you nurture a culture of listening, transparency, and trust, your organization is better positioned to keep your people engaged. While this is an ongoing and long-term effort, there are several quick wins to help improve the employee experience and drive retention in the short term.
Looking for inspiration? Culture Amp's latest guide shares 5 ways to improve employee retention (now).