Employee Engagement Survey Results: Turning Negatives into Positives

Mark Terry - November 26, 2019

Employee engagement is a difficult concept to define. What helps to align one individual with the values and objectives of their employer might alienate another.

It’s the same for organisations. An ad agency may feel there’s nothing wrong with sharing popular memes amongst staff if it helps to encourage individuality and promote humour. A solicitor, on the other hand, might view the same behaviour as highly unprofessional. Out of interest, that’s why we advise organisations to come up with their own employee engagement definition.

Regardless, improving employee engagement is tricky. It's this very fact that makes employee surveys so invaluable for gauging mood, morale, and job satisfaction within the workplace.

With that in mind, our latest article explores the features that separate the good surveys from the bad, the benefits they confer, and how even the most negative feedback can be turned into positive drivers of organisational change.

Read next: The best employee engagement ideas and insights

What are the Chief Benefits of an Employee Survey?

No matter what industry you work in, there are manifold benefits to conducting an employee engagement survey. Before we get onto that, however, it’s worth examining certain key features.

First and foremost, though the specific questions you ask will differ depending on the size and purpose of your business, there are several critical areas of measurement that are of universal significance. The most notable include:

  • Happiness/mood
  • Opportunities for personal growth
  • Job satisfaction
  • Alignment (with company values and goals)
  • Recognition
  • Morale
  • Teamwork

Anonymity is crucial to a successful survey. It ensures feedback represents the honest, unadulterated opinions of your workforce and isn’t biased by the fear of repercussion should an employee wish to raise a specific issue or grievance.

The answers you receive will nevertheless be subjective. For that reason, establishing a simple sliding scale can be hugely beneficial when it comes to quantifying the results — so long as you actually act on them.

Taking steps to implement change based on the results of your survey demonstrates to employees that you value their thoughts. More than that, it opens up a two-way channel of communication. This makes it easier to keep everyone in your organisation connected, helps them understand how their efforts contribute to overall success, and shows that you care for their well-being; not just your profit margins. This, in turn, inspires greater commitment among those on the frontlines, whilst also improving job satisfaction, happiness, and morale.

From the employer’s perspective, employee engagement surveys allow you to both identify issues and address them proactively, before they become a serious issue. They also help you track personal development amongst your employees and make better-informed decisions when executing future change initiatives.

This combination of features supports you on your journey to achieving company goals and, ultimately, helps you push your business forward.

Use Employee Engagement Survey Results to Formulate an Action Plan

The truth is not every answer you receive to your survey will be unequivocally positive. Even if morale and job satisfaction receive good scores across the board, chances are there will be some areas that need work.

Negative feedback doesn’t have to be a tragedy, however. Nor should it be taken as a sign that there’s something fundamentally and irredeemably wrong with your business processes. In many ways, negative feedback provides the greatest opportunities to learn from your engagement surveys and formulate a comprehensive action plan. That is, if you know how to turn it to your advantage.

The most important thing to remember is not to take negative comments personally. Remove emotion from the equation. Consider the validity of the statements and see if there's any evidence to support them.

For example: someone suggests there are issues with the way company updates are dispersed. How do you check this? By looking at your systems to see how frequently they’re distributed, what the open rates are like, and if employees are acting on the information contained therein.

If you find there’s a kernel (or more than a kernel) of truth to the feedback you receive, then perhaps it’s something worth investigating further.

Likewise, make sure you give thought to all the comments you receive. Negativity bias is a well-established concept but focusing solely on the negative strips your survey of objectivity, blurring the results. That said, you shouldn’t simply dismiss or ignore negative feedback just because it contradicts your personal view of a particular matter.

Negativity BiasThe notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on processes than neutral or positive things.

Once you’ve finished collating and parsing through the results of your survey, it’s sensible to grade feedback based on the severity of the issues in order to coordinate your response as effectively as possible.

Ideally, you'll also work collaboratively with employees to identify any other problem areas not covered in the original survey. This could be via a series of one-to-ones or group sessions. In either case, this demonstrates trust in their abilities and shows that you’re willing to work with them to improve workplace conditions — for the benefit of everyone.

Support Your Efforts with a Dedicated Internal Communications App

Employee engagement surveys need to be conducted at regular intervals if you’re to gain maximum value from the feedback they produce. Sending out a blanket email once a year with a handful of generic questions simply isn’t enough in today’s workplace.

That isn’t to say that every survey must be a comprehensive questionnaire that takes an hour to fill in and twice as long to read. More condensed ‘pulse surveys’ and impromptu polls can be used to obtain a high-level view of engagement within your organisation at any time with relatively little effort.

All this information can then be analysed, and the insights gained therein incorporated into your wider internal communications strategy. Doing so will enable you to drive meaningful change throughout your business.

To learn more about employee engagement and the benefits an involved, connected workforce can bring, head over to our hub page.

Alternatively, if you’d like first-hand experience of how a dedicated internal communications app can further bolster your efforts to enhance engagement levels amongst your employees, book a free demo of our cutting-edge software.

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