Communicating Employee Engagement Survey Results

Rachel McLoughlin

Employees participate in engagement surveys because they want their views and ideas to be heard. But if you don’t effectively communicate with them post-survey, the whole purpose of engagement is lost. And in fact, the whole process can backfire and create disengagement if employees are left feeling their opinions are being ignored. Communicating the results of your surveys is vital to the survey process and doing it right will help you close the loop and ensure your people feel valued. 


Here’s what to do after you measure:

Say thank you

If you sent out a survey, send employees a thank you note for completing it. You can send a simple note of thanks acknowledging you appreciate them taking the time to give you honest feedback. You may also want to organise an event to celebrate participation and convey your appreciation. Remember timeliness matters so follow up sooner than later.


Communicate themes

Full analysis of the results takes time, however you can usually identify a few key themes relatively quickly. Communicate these themes (positive ones as well as less favourable ones) and be transparent. As part of this, pay attention to the comments sections and provide examples as appropriate. By providing specific information early you communicate that the responses matter to you. Some automated surveys provide instant averaging information that can be communicated directly to the employee once the survey is complete.


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Connect employee experience to the results

When the full analysis is complete you will likely produce some fancy graphs and dashboards with all the results neatly compiled. And while these are helpful for communicating aggregate data clearly and succinctly, your communication process needs to help employees connect the dots between their personal experience and the overall survey results. You can do this using a cascading approach to communication:

  • Townhalls – start with this form of communication to ensure everyone hears the same message and convey that leaders are interested in and accountable for the results. Record these sessions or use webinars to facilitate remote workers.
  • Focus Groups – gather smaller groups of people to discuss and digest the survey results. This provides an opportunity for people to delve deeper into the issues and it allows managers to clarify what the issues really are.
  • Manager one-on-ones – this is an important element of communication as it allows people to go beyond the aggregate results and engage in honest conversations about their personal experience. If an employee sees that the survey indicated an overall concern with career progression opportunities or a lack of recognition they are far more likely to open up about how the results reflect their own workplace experience. This level of openness is vital to the communication process and helps employees understand what’s in for them as changes are implemented.


Focus your action

The survey results may reveal a large number of issues that you want to address – pick a few to start with so you don’t overwhelm yourself or the team. This allows you to make concrete action plans for the two or three items you choose to focus on and increases your ability to undertake real and meaningful change. Embrace continuous improvement in incremental stages to maximise your effectiveness and communicate actions and results as they happen.


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Don't forget the positives

Survey results yield both strengths and opportunities and the temptation is to focus on what you could be doing better. And while this is an important element, use the results to celebrate your wins as well. A balanced message encourages people to remain positive while challenges are being addressed.


Engage employees in the solutions

You asked the questions and listened to the responses - now you want to solve the problem. Too often this means leaders going off, deciding what should be done, and then leaving it to team managers to make the required changes. A better approach is to directly engage employees to come up with solutions. When your people are involved in problem-solving as well as problem-identifying they are more likely to be change agents and advocates.


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Follow up and repeat
Continuously follow up with members of your team to see how things are going, and if there’s anything you need to do to readjust and realign on the goal. In the end, you want employees to be happy, so keep checking in with them to see if they are. Repeat the process over and over. This isn’t a one-shot deal, engagement takes time and will always evolve, so it’s really important to stay agile.

Employee engagement surveys provide a great many insights into employee experience.  How you communicate with your people afterwards is key to ensuring you continue to receive valuable feedback moving forward. Think of engagement as a constant loop where ongoing, open, honest communication is what keeps the loop in motion and ensures your participation rates in future surveys remains high.


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