So, you've started using employee engagement surveys to better understand your employees' engagement level, motivations, goals, and more, great! Now, what to do with employee survey results?
This is a logical question, especially given that there are so many different surveys you can perform to get insights into how your workforce is operating. (If you're still looking into performing surveys, you can take a look at our post about them here.)
No matter what surveys you've done, though, the real benefit of them is that they help you understand more about your workforce in general. With the results in hand, you can then look at how to customize your engagement plan with individual employees.
To help better understand this process, let's look at a few different ways you can use surveys.
What to Do With Employee Survey Results: Remember to Not Make Blanket Solutions
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when trying to increase their employee engagement is to implement a strategy that works "across the board."
This is never a great idea because people are fundamentally different. They are motivated by different things. They have different goals - both personally and professionally. And, most of all, by using a solution across the board you may actually turn engaged workers into less engaged ones because you are forcing them to do something that they just don't want to.
So, it's important to remember that employee engagement starts and stops with the individual employee. Your surveys should shed light on what these employees are thinking and feeling, giving you ideas to increase their engagement by fostering their talents, helping them meet their goals, and aligning more with what they want to do.
Now, of course, this can be hard. We're not saying it will be a cakewalk by any means. However, if you truly want to engage your staff, surveys are great but you need to use that data on an individual level to make a real difference. Having just one employee become more engaged is more valuable that simply ticking a box that says "we've implemented a new policy to increase employee engagement."
What to Do With Employee Survey Results: Find Hidden Talent
One of the coolest results gained from conducting employee surveys is that is allows you to find hidden talent inside your workforce.
For example, you may find that someone working in sales has a passion for graphic design and would love to work on a creative project with marketing or the product team.
By allowing that person to have a hand in that new project, you help engage them by letting them work on a passionate endeavor while also saving cost on a new hire or the services of an outside agency. This is a win-win scenario for both the company and employee, which was completely made possible by examining employee survey data.
You can also set up an employee talent marketplace, which works by having - basically - an internal job board filled with tasks. Someone who works in one department on a specific task may chime in that they really want to work on one of these projects, allowing them to develop in a meaningful way while also getting a project done.
There are many other ways you can pull this off. However, for the sake of this article, we're going to simply keep it to survey data.
What to Do With Employee Survey Results: Find Skills Gaps and Workload Problems
When conducting these surveys you may also gain insights into how well your current team is handling their projects.
Let's look at another example. Say that a team is working on designing a new product, making a campaign to launch that product, and also trying to do case studies about how the product fits into the market. This is common of a product development team. The problem can come in if someone, say, lacks the ability to create a case study.
Just because they are talented at making campaigns for the product or even creatively coming up with new products doesn't mean that they have the skills of a full product team. In fact, that's why these tasks are often delegated for each portion of the project.
When you survey your team, you may find that there are skill gaps that need filled. By not asking these questions, your product team will probably do their best to create those case studies. Will they be the best case studies? Probably not because that is one skill in and of itself.
During this process you'll likely come across people with far too heavy of a workload. The same example of the product team works here, too. That team is stretched thin, working on projects that they don't fully understand, but continue to add more to their plates.
When it comes to engagement, this happens all of the time because extremely engaged workers often want to take on more and more. While that's great for business - most of the time - it's bad for work-life balance and can lead to burn out quickly if not addressed. Surveys will help you get to the bottom of these issues.
Making Sure You Ask the Right Questions
In order to understand what to do with employee survey results, you really need to first understand what questions to ask. Sometimes, it may be okay to simply ask how engaged someone is and allow them to fill in a box or write a small paragraph to elaborate on their feelings.
But what might create more of an impact would be to have an employee list the tasks they love, the tasks they find redundant, and the tasks that they'd love to do. This way you get a picture of how their days, work load, work-life balance, development, and many other things are coming along.
As you can see, employee engagement is quite a big area of HR and management. There are a ton of different things that go into the umbrella category that is often just boiled down to engagement.
We suggest you use multiple surveys or find ways to ask employees direct questions about their jobs and tasks on a consistent basis. Doing one survey per year will probably not lead to great results, especially if you are an agile, modern company.
What to Do With Employee Survey Results: The Final Say
In the end, what you do with your employee survey results should focus on individual employees if your goal is to increase employee engagement across the board.
The results will vary quite heavily and your response to them should as well. Employee engagement is a personal thing. What makes one person feel fulfilled may not necessarily make someone else feel the same way. Because of this, ask good, direct questions, allow your employees to explain themselves, and try your best to paint the most accurate picture of their goals, wants, needs, and other things.
If you do so correctly, you'll be able to use your employee survey results in a meaningful way that increase morale, productivity, and many other things inside your organization.