How to Roll Out Survey Results

You successfully administered an employee listening survey: Congrats! 

  • The survey has closed.  
  • The data is ready for review.

…What now?? 

While many organizations get stuck during the transition from survey to action, taking some simple steps will help you build momentum. 

Thank employees – Make sure employees across the organization know that the survey has closed and that their feedback is valuable. Assure them that their feedback – once parsed – will directly inspire organizational action. 

Prepare managers – If you haven’t yet done so, provide managers with training and guidance about how to handle challenging feedback. Recognizing feedback as a gift and a starting point for ongoing improvements is transformational; feeling as though feedback is a criticism or a grade leads to hurt feelings, retributory behaviors, and stalled progress.  

Importantly, this can’t be lip service: leadership and HR need to support managers in handling and growing from critical feedback rather than penalizing them for it. 

Determine the order of your roll out – “Results” can mean a few things: organization-wide, team-based, or filtered by department or demographic. Some organizations open the floodgates, making results available to the entire organization at once. Others prefer to take a strictly hierarchical approach, releasing results to leaders, then managers, then employees. Still others mix their options, sharing a few organizational data points broadly and then sharing specific data in a hierarchical way.  

While our EX team typically recommends releasing results to everyone as soon as possible, each approach has merit. When determining your rollout, take into account:

  • Managers’ experience handling feedback – will they need time to process, absorb, and recover from challenging data? 
  • The company’s culture: Will the company benefit more from broad, immediate feedback or do they need a few pulses to understand the value of results and trends. 

One additional consideration: be stringent about confidentiality. For example, if a manager only has one direct report, it may be best not to share that individual’s responses with them and instead share the next level (or several levels) up so that feedback remains confidential. Most survey tools automate this, but if your organization takes an analog approach, you will need to take extra care. 

Avoid analysis paralysis – Don’t get mired in numbers! It’s tempting to look at feedback from every angle and to try to create a narrative around it before sharing or taking action. Our EX experts challenge companies not to do this and to release results as they are. 

Communicate regularly – Throughout the rollout process, continue to communicate the following messages: 

To managers:

  • Feedback is a gift, do not think of it as a judgment but as a starting point from which you can take action. 
  • Review the feedback with your teams, talk about it regularly, and choose a few places your team can start to make small changes 

 To employees:

  • Thank you for providing feedback. Here is how you can give continued feedback. Here is how the company will leverage the data 
  • Review the feedback with your managers, have regular conversations, and suggest a few places your team can start to make small changes. 

Check in regularly with organizational and team leaders to identify the small changes they are choosing to make as a result of feedback. Communicate those actions broadly and often – to leadership, team leaders, and employees – so that future listening initiatives continue to gain traction. 

If you need support with this, or any element of employee experience, reach out to HRIZONS EX here

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