‘Work begins not ends with survey results.’
Active circulation of survey results is a tool for driving meaningful dialogue within an organisation and an opportunity to demonstrate that time spent completing questionnaires has not been wasted.
Once employees have contributed their time and thoughts, they will want to know that they’ve been heard.
It’s important to present the results and accompanying messages in an engaging way that employees can understand and will take the time to digest.
Consider these 10 points before sharing the results of your next employee survey:
Timing is everything
Strike while the iron is hot, acting quickly whilst you’ve got people on board and questions are fresh in the mind. You should also consider that the longer the gap between collating the data and delivering the results, the greater the chance of perceived underhand activity like spin doctoring. This could leave employees harbouring a belief that managers don’t listen or aren’t taking their feedback seriously. The sooner you release results, the sooner you can lay rumours to rest and maintain control of your message.
Make results vibrant, engaging and transparent
‘Vision trumps all other senses.’ That’s rule #10 of John Medina’s Brain Rules. All 12 rules are based on fact – what scientists know for sure about how our brains work. ‘We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.’
Employees can be swamped by data, struggling to interpret it correctly whilst separating the critical stuff from the less important. People need information to be delivered in an appealing and memorable way that’s easy to understand. If you’re in need of some inspiration for your visuals, it’s a good idea to explore how other sectors and industries are presenting survey results.
Brain Rule #4 – ‘We don’t pay attention to boring things!’
We work with The Wow Company, transforming the results of their annual surveys and making them vibrant and easy to interpret. The Benchpress Report is conducted amongst creative agencies to share key trends, stats and averages about business growth and is a great example of how facts and figures can be presented in an engaging way. Take a look, gather some inspiration and bring your results to life!
Less is more
Considering the previous point, information overload presents a constant dilemma for many organisations. Keep the process of sharing results streamlined, focus on the key issues and be strict with the level of content you publish and share. You can always make a full version available, sharing the finer detail on the intranet or in a separate publication for those who want it.
Avoid jargon and complex terms
Keep the language simple as terminology used in different geographical locations or certain areas of the business may not be universally understood. Employees may feel uncomfortable about admitting they don’t understand technical terms and may miss key messages as a result.
Tailor reporting for your varied audiences
Senior management will need a summary and access to detailed results for the whole organisation as well as differences between divisions or departments. Department heads will need to know how their division compares to the organisation as a whole and how departments in their division compare to each other. Employees will need the facts presented simply and without bias. The key here is complete transparency at all levels – everyone is an employee after all.
Support managers to communicate the results
Many organisations will issue a high-level results report and then look to local manager to cascade the information in more detail. This is a great opportunity to support managers and to ensure that the report process is handled correctly. Consider issuing managers with basic packs, toolkits or guidance notes, highlighting the central messages agreed by senior leaders.
Determine your distribution methods
Consider the different channels that will be used to share your data. It may be suitable to ask employees how they’d like to receive the results as part of the initial survey.
Usually the most powerful approach is to have leaders directly communicate the results via a town hall style meeting or videoconference, often supported by a digital or printed version of the report. If employees work in numerous or remote locations or on different shifts, a series of meetings or roadshows could be held to include everyone. If this option is not feasible, a good alternative is to have top leaders share the results with managers who in turn share them with their supervisors and employees.
Put the numbers into perspective – the good, the bad and the ugly
Include an executive overview that summarises and simplifies the complex information, clearly detailing the headlines and key messages. Make sure this comes from the CEO or similar leader to demonstrate support and buy-in at the highest level of the organisation.
Be sure to include the more challenging results as well as the positive outcomes – present all the facts, warts and all. There will be some things that just can’t be changed but you can build trust amongst employees by explaining the reasons why.
Celebrate good news
Take time to call out the positive results and improvements achieved throughout the year. The simple act of acknowledging accomplishments can have a big impact on morale and, ultimately, engagement itself.
Be proactive and seek support
Once the results have been shared, request input for action steps to work on areas requiring improvement or outline steps or processes that will be implemented to address shortcomings. Encourage employees to share responsibility for coming up with ideas so they contribute the outcome. Determine what success or improvement looks like in specific and measurable terms.
We wrote an article last year that explored the different methods of sharing business performance updates. Here you’ll find further suggestions, inspiration and best practice ideas directly from internal communicators for a number of different methods being employed to share information. From the use of simple traffic light designs to the idea of holding team workshops to explore the results together, you’ll find loads of really effective ideas.
Have you implemented successful methods to share your employee survey results? Tweet us @Alivewithideas with your comments.