your first employee engagement survey results are in. now what?

Demian Rosenthal | July 27, 2021

You have run your very first pulse survey with your team and received feedback from your people. But what should you do next?

As a leader, it may be tempting to immediately jump into action planning mode and set clear goals for improvement. However, before you start implementing ambitious initiatives, it is essential that you spend some time reflecting on the results to ensure you fully understand its implications. Otherwise, you might risk causing as many new problems as you are attempting to fix.

We often rely on our intuition when it comes to our people matters, when we would really require just the same thoughtful mindset we use when developing our company’s annual financial budget.

By following the 5 steps below, you can ensure that you reap the benefits from your first employee engagement survey, and set yourself up for success right from the start through introducing a culture of safety, trust and transparency.

1. (Positive!) Feedback is the Breakfast for Champions – Leave the rest for lunch

With your first employee engagement survey results in front of you, it is tempting to skip right past all the positive, green results and go searching for the negative, red results. After all, you didn’t run the survey to hear what’s great but to find out what can be done better. But try and resist the temptation to skip the positive feedback and ensure that you spend some time celebrating successes.

2. Be kind to yourself

I still remember my first pulse survey results that I received from my team. I was shocked as to why I did not pick up on some of the issues raised. What did this say about me as a leader and about my relationship with my team? How could I have missed this?

But it is all too common for leaders to overestimate their ability to judge team engagement levels. Don’t take the results personal. You are not after good results, but honest feedback and any point is a great starting point for improvement! Make sure to frame the results as an opportunity for development and growth, both with yourself and the team.

3. Seek Support

With your first engagement survey results in, you are determined to hit the ground running and to make sure that you get the team on track. While this enthusiasm is understandable, we would encourage you to slow down and proceed deliberately and with intention. Ideally, you would have your first pulse results debriefed by a Team Development Specialist who will help you make sense of the results and ensure that any actions and interventions address the key issues. If you don’t have access to a professional practitioner, you might want to consider talking to your boss or an OD/HR practitioner within your organisation. Finally, you should not shoulder the entire burden on your own. Instead, make sure that the team collectively takes ownership of the engagement survey results and any action points that are agreed on.

4. Provide Transparent Communication

You can be sure that your team is just as curious about the survey results as you were. It is therefore important to communicate immediately email your team, thanking them for taking the time to provide honest feedback. Make clear, what the team can expect as a next step. Are you debriefing the results individually in a 1-on-1 session or are you getting an internal or external facilitator to debrief the results and set some clear goals? By being transparent about your next steps, you alleviate any fear and uncertainty the team might hold around the results and how they might be used.

5. Keep it Going

While a snapshot on your teams vital signs is a great starting point, make sure your team development journey does not end here. Just as you wouldn’t fly a plane without a dashboard, you should not lead your team blind. Keeping a finger on the pulse of your team will ensure that you can deal with issues around team wellbeing, engagement and productivity proactively.

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