The Real Danger in Ignoring Employee Feedback Survey Results

by Sabrina Son on May 8, 2015 8:00:00 AM

iStock_000038714442_SmallYou’ve completed your latest employee feedback survey, gathered the responses, and analyzed the results. So you might be wondering, what’s next?

Successful organizations harness the power of employee surveys to help boost engagement, improve culture, and streamline day-to-day activities. They succeed because they follow through on the results of those surveys.

Taking the pulse of your employees is important in itself, but your decision to check in with employees might backfire if you fail to either share those results openly or fail to follow up on them.

A BlessingWhite survey discovered the following:

  • 24% of employees reported being disengaged when they took a survey with no follow-up

  • 19% of employees reported being disengaged when their company took no action

Taking a survey and failing to act on it might actually be more harmful than not surveying them in the first place. The other dangers include:

Increased Cynicism

Think of it from the employee’s standpoint. If you’ve asked them to share their concerns and offer feedback, then ignore what they tell you … well, you’re just paying lip service to their opinions.

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If engagement levels are already low in your organization, this lack of action might foster a cycle of cynicism that’s hard to break. You also run the risk of alienating employees who may otherwise be engaged in the workplace. When survey time rolls around next year, you’ll have trouble churning out participation and soliciting honest responses even from otherwise engaged employees.

In contrast, Gallup research shows that action planning after a survey has a direct and measurable impact on employee engagement. When positive changes come out of surveys, employees become increasingly more engaged in the following years.

Employees Feel Left Out

Your employees want to be part of the solution. In fact, our Employee Engagement Survey found that one in five responses from employees included a suggestion, meaning organizations can easily crowdsource ideas from their employees.

When you fail to follow through, however, you not only leave employees out of the communication loop but also remove them from the decision-making process.

Even if your management team has a plan of action, don’t forget to tell your employees about it — or invite them to the table. Make them part of the action plan by asking follow-up questions on areas where there’s room for improvement. For example: “We scored low on communication — what are some ways we can improve that?”

No Positive Change

This seems like an obvious one, but by maintaining the status quo, you could be leaving big concerns unanswered. The result? Things remain the same, and the survey yields no concrete outcomes that can be measured in the future.

The entire point of checking in with your employees is to get insight into what’s working and what isn’t. Even if 90% of the responses are positive, you can still focus on addressing the 10% that weren’t and see improvement. Following up on even the smallest issues not only shows your dedication to making things better but can also yield better results for your organization as a whole.

Employee surveys are great for identifying both the good and the bad, but they are most effective in the follow-up period. Respond to the results with an action plan — and you’ll be taking real advantage of this analytical tool.



Free Guide to Pulsing Employee Surveys

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This post was written by Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the managing editor for the TINYpulse blog. A Seattle native, she loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

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