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Share Employee Feedback to Build Trust

Thanks to reading Chapter 11, you’re now on board with making sure all managers are part of the survey review process. But you can’t stop there. Company culture doesn’t belong to just you and senior managers. It belongs to everyone in the organization. So share survey responses with everyone to make sure each and every member of your team has a vested interest in fostering a positive, collaborative culture.

Warren Winch of Watson & Winch, a telecommunications franchise, said that doing an online survey is a "great way to stay in touch with all levels of your team. It helps you make decisions regarding the team on actual data rather than gut feel.” Warren also appreciates the need to share that data with his employees: "I also love the way it forces you to have regular conversations about staff engagement rather than just talk about needing to talk about staff engagement—It forces you to implement actions.”


Survey feedback will show you the good and the bad in your organization. Though you may want to only share positive responses, you’ll be better off being completely candid about all the feedback you receive.

We found in our Employee Engagement research that there is an incredible correlation between employees’ self-reported happiness and management transparency. Also remarkable is research from labor scholar Warren Bennis. In his recent book, he cites a 2005 study finding that the top 27 companies considered "most transparent" beat the S&P 500 by 11.3%.

Sharing data from surveys is a simple way to demonstrate transparency and to start engaging employees. It demonstrates an openness to tackle even the toughest of questions and address even the most minute employee concern.


The traditional employee survey happened every year, took up to an hour to complete, and often took months for a manager to review. Given how vital employee engagement levels are for an organization, this approach only hurts your business.

With the advent of online surveys, this issue can disappear. Lightweight, automated surveys allow for extremely fast answer collection, meaning you can begin analyzing results quickly and begin sharing them with your team.

Stay committed to a regular sharing timeline, and keep yourself accountable by publicizing this timeline when you first introduce your employees to the survey (see an example of this introductory email in Chapter 1).


To effectively share survey results, you’ll need to present findings in a way that allows employees to easily understand those findings. Follow our four steps outlined below to get your employees on board and part of the process.


  1. Prescreen results: Review all data ahead of time to make sure it doesn’t reveal information that’s embarrassing or offensive to another employee.

  2. Set it so you don’t forget it: Make sure to set up a convenient time to review survey data when most, if not all, participants can gather and discuss the findings.

  3. Transparent conversation: Use the findings to begin a healthy discussion of problems, not a jumping-off point for accusations or witch-hunting. One good way to initiate this is to discuss all the good points highlighted in the feedback and recognition portion.

  4. Determine next steps: Be sure to create an action plan to follow up on issues.

Leaders who follow this process regularly may find it challenging at first but will see changes rather quickly. Like changing eating habits or exercise, doing something new feels like a burden at first. But increasing collaboration, transparency, and communication in a regular, visible way transforms company culture.

Client: Leading advertising technology company
Challenge: How best to engage employees to collaboratively solve issues

Story: A B2B agency focused on optimizing digital media placements wanted to make sure that employees were truly on board with regularly providing survey feedback. As a small company, our client was especially invested in retaining employees because it knew that losing any given person would be a major blow to the organization.

After educating its staff about the process and what to expect, our client created a biweekly company lunch in which survey feedback was shared.

Interestingly, rather than always leading the discussion, our client’s CEO made sure that a team member was chosen every week to read the survey results and guide the team’s discussion. By empowering employees to be actively part of the process, our client was able to not just get employees to respond regularly to surveys but also take an active role in developing and implementing improvements based on survey feedback. At the end of the day, it’s not the CEO’s culture but everyone’s culture, so reinforce that even in how you discuss feedback.

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