Employee engagement surveys invariably surface negative or sensitive leadership issues. It’s an industry norm. A predictable key driver. And a top opportunity for improvement with relation to engaging people in their workplace environments. But when executive team members are gathered together hearing unwelcome news about themselves, a certain expression comes to mind: don’t shoot the messenger. For a 3rd party employee engagement survey specialist, that’s okay. They’ve been there; done that. They’re in the best position to deliver those kinds of results.
The nuts and bolts of interpreting survey data is not as straightforward as it might look
In addition to taking the brunt as the bearer of bad news when reporting survey results, there are a lot of advantages supporting the use of an external 3rd party when reporting survey results to an organization’s upper management. The following list was compiled by TalentMap, a leader in strategic employee engagement survey development and deployment, analysis and action planning.
Reporting Survey Results
8 Reasons to Use a 3rd Party
- Objectivity & Credibility. There’s no vested interest. A 3rd party perspective can tell it “like it is” and sometimes, rightly or wrongly, lends more credibility to the results.
- The Novelty Factor. A new voice, a new body, can change the dynamic in the boardroom, attract and keep attention and convincingly impart important messages.
- Breadth of Knowledge & Experience. For a survey professional like TalentMap, having conducted thousands of different surveys in every type of organization provides the insights, context and experiences of those other organizations, and benchmark data for comparative purposes. But an internal HR person will not have that breadth of knowledge and numbers call tell different stories. There are nuances on how to interpret numbers and apply correlations; that comes with knowledge and experience.
- Financial Implications. People make decisions based on survey findings. However, they could, conceivably, make the wrong decisions because of misinterpreted data – and that can cost a lot of money.
- Science. There’s a deep understanding of methodologies and assumptions that a DIY or casual user might not have. A 3rd party can answer questions much better about methodologies, such as factoring positive response biases into the picture, and address unusual queries like: How to interpret a neutral response of 20% to 30%? Or, what about non-responders – what do their numbers mean? Or tabulating and weighting comments?
- Sensitivity. An external employee engagement survey partner like TalentMap reviews results with the HR/survey team and sometimes the CEO (depending on the person) before the information reaches the executive team. There are discussions about corporate culture. Some organizations are very open. Others are more guarded. HR will advise what’s acceptable and what’s not. They’ll receive a copy of the presentation in advance and walk through it with the president/CEO to make sure there are no sensitivities. Recognizing openness may have to be taken in steps, and that there are so many variables relative to different functions in an organization and relative to external benchmarks – what the numbers say are couched with those variable.
- Best practices. Again, with experience, a 3rd party vendor knows what works, and what policies, programs, and practices are successful in improving engagement.
- Next Steps. Survey specialists offering action planning workshops and consulting expertise like TalentMap provide leadership in answering the key question “now what?” and talk to leadership about a process to improve engagement.
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