Organizations can say all kinds of things without uttering a single word.
One of the most perilous is leadership’s big silent hush following an employee feedback survey.
That quiet inaction can be a real killer.
The whole purpose behind polling is to uncover information for future action planning. Earliest accounts of statistical gathering date back to ancient Babylonian times.¹ You’d think, we’d have learned how to act on data by now. Sorry to say, that’s not always the case.
In 2016 Digital Content Next reported 87% of news organizations monitor website metrics like page views or unique visitors – according to 525 editors and directors from U.S. newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites. But in many newsrooms, that’s where it stops.²
Track Records Talk
Don’t ask questions if your organization isn’t ready to hear the answers.
And definitely, don’t ask questions if your organization isn’t prepared to make plans and take action.
Numerous employee engagement studies indicate a lack of engagement survey follow-up is one of the biggest mistakes organizations make. Employees need to know their opinions matter and expect to see management act on survey results. Putting survey results on the back burner or disregarding them altogether leaves employees stewing over why they even bothered. That deafening silence is organizational self-sabotage.
What, exactly, does survey action planning look like?
- A process in which a manager discusses survey results with their workgroup. Then the group collectively selects specific issues to work on and improve (Gallup)
- Practical and manageable steps using one or any combination of approaches: Bottom Up, Top Down, Cascading, Process Owned, Survey Action Team led (CEB/Gartner)
- A series of steps, tasks, and processes that require effective coordination of people, politics, and resources; the strategic link between action and performance sits at the core, from which everything else emanates (TalentMap).
Though descriptions and methods may vary slightly, a strategic, organization-wide step-by-step process – more monumental than the survey itself – is commonly viewed as a fundamental factor. Anything less, is less than effective.
Make it Happen
More often than not, HR people find themselves spearheading efforts as change champions. This stewardship involves rallying the ranks (leaders and all); making sure the entire employee population understands their roles and responsibilities in the action planning process. It means showing employees their insights don’t vanish into thin air but rather, make things happen visibly and measurably through post-survey action planning and implementation.
“Show me the money!” Tom Cruise’s Jerry McGuire character demanded.
“Show me you heard!” is the call of your employees.
¹ The Rise of Survey Sampling 2009 – Jelke Bethlehem – Statistics Netherland Discussion Paper
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