Where Survey Data and Open-Ended Employee Feedback Meet


How do you make sense of employee feedback from open-ended survey questions? And does this kind of feedback really help pinpoint key engagement drivers?

After all, it’s not uncommon for an employee engagement survey to rack up hundreds of pages of comments.

And having someone from your organization toil through massive numbers of text responses across nine or 10 or 12 different drivers of engagement is absurd.

Regardless, open-ended employee feedback is a veritable gold mine of information that helps you better understand the best ways to improve employee engagement.

“Thankfully those days are long past,” says Kathy Labrecque, Vice President of Human Resources, who notes employee feedback reports from TalentMap come in a format that’s much easier to digest and far more useable.

The text analytics and data mining expertise of survey firms like TalentMap identify and quantify themes to bring clarity to employee engagement issues.

When MD Financial Management first started getting employee engagement survey results, findings came with a ton of comments – some 400 pages give or take.

As a rule, HR professionals already have a good idea of what the issues are across their organizations. Employee engagement surveys draw attention to those issues – in data format.

A solid text analysis of employee comments drills down deeper into those areas – pinpointing why and where an organization’s time and energy would be well spent.

Take compensation as a for instance:

Statistically, an organization’s survey data intended to improve employee engagement might rank compensation low on the satisfaction scale.

However, a respondent might comment how they love their organization but would like to see better vision coverage and prefer more vacation days over a higher salary.

This one respondent’s comments point to a theme around improved benefits with sub-themes related to vision care and vacation.

It also suggests general satisfaction with compensation.

If further analysis of employee feedback finds these observations are shared by a good number of others, a somewhat different story begins to surface.

Captured in themes and infographics:

  • employee feedback reveals reasons behind high or low scores that aren’t explained by the numbers themselves
  • provide tangible information at enterprise and department levels and
  • bring more clarity to issues.

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