Monday, February 9, 2009

Giving Feedback After the Feedback

Last week, I was asked a great question by one of our current clients.  They had just received employee survey results and are getting ready to share those results with the employees.  We told them they should do that, so they are.  Then, very smartly, they asked, "What are best practices for giving employee survey results back to employees?"  Wow, good question.  We told them to communicate results, but we didn't say HOW to do that.  So here are some best practices around employee communications regarding employee surveys:

1) Timing-Be sure to go back to the employees as soon as possible after the survey results have been compiled.
2) Cascading-In our experience, we have seen cascading results from the top down is very effective and important.  In other words you can start with all employee meetings but make sure the results are discussed in department level meetings as well.  This is where ACTION takes place
3) Keep the conversation going-If though your data analysis you find a low score in let's say communication for example, you need to uncover what made that score low.  You must try to get to cause and effect, diagnosing the actual problem and what is causing communications to be ineffective.  Smaller focus groups are a great way to get at this information.  Surveys can uncover an issue, but then you must put on your detective hats, to get to root causes. 
4) KISS-keep the feedback simple.  So many times employees are overwhelmed with too many charts and graphs and lose the real meaning behind the data.  The data tells a story, tell it simply. 
5) Action plans-when appropriate let employees know what you plan on doing about the data.  This may take some time to formulate, but at least let employees know you are "working on it."
6) Say, thank you for participating-  Simple but necessary.  Just by embarking on a survey, we set an expectation that results will be shared.  In other words, you have asked our opinion, now tell me what you have heard and plan to do. 

Too many times, we have seen clients execute surveys and not do anything after the results.  The next year, we go back and do the survey again...same results or decreased from the prior year.  You must do something to get different results and the biggest part of that is communicating those results to the people that can change results!

Thoughts?  Any other best practices?
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