The Art of Communicating Employee Survey Results by Survey Type

The Art of Communicating Employee Survey Results by Survey Type

Table of Contents

There’s a lot to consider when communicating employee survey results to your workforce. Is there a right way to share findings specific to a survey you’ve already deployed or plan to run in the future? How can you be more confident in your organization’s approach when it comes to closing the feedback loop?

For starters, when asked for opinions through employee feedback surveys we all want to see proof that we’ve been heard.

Survey storytelling is what gives volume and clarity to the voice of employees. The thing is, Marshal McLuhan’s observation: “The medium is the message” rings truer today than when the phrase was introduced in 1965. We live and work in a time of on-demand information. Our blended workforces are diverse, multigenerational, and frequently able to choose where and when they work. So we need to figure out how to acknowledge employee opinion survey results and talk about findings in a medium or way that clicks.

One size doesn’t fit all. But it’s super easy to get those survey stories in front of your employee population when you have the right communication strategies and tools.

Communicating Employee Engagement Survey Results, Engagingly

The real art of communication is knowing how to interpret and report survey results in an engaging manner.

The picture you paint starts with the kind of survey that’s been issued and the sorts of communication methods that bring color and depth to the conversation.  Communicating the aggregate findings of an organization-wide Employee Engagement survey is different from reporting on a department or region’s moment-in-time employee pulse survey, or sharing employee feedback survey findings with a leader managing a team of five people or more, or announcing the results of a quick employee opinion survey about feelings towards a new virtual office app under consideration.


Strategies and Tools for Different Survey Types and Different Types of People

Configure leader access to surveys by survey type

Introducing different survey types into your people strategy is the best way to learn what employees are thinking and feeling. And by communicating results in different ways, you ensure the data collected:

  • gets the attention it deserves
  • shows employees their feedback is being heard
  • triggers action from the people most able to make changes

Survey tools today let you choose who you want to answer your survey. For instance, you could choose all employees for a company-wide engagement survey, or you could limit it to employees from a specific region, who are facing a newly introduced process.

Better yet today’s tools also let you give people leaders access to survey results. Customized confidentiality thresholds and permissions managed by you – for the type of survey reports leaders can see and use – all become part of your survey communication strategy.

Employee Survey Communication is a Two-Way Exchange

Frequent employee pulse surveys are a perfect way for people to express their opinions in real-time (from hire to retire). And for organizations to receive, listen and act in response.

Adding the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) to frequent employee feedback surveys keeps employee sentiment front and center. Regularly sharing eNPS results lets everyone keep a pulse on this critical loyalty measurement as it relates to their teams as employees and their actions as leaders.

Layering the insights of multiple surveys over different topics, timelines, locations and other factors is an excellent way to communicate where progress is being made or lost.

  • Sort and display, prioritize and report “key factors” that highlight other Employee Engagement measurement scores
  • Communicate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) sentiment across demographic data or different equity-seeking groups
  • Build engagement insights into pulse surveys
  • Correlate DE&I with other employee feedback survey insights like hiring, retention and career growth.

The more your organization knows about employee sentiment and the more it’s shared with timely transparency the more likely people will be to stick around, and to be enriched, happy, and engaged.

Eight Ways to Communicate Different Employee Survey Results

Here are eight recommendations to set you off on the right survey communication path

  1. VISUAL PRESENTATIONS help to communicate employee survey results with clarity and credibility. The human brain can interpret images  60,000 times faster  than text because more than 93% of all human communication is visual. The more graphs, charts, and other visual aids used, the better.This is an excellent approach for presenting quick, at-a-glance pulse survey outcomes as well as the more complex, correlated data that comes out of Employee Engagement surveys. Information is fast and easy to grasp. For everyone.
  2. TOWN HALLS are a great communication mechanism so that everyone hears and understands the results from the same position.Webinars and videos are similarly effective options especially for telecommuters, people who work flex hours, and those simply too busy to attend in person.Whether live-streamed, delivered by webinar or video, this kind of survey communication should be mobile-device friendly for your millennial and GenZ populations and others accustomed to getting information from their devices.It’s a broad-brush-stroke communication method particularly effective for conveying a high-level summary of Employee Engagement survey results.
  3. LEADER ACCESS TO DATA combined with increased employee survey frequency, in real-time, is a game-changer.There’s no real advantage for employee survey data to first go to HR for filtering. The voice of employees needs to be heard directly by the source that has arguably the biggest impact on the workplace experience: leaders and managers. HR’s job is to make that happen.Increasing numbers of organizations are using intuitive real-time reporting systems with unlimited options for powerful trending insights.
    1. Role or division-based dashboards for executive and HR leaders easily identify high-potential or problem areas by comparing and ranking feedback across different parts of the organization or by using any correlation of data imaginable.
    2. Manager reports make it quick and simple for managers to see insights and sentiments from their direct reports and hierarchies. Additionally, accountability levels rise when managers know their team scores are visible and being monitored at higher levels.An Interact survey showed that a stunning majority (69%) of managers said they’re uncomfortable communicating with employees. People leaders who have personal access to survey data are better informed and in a stronger position to be communicating employee survey results with confidence.Relative trending insights – the kind of people analytics where leaders and managers can see the impact of their actions – also increases a sense of responsibility.If a division leader gets feedback that indicates stress is on the rise, for instance, they can put out a message to their team saying “Hey, we heard you. We realize stress levels are high and we have a couple more questions about it. Oh, and by the way, here are a couple of things we did last month….”  The impact this communication has on employees is considerable. It’s not unreasonable to imagine people thinking, “Wow! They’re listening to me. I’m going to continue to give my feedback.”
  4. OPEN-ENDED COMMENT REPORTING used to be difficult to compile when dealing with tens or hundreds or thousands of responses. In combination with AI and Natural Language Processing, word clouds have become a highly visual communications tool that pulls out themes and pertinent comments for deeper discussions.Most people are invested in their companies and want to share their observations and suggestions for positive change. Using an open-ended communication tool is well suited to Employee Engagement surveys. Concepts become clearer when quantitative scores are qualified by personal comments.For similar reasons, open-ended comment reporting is equally effective for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or Health and Wellness surveys. Business-critical employee surveys about change management events like Mergers and Acquisitions – topics bound to stir up lots of discussion – are well served by this form of reporting and communication.
  5. FOCUS GROUPS are a viable listening mechanism for deeper Employee Engagement discussions where smaller, more intimate groups of people from across the organization can express how they feel and why, in ways a survey can’t. This approach provides an opportunity to delve into common themes and search for root causes. It’s particularly effective when clarity is needed around certain Employee Engagement scores and subsequent action planning.
  6. ANONYMOUS CONVERSATION  technology is a two-way dialogue breakthrough in employee survey communication.When employees fill out open-ended questions without receiving any kind of acknowledgment, it seems as if no one’s reading their comments. On the flip side, management’s hands are tied when it comes to acting on employee feedback if they don’t understand and can’t circle back for clarity.More and more companies are enabling leaders in their organization to read, acknowledge and respond to comments – while keeping the identity of the employee completely anonymous.  A quick comment shows an employee that people are listening, motivates strong participation rates in future surveys, and gives managers the opportunity to solicit more information to guide their actions. This tool is appropriate for most survey types and makes qualitative survey results come to life.
  7. EMPLOYEE REAL-TIME ACCESS is a giant communication leap when it comes to sharing survey results. When an employee finishes a full-scale engagement, smaller pulse, or one-time opinion survey you can give them the real-time ability to see the averages from everyone that’s responded to the survey already (rather than waiting days, weeks, or yikes—months – to hear filtered findings). This is an appealing employee feedback feature for today’s instant-information on-demand world.
  8. POST SURVEY COMMUNICATION – CELEBRATE SUCCESSES by making a big deal about what’s been changed and what’s been achieved, especially since the last survey. Give a shout-out to people who have made a difference (even the little steps) in blog posts, employee gatherings and internal communication platforms.Show employees they’re making an impact so they build confidence in offering feedback.  And remember, when it comes to your business leaders, they’re employees too. Focus on a better experience for them when it comes to receiving (and using) feedback.