guide: 5 Tips for Leaders for using the data from your engagement survey

Author - Kristoffer Rye Geer

As a leader, you may be wondering how to optimally use data from your engagement survey to create value for your team. The true value of data lies in the dialogue it creates. This means that the way you and your team make sense of the data is key to turning the data into valuable actions. 

In this article I will share how to use data from your engagement survey effectively following these 5 steps:

1.    Create inclusive engagement for discussing the results.
2.    Identify and prioritize areas that need improvement.
3.    Develop a plan for addressing the issues.
4.    Communicate the plan clearly and transparently.
5.    Monitor progress and adjust as needed.

And remember, data is just the start. It's what you do with the data that matters most. For all the steps it is important to focus on creating a “fair process”. The purpose of fair process is to create inclusive engagement and build clarity about decisions. When you include your team in the change process, your organization and team achieve the best results and a positive process of change because they had a chance to shape its direction.

Why have data in the first place?

As a leader, you might be wondering what the purpose of data is when it comes to engaging with your team. The truth is that data serves as a valuable tool for qualifying your dialogue. It can help you navigate conversations and set boundaries that keep your team moving in the right direction.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that data is not a live feed from a satellite. It's more like an analogue map of the engagement landscape. Using it as a guide can be helpful, but it's important to remember that the terrain is dynamic, and you may encounter unexpected challenges. That's where the five tips come in and implementation of a fair process when navigating your team based on data.

5 important tips for you as a leader:

1. Create inclusive engagement for discussing the results

Creating a safe and open environment for discussing the results of an employee experience survey is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows team members to express their honest opinions and feelings without fear of retaliation. When employees feel safe to share their perspectives, you gain a more accurate understanding of their experiences, which can lead to more effective solutions and clearer expectations between you and your employees.

Second, an inclusive engagement encourages dialogue and fosters a sense of collaboration and involvement among team members. By engaging in a two-way conversation, you demonstrate your commitment to listening and understanding their feedback. Employees' sense of involvement is important when creating a fair process. It helps to build trust, improve communication, and strengthen the overall team dynamic.

Lastly, creating a safe and open environment can help mitigate negative feelings that may arise from survey results. Sometimes, hearing negative feedback can be difficult, but by creating a safe, transparent, and open environment, you can help employees process and understand the results in a constructive way. This can lead to a more positive outlook and a greater willingness to work towards solutions.

2. Identify and prioritize areas that need improvement

Identifying and prioritizing areas that need improvement ensures that you make the most of your survey results. Without a clear understanding of where your team is struggling, it can be difficult to implement effective solutions that drive real change.

By analyzing the survey data and identifying areas that need improvement, you can prioritize which issues to tackle first. This allows you to focus your resources and efforts on the most significant areas of need, rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Furthermore, prioritizing areas for improvement demonstrates to your team that you take their feedback seriously and are committed to addressing their concerns.

Sometimes employees are fixated on issues or conditions that are out of your control. Explain which conditions you can improve and which conditions are out of your control. If your team understands what is possible to improve and what is not from the start of the dialogue, you will save a lot of time in this step identifying and prioritizing focus areas. This will create a fair process with more transparent decision-making which, in turn, builds trust in management decisions.

By facilitating a fair process when prioritizing focus areas, you can boost team morale and engagement by showing that their voices are being heard and that you are actively working to improve the conditions you can influence.

3. Develop a plan for addressing the issue

Without a clear plan of action, it can be challenging to make meaningful improvements that address the root causes of the issues identified.
When developing a plan, it's important to involve your team members in the process. By engaging your team in the planning process, you gain valuable insights and perspectives that can help ensure your solutions are effective and sustainable. Focus on transparency and involvement creates a fair process and builds a more positive employee attitude towards the quality of the management and trust in management decisions.

This can also help build buy-in and commitment from your team members, as they feel invested in the process and are more likely to share knowledge and be motivated to implement the solutions developed.

It's also important to set clear goals and timelines for implementing the solutions developed. This can help keep you and your team accountable for making progress towards the desired outcomes. Additionally, regularly checking in on progress and adjusting your approach as needed can help ensure that your solutions are effective and sustainable in the long term.

4. Communicate the plan clearly and transparently

After you have decided on some development areas and planned how to improve, communication is the next step. When communicating the plan, it is important that you communicate using the three principles of fair process by explaining the rationale behind each decision and how it will address the specific issues identified.

Transparency is key when communicating the plan. Once you make a decision, explain how you got there, so everyone understands the goals, timelines, and expectations. Be honest and upfront about any challenges or limitations that may arise during the process. This will create expectation clarity for moving forward and how the changes have implications for the employees. Make the implicit explicit, and lay out what will be different and challenging.

5. Monitor progress and adjust as needed

Monitoring progress and adjusting as needed is the final step in ensuring that the solutions developed are effective and sustainable. It's important to set up regular check-ins and progress reviews to ensure that progress is being made towards the goals outlined in the plan.

During these check-ins, it's important to involve your team and be receptive to feedback. They may have valuable insights and perspectives that can help refine and improve the solutions developed.

If adjustments need to be made to the plan, it's important to communicate these changes to your team members in accordance with the principles of fair process. This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and boosts commitment to the process.

use survey data to drive action

In conclusion, conducting an employee engagement survey is only the beginning. The true value of the data lies in how you and your team make sense of it and use it to create positive change. By following the 5 tips listed in this article, you can use the survey data to drive action and create real value for your team and organization.

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Kristoffer Rye Geer

Kristoffer Rye Geer

Kristoffer is an organizational psychologist who specializes in strategic people processes. He has coached over 200 leaders in Danish and international organizations. Kristoffer's coaching approach is grounded in data, and he utilizes data-driven methods to help his clients set achievable goals and make measurable progress towards them.