Engagement survey: how to act on very high or very low results

Author - Morten Henriksen. Chief Customer Officer

Right now, lots of organizations are taking their own temperature using engagement surveys. Regardless of what the results show, it is important that they are addressed and followed-up on. The task may seem daunting if the results were very low – and conversely, it may seem unnecessary if the results were very high. However, it is just as important in both cases in order to continue to develop engagement and motivation at work. So, what exactly can you do if the results are either very high or very low?

The results are particularly high and perhaps even higher than the benchmark.

“Cool. Then we don’t need to work with the results, do we? We’re very pleased, and things are about as good as they can get.”

This is the way most people may react. However, the reality is that all managers and teams should work with high results and should initiate in a dialog about the results.

Work with the results – even if they are very high!
We often find that it can be more difficult to maintain a good result than to improve a poor one. So don’t think that a very high result means a free pass and that you can rest on your laurels until the next survey.

What can you do with the high results?

  1. First, you should consider how important it is for you to continue to maintain the high level and what should be further improved. Discuss how you can maintain the areas that work well.
  2. Do not limit yourselves to reflecting only on the survey questions. Other areas can pop up during the dialog which may be relevant to discuss.
  3. Find a good way to celebrate your progress when your team has worked hard to create an engaging working environment.
  4. Share your good ideas and experiences with each other – also outside the team.

It is possible to change very low results
If the results of your employee engagement survey are very low, it can be difficult to find the energy, desire, and drive to engage in a team dialog about the results. Nevertheless, it is very important that you do it and – if necessary – force yourself to find the energy to address the results.

What should you do if the results are very low?

  1. Start by putting the results in a broader context so as to correctly understand the situation. Avoid drowning in too many figures and explanations.
  2. Then, focus on specific activities/initiatives that you think can make a difference in the short term. For example, if you want to work on having better meetings, the first step could be to start the meeting on time. This is very simple and measurable for everyone.

If the satisfaction & motivation score is very low, we recommend that you involve your managers and HR to see how you can work with the results in the team going forward.
We recommend that the process following a survey that produced very low results be split into four different phases:


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Step 1: For example, if the result is 55, this is relatively low.

Step 2: Here, you will gain insight into what actually works at the moment and what gets the employees to continue their work despite the very low result.

Step 3: For instance, your goal here could be to improve the score to 75.

Step 4: Talk about what the team will look like when you have reached the goal of a score of 75. What specific signs are there that you have created an improvement?

To generate improvement – or to respond to a level that is already high – requires a common effort from the team. However, it starts with you addressing and working with the results of your employee engagement survey regardless of the level of perceived engagement.



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Morten Henriksen. Chief Customer Officer

Morten Henriksen. Chief Customer Officer

Morten Henriksen is Executive Officer and responsible for Ennovas Employee Experience area. He has 20 years of experience as a consultant for some of the largest companies in Scandinavia. He is passionate about putting data driven insights into action and securing connection to business strategies through a people first mindset.