Taking action
on employee feedback

Engagement and Productivity Certification Series

Table of Contents

So your organization just finished administering an employee engagement survey. As a manager within the organization, now what do you do? Are you prepared to communicate the survey results to your team? How about creating an action plan for improvement? If you answered no to any of these questions, don’t panic. You’re on the right track.

Below, we’ll cover how to communicate with your team and build an action plan to address concerns around employee engagement.

Understand and communicate results.

Analyzing objective people data uncovers issues that aren’t obvious, which allows you to quickly and effectively take action. That’s why understanding this data is so vital. But with so much data at once, where do you start? Now that you have the results, break them down by four factors: 
Magnitude, Relevance, Breadth, and Repetition.

Let’s say the response “I feel respected by the people I work with” comes back and your team’s engagement score is much lower than your organization. For the organization it might not be a big deal but as a manager on this team, you’ll need to address why there is a large discrepancy.

If not, tackle others first and circle back to this one later. You should also consider your audience. For example, is this something that only lower performers are struggling with. If so, it might not be the issue to tackle right away if there are others affecting high performers.

An average employee engagement score may not be concerning if it reflects a small percentage of the overall company, but if 90 percent of employees are less engaged than you’d like, this may be a systemic problem.

Look at your data and try to find repetition. Look for patterns or a theme. Is this a problem that happens again and again? If so, you’ll want to figure out the “why” and address it.

Take the time to review each question and determine where your strengths and blindspots are based on those four factors. Now it’s time to discuss with the team. Be prepared to show the results, but don’t insist on which topic needs to be addressed. These meetings should be more of a discussion rather than an announcement. Ask the team to share honest feedback about the results. This conversation will lead to the underlying factors that make up why your team might be engaged or disengaged in various areas. Remember, don’t get caught up in the numerical values of your scores. You’re reviewing these results to help facilitate a dialogue with your team to identify where to start.

Fight the urge to come up with action items right away during this initial meeting. Although it may be tempting to try and fix everything, this just isn’t possible. It also shouldn’t be the main focus right now. Your main objective is to bring awareness to not only the concerns identified in the survey but also any positive feedback.

Let software do the work:

If you have a tool like PI’s Employee Experience Survey, you’ll even get clear insights into what survey questions had a higher impact on engagement and how your team feels in comparison to the overall organization.

Build an action plan.

Take some time for the team to reflect on the initial conversation and survey results. When the team meets again, it’s now time to come up with an action plan. What are the potential challenges that had the biggest impact on the team? Select one of the most important to work on. Once again, start small and don’t try to solve everything at once.

As a team, determine how you can take this challenge and turn it into an actionable goal. Think about what success looks like from a high level. For example, your team members may identify that processes and procedures are an obstacle in their day-to-day work lives. Have the team describe not only what is currently blocking them but what they would deem a successful workflow. Keep your team focused on achievable goals throughout the process. You want to break these into small steps so there can be clear signs of improvement and milestones to monitor progress.

Once the meeting is over, you should now have the goals, strategies, and tactics to help achieve desired results. Next, use the 1/3/5 approach to formalize this into an action plan that the team can follow. List out what you will do and when you’ll hold each other accountable. Having a documented plan will allow you to promote visibility to not only your team but others throughout the organization.

Address states of engagement and performance.

Remember that engagement and performance are not always directly linked. An employee or team can be performing well but not engaged with the work they’re doing. Or perhaps they’re very engaged but just not performing as well as required for the role. Your plan should consider the following four combinations, shown in the activity below:

Try it out! 

Knowing yourself as a leader will also help when coming up with plans around performance and engagement. For example, say you’re a Producing leader who has a high performer that is not engaged. Your first reaction might be to say that’s OK for now because, from a metrics perspective, things are going well. But this can lead to serious implications down the road. Try tracking metrics around engagement as you measure employee performance. If it’s important to your organization’s culture, you should hold your employees accountable.

Implement an action plan.

Now that your plan is created and you have considered who you are as a leader, it’s time to follow through. Stick to those accountable dates and create follow-up meetings to assess how the team is doing. Depending on the results, also consider having discussions around what other potential challenges the team would like to tackle, and create additional action plans. Refer to the interactive timeline below on how these action plans can be implemented:

Try it out! 

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