Making the Most of Employee Satisfaction Surveys

by | May 19, 2015 | Blog, Uncategorized

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Quick survey:

1. Do you conduct employee satisfaction surveys?
2. Do you follow up after the surveys?

We hope you said “Always” to question 2. If not, you are missing the most important part!

We know it’s easy to think of receiving the responses as the end of the process. (All that planning and collecting!) But it is actually a new beginning.

Once you get your responses, you must follow up.

To put it simply, if you are surveying your employees, they are expecting changes to be made. Would a doctor ever ask what’s wrong with you and then not try to treat you? No. (At least we hope not, geez.) This is the same idea.

If you don’t properly follow up, employees will grow more cynical and less engaged. And remember why you had the survey in the first place? Yep, to see how you are doing with employee engagement. So you can see why not following up is a big no-no!

It would be hypocritical of us to not follow up on this. So, of course, we’ll explain how you can follow up with your employees post survey.

The follow up consists of 2 parts:

1. Communicating to employees the survey’s findings and your plans for action.
2. Executing those plans for action.

1. Communicating Survey Findings & Plans For Action

The first step is to let employees know what the survey’s findings were and what actions you are planning to do in response.

Communication of this can –and should– come in many forms to best reach your employees. Remember to communicate with ALL employees. And to act quickly.

Ideally, you want to communicate with employees while the survey is fresh in their minds. As time passes, employee enthusiasm wanes. We suggest communicating the results and plans within one month of receiving the results.

The findings.
You want to be transparent with employees. Let them know that their responses were heard by reporting all of the findings.

However, keep in mind that you do not have to present the findings word for word. You can paraphrase and/or present main themes. Also, remember that employees expressed ideas in confidence of anonymity. Avoid saying something that is embarrassing for a specific employee or calls out a certain supervisor. Those issues would be better discussed in private.

Plans for action.
Reporting the results is one thing, but explaining your plans for action is another. If the survey data is not used in any way, you send a message to employees that basically says you don’t care about them or their opinions. But if you apply the findings to actions, employees see that you are taking accountability for making the company a good place to work. (Yay!)

Remember to include:

  • What changes will be made
  • What changes won’t be made, and why- This is important, and sometimes forgotten. We all know that we can’t make all the changes. Some things just aren’t feasible. It’s important to let employees know why you can’t or won’t be making certain changes. Otherwise, they will feel like their ideas were simply dismissed.
  • A timeline for the changes- See more about executing plans below. But you want to set a timeline of changes and stick to these.

2. Executing Action Plans

Of course, saying and doing are two different things. Once you’ve let employees know what your plans are, don’t forget to follow through and actually execute the plans. Remember to keep communication alive and well as you make the changes. If a company decision is made or a policy is changed as result of employee feedback, let it be known that the survey was the catalyst for the change.

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