How to turn your survey data into action

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You have your survey results and have analyzed the data. Now what? Will you act upon what you’ve learned or let the results languish forever at the bottom of your inbox?

Acting on your survey results within the first 6 months is crucial, and communicates that your employees and their feedback matter, and that surveys are a valuable communication tool. Our experience shows that organizations that communicate survey results to staff, create action plans, and act on the survey results have an average positive increase of 6.5% on that item on subsequent surveys.

Not doing anything with your survey results has its consequences. Employees in organizations that do not act on survey results tend to:

•    Lose trust in the survey process and the organization

•    Doubt the sincerity of senior management

•    Feel more disengaged

•    Question the future direction of the organization

•    Pursue other job opportunities

Where to start?

Your action plan may involve making one large organization-wide change, or various changes in specific areas or departments. How you roll out your plan depends on your goals and organization, but assembling a steering committee is a good place to start. Once you’ve established who will drive the plan, you can focus on the actions it will involve. The following approach outlines the basic steps in developing your action plan.

1.    Team members are trained on how to approach the analysis and communication of results, and implement the appropriate changes

2.    Team members receive copies of the materials and resources that have come out of the survey (results, focus group reports, analyses, etc.)

3.    All materials are examined, in a timely manner, from a company-wide and business area perspective

4.    Team members analyze and interpret the data to uncover root causes and deeper issues

5.    The team reviews the organization’s priorities and how their departmental action plan fits into the broader organizational direction

6.    The team documents its top 2 or 3 priorities using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) and prepares a summary presentation to get executive approval

7.    The organization begins to implement the prioritized changes

Some final words of wisdom

Before you jump in with both feet, here are some final tips to help you set the stage for success.

•    Focus on the issues that will have maximum positive impact on the organization, and are relatively inexpensive and easy yet visible to employees

•    Understand the resources and effort required to make changes before making a commitment

•    When in doubt, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver

For more information on action planning, get your FREE copy of the go-to resource on the topic, “Employee Engagement for Dummies”, or learn more about our Action Planning Workshop by contacting Sean Fitzpatrick at or 613-248-3417, ext. 501.  

About the Author:

As President and founder of TalentMap, Sean Fitzpatrick has helped many leading public and private sector organizations maximize engagement and boost productivity through TalentMap’s integrated employee feedback system.

TalentMap offers ‘off the shelf’ and ‘custom-designed’ employee engagement solutions that foster continual improvement within your organization.

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