How much do you love staff engagement surveys? I never enjoyed completing them for one singular reason: nothing happened!

I never saw any follow up to any survey sharing any results, even high level results. Nothing was ever shared about what initiatives came from the data analysis. And I even asked!

Staff engagement surveys are valuable tools to measure the level of employee engagement, satisfaction, and commitment to their work. The surveys are conducted to gather feedback from employees on various aspects of their work environment, including leadership, culture, communication, compensation, and job satisfaction. The results of the surveys provide valuable insights into the areas where the organisation is doing well and where it needs improvement. Middle managers can play a critical role in using the results of staff engagement surveys to make positive changes in their organisations.

I was presenting to a management team recently and in the ASK ME ANYTHING segment I had a few questions that lead me to ask the group about whether they complete the surveys and if so, do they have access to the analysed data. This group would only ever receive a one-sheet of infographics that really didn’t tell them much about their team and their context.

This was not the first time this has come up. It’s incredibly useful data that needs to be analysed, interpreted, shared and Middle Managers empowered and enabled to act on that data.


1. Identify areas for improvement

    The first step in making positive use of staff engagement survey results is to identify the areas where improvement is needed. Middle managers can use the survey results to identify the areas where their team or department is struggling. For example, if the survey results show that employees are unhappy with their workload, middle managers can use this information to identify ways to reprioritise or reduce their workload, or provide more support to their team. Similarly, if the survey results indicate that employees are dissatisfied with the communication within the organisation, middle managers can focus on improving communication channels and ensuring that employees are kept informed about important changes or decisions.


    2. Involve employees

    Middle managers can involve employees in the improvement process by soliciting their input and ideas for how to address the issues identified in the survey results. This not only helps to engage employees in the process but also ensures that the solutions implemented are relevant and effective. This helps employees have ownership so they will be more inclined to act. 


    3. Create action plans

      Once the areas for improvement have been identified, middle managers can support their team to create action plans to address these issues. For example, if the survey results indicate that employees are dissatisfied with the level of recognition they receive for their work, middle managers and their teams can co-create an action plan to implement a recognition program or provide more frequent feedback to their team members.


      4. Communicate regularly

        Middle managers and their team members should communicate regularly with each other about the progress made towards addressing the issues identified in the survey results. This can include regular team meetings or, where relevant, one-on-one conversations to discuss any changes or improvements made. By keeping the whole team informed, and by having the whole team involved, middle managers are demonstrating their commitment to ensuring positive changes happen; and help to build trust and engagement.


        5. Monitor progress

          It’s essential to monitor the progress made towards addressing the issues identified in each period’s survey results. While middle managers can use various methods to track progress, including setting measurable goals, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), and conducting follow-up surveys. When middle managers invite their team to also determine what success will look like and how they will tack it, they will lean into the process even more. This helps to ensure that the actions taken are effective and that the organisation – and the team and the individual team members – move in the right direction.


          Does your organisation run these surveys and if so what access do you have to the analysed data? 


          If yes, I’d love to know how you leverage that information for your team. 

          If no, consider an engagement survey amongst your team. Be mindful to make it safe for people to give you their truth. You can’t really make a positive impact, inspire, lead, and build trust if you don’t get their truth.


          By identifying areas for improvement, creating action plans, involving employees, communicating regularly, and monitoring progress, you can help to build a positive work environment, increase employee engagement and ultimately, improve the overall performance.