6 Ways to Analyze Your Employee Survey Results Quickly & Strategically

Sarah Kidawa
Sarah Kidawa

team analyzing employee survey data

Before making any employee engagement changes, it’s imperative to hear directly from the source—the employees.

Why?

Employees don’t—and won’t—connect with corporate jargon. Incorporating employees’ voices when creating an employer brand, employee value proposition or communication strategy is critical to get the engagement you’re after. When employees are part of the process, they’re more likely to feel valued, respected and loyal to your organization.

Related: Hear one of our experts speak about how to create and implement core values that truly matter to your team.

The Pitfalls of Disregarding Employee Survey Feedback

Consider this: How often are you analyzing your survey result? How do you respond to employee feedback?

If survey responses collect dust once completed, then employees are likely to roll their eyes when new survey requests come through.

Not acting on survey results (or at least communicating with employees after completing a survey) risks disengagement—exactly what organizations are trying to avoid. 

6 Tactical Ways to Act on Employee Survey Results

For your next survey, dig into the details, understand the results and, most importantly, do something about it. It’s time to do away with the “they won’t do anything with my opinions anyway” mentality commonplace among employees taking surveys.

For many, a mountain of data (raw or summarized) can be overwhelming. Here are six tactical ways to analyze your results quickly and strategically.

1. Know how you want to segment data prior to launch.

There’s little value in knowing your eNPS increased by one point year over year. What’s valuable is knowing if that’s the same for everyone. Is one group’s gain another’s loss? Prior to launch, determine the different domains that are critical for you and your business to best understand how engagement varies.

One segment might filter by work location. Hybrid or in-person work has the added possibility of spontaneity such as collaborative brainstorming, casual conversations that lead to problem-solving, or creating new connections between team members in a shared workspace, which makes it easier for co-located employees to connect with your organizational culture than those working from home. This segment and their survey results are especially important in planning future on-site events, activities and communication methods.

Another common segment filters by tenure. Our research shows employees with less than three years of tenure at an organization—a time in tenure that’s been dubbed the “reality slump”—see falling levels of engagement, satisfaction and advocacy. And we all know what happens then: The job search fires up again. A few questions to keep in mind:

  • At what tenure range is there a spike in turnover? (Note: It could be different than the 2 to 3 years we identified.)
  • What is the feedback from employees who have 2 to 3 years of tenure?
  •  How are you communicating the survey results (e.g., what employees love and what needs improvement) to your entire company? 

2. Don’t ignore neutral responses.

Filter key questions (e.g., agree with this company being a great place to work, the culture is strong, etc.) by those responding with neutral. Then look at their open text responses. A neutral category works for respondents who are less inclined to express their opinion, but it also potentially means a substantial proportion of employees who favor or oppose a topic aren't counted.

3. Use your toolkit to increase data visibility.

If your team has access to a BI tool (i.e., Power BI, Tableau, Domo, Looker, etc.) leverage it to compare YOY employee engagement changes in a visual way and socialize results with key leaders. ROI is easier to see instead of a series of Excel PivotTables. Visibility is power and often the quickest identifier of when to celebrate successes and improvements or address issues and concerns.

Related: Data visualization enables decision-makers to see analytics presented visually so they can quickly digest sparse and complex data or identify new patterns. Learn how visualization can help you make sense of your data.

4. As the leader goes, so do the employees.

Filtering responses by manager or business unit may help identify areas where leadership training is strong and where additional expertise could be helpful. In simple terms, strong and effective leadership can improve culture, engage a workforce and instill a level of motivation and inspiration that may otherwise have been absent. This trickle down can help with retention and engagement at the employee level.

5. Take it a step further with focus groups.

After you identify key themes in both the “let’s celebrate” and “let’s change” arenas, consider expanding upon the results by conducting employee focus groups. Live conversations can add much needed color to what the quantitative data tells you. When conducting an employee focus group:

  • Have a trusted voice facilitate by way of a third-party consultant (I would love to help) or someone outside of HR to facilitate open dialogue
  • Hear from at least 10% of your total employee audience
  • Keep the conversations grouped (i.e., all remote or all in person) to spur rich discussion
  • Don’t leave remaining 90% in the dark—communicate the anonymous results openly and honestly

Related: Read about how we identified and targeted unique employee segments for better impact after conducting field research with a client.

6. Don’t let the feedback loop end here!

Utilize the popular pulse survey framework with one or two questions throughout the year to get a progress check on new initiatives implemented or elements purposely remaining unchanged. Short surveys tend to produce higher engagement rates and more frequent data points keep you better informed.

Looking for more ways to achieve improved engagement and organization success? Create a culture of inclusivity. Emotional connections between employees strengthen belonging and importance, fuel self-esteem and foster positive self-perceptions. Learn how to increase inclusion efforts so employees feel they belong, regardless of where and how they work.

Sarah Kidawa

Sarah Kidawa

Sarah has a penchant for driving curated strategies that fuel employee happiness and energize workplace cultures. She thrives when helping clients realize the hard results driven by executing these “soft” initiatives—and when her suitcase is packed and ready for her next travel adventure.