Have you ever taken a survey at work only to feel like the results will mean nothing? If so, you're not alone. Forbes has reported that "86% percent of the employees they surveyed reported that people are not heard fairly or equally at their organizations." A survey allows an employee to be heard, to be empowered to speak up and to let feelings/questions/concerns be known. As a supervisor, the worst thing you can do is let your employees' survey results collect dust. So how should supervisors move forward with their teams following an employee survey?
As a supervisor, you must know how important it is for your employees to feel "heard." Based on Forbes Survey Results, "63% of employees feel their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer." So, as a supervisor, it's imperative that you not only "hear" but also "listen" to what your employees say. Here are some things supervisors can do to improve following an employee survey:
1. Start with an Open-Mind
When you survey your employees, it's important to remember that this is just the beginning of a process. Supervisors should enter this process with an open mindset about the feedback they may receive. Supervisors need to understand how their team members feel without feeling the need to be defensive. The data helps supervisors understand areas where improvement is needed. If there is uneasiness, that needs to be addressed and resolved. Surveys will often bring issues to the surface that you might not have known otherwise. Supervisors should view this feedback as an opportunity to squash problems before they balloon. It's important that supervisors not take survey results personally; they are simply returning data about existing issues. Constructively using the data can improve your performance as a manager, but you must have an open mind. Supervisors should avoid being defensive and listen to their employees.
2. Analyze the Data and Create an Action Plan
The bad news about creating an action plan is that this step might be the most difficult of the five. The good news is that supervisors should have the authority and skills to address their employees' concerns. Supervisors should dive deep into the data when crafting an action plan to look for common themes. Typically, common themes are indicative of more significant problems; that's why supervisors must take notice.
Workplace stress, burnout, and lack of training are common themes that affect productivity. Once a list of common themes has been compiled from the survey data, supervisors can begin working on strategies to improve the issues. Remember that a good action plan should include realistic steps, timelines, KPIs, growth opportunities, rewards, and recognitions for celebrating and achieving successes.
3. Share the Action Plan
By sharing the action plan with team members, supervisors can start to build ownership with their team. Sharing the plan also benefits supervisors by allowing team members to contribute their thoughts and opinions, thus increasing the odds of success. Since team members will implement the plan, they need to feel connected to it. Change is difficult for everyone, but teams must understand why the action plan is needed. For each item listed on an action plan, supervisors should make it a point to address the following:
- Explain why the change is crucial.
- Explain how the team will benefit.
- Explain the way the plan will be executed.
4. Execute the Action Plan
Now that the action plan has been created and shared with the team, it's time to act. Remember when we said to keep an open mind reviewing the data? Well, this step of the process would be a good time to keep an open mind. Things don't always go as planned. Supervisors should be prepared for that. During the execution phase, supervisors should track progress and communicate with the team. Communicating includes more than just the bad but also the good. In other words, giving positive feedback and pointing out errors and areas with room for growth is critical. Since team members are part of the process, asking for their feedback and ensuring comprehension of the steps needed for the action plan is essential. If employees need help implementing change, supervisors must be willing to work with them.
5. Conduct a Follow-Up Survey
After implementing an action plan, review and measure the results. A survey should not be a "one-and-done" situation. While supervisors can review data and make changes based on a single survey, employees must have frequent opportunities to share feedback. Open communication allows supervisors to review, revise, and implement changes continually. As a result, employees will see consistent improvements and be more open to sharing honest and valuable feedback.
Supervisors not using surveys to enact changes could see their organizations struggle with retention. Companies need help to recruit and retain employees in today's marketplace. Employee surveys can be a great way to understand what is important to your employees. Investing time and energy in teams will reap benefits. Surveys can help organizations build a happier team of employees, improve performance, and boost productivity.