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Part II: A Complete Guide to Employee Pulse Surveys

Business team reviewing employee engagement survey results

Part II: How to analyze employee pulse survey results and act on the findings

Quick look: To make the most impact, small- and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders that conduct employee pulse surveys must properly analyze the results and create a relevant action plan. In this blog—the second part of our employee pulse survey serieswe will explore how to harness survey data to create beneficial and meaningful change.

In a turbulent labor market, employee pulse surveys are more valuable than ever. When properly executed, they can provide useful insights into how workers are feeling about their roles and the organization as a whole.

This blog—the second of a two-part series—will discuss how to analyze employee engagement survey results, and best practices for developing an action plan based on the data.

Read steps 1 and 2 in the first part of our blog series, which covers how to design the survey and gather data >>

Step 3: Analyze the results

The purpose of conducting an employee pulse survey is to use the data to take appropriate action, which cannot happen without first analyzing the results you have gathered. This phase is broken into three steps: retraining employees as necessary, reviewing the information, and preparing to act.

Retrain as needed

Before business leaders begin analyzing employee engagement survey results and brainstorming potential plans, everyone involved in reviewing the data should be familiar with how to use your survey tool of choice and interpret the data. This step is especially important for organizations that conduct surveys on a semi-infrequent basis (i.e. annually).

Training or re-training employees on how to analyze the findings is a great opportunity to reskill or upskill a workforce, something that can help SMBs retain current employees, avoid costly new hires, attract new talent, and grow institutional knowledge.

Review information

Once all involved parties are brought up to speed on the survey tool and data interpretation best practices, it’s time to examine the findings.

Every SMB’s survey will include different questions, but here are some general helpful hints for business leaders to keep in mind as they review the data:

  • Compare to industry averages: To get a better understanding of your organization’s standing, you can compare data points to industry averages (which is information that the human resources (HR) experts at a professional employer organization (PEO) may be able to provide).
  • Dive into demographics: Big-picture data can be useful, but it’s also important to look at results based on demographics. How do remote employees’ results differ from those who are hybrid or on-site? Are there differences between manager teams or departments? Just like an onion, data is layered, and business leaders should remember that no matter what top-level data shows, there are many different realities occurring below that. ExtensisHR’s DEI Dashboard enables you to look even deeper by providing data on pay equity, salary trends, employee turnover, promotions, and previous hires.
  • Understand the limitations: Everyone involved should remember that the data collected represents a point in time, and that experiences and opinions are always in flux. Just because the survey revealed a certain trend doesn’t mean it’s been around for a long time or will stick around forever.
  • Remember to benchmark: A benefit of survey results being time-sensitive is that they are extremely useful for benchmarking. Period-over-period data can provide trend data that companies can use to determine how the organization and employee opinions are changing over time.

Be prepared to act

We may sound like a broken record, but it’s critical that business leaders understand the purpose of surveying employees is to act on the data. And with results representing such a small point in time, it’s vital that all appropriate teams are prepared to act as soon as possible.

Step 4: Act on the findings

By now you understand that action is the point of it all. Surveying staff but failing to do anything with the data can result in decreased trust, morale, and employee engagement.

There are three phases involved in acting on employee engagement survey results: making a plan, sharing and implementing the plan, and continuing to listen to employee voices.

Make a plan

Once data analysis is complete, your company’s executive team should meet to review the findings and decide how to proceed. Leadership should also determine who’s allowed to see the results from a management perspective. There is no right answer—it all depends on organizational readiness and manager maturity.

While preparing a plan, SMB leaders should remember that they don’t need to act on every finding. Not all suggestions need to be implemented if they don’t align with the company culture or business mission. In these cases, leaders should be prepared to explain to the staff why or why not certain decisions were made.

Share and implement the plan

Now comes the part everyone has been waiting for: communicating the action plan and making any potential changes to business operations. Ideally this step will show employees that they are heard and that their opinion is valued. Some tips for this stage include:

  • Clearly explain to employees what the leadership team has decided to do and connect the dots between the action and the data (i.e., “We decided to do X because of this feedback you provided us”).
  • Feel free to share department-specific findings with the appropriate team leaders. This can help individual managers understand what they’re doing that works, and what they could potentially improve upon.
  • Encourage team leaders to transparently discuss results with their groups.
  • Share several high-level findings with all employees and thank them for their participation.

Continue to listen

Even after the survey process has ended, it’s important for SMB leaders to remain open to feedback, continue doing what the organization does well, and change things that can be improved, if possible.

Employees’ voices should continue to be listened to and valued. Employee pulse surveys should be conducted regularly, but even during times that fall outside of survey periods, leadership should consider asking questions to the staff, getting feedback, and discussing the issue via town hall meetings or smaller focus groups.

All the insightswithout all the work

Whether you survey your employees monthly, quarterly, or annually, the insights that employee pulse surveys can reveal are invaluable. When properly executed, the surveys can shed light on issues that leadership was unaware of, which in turn can improve employee morale and retention rates.

The best surveys occur on a regular basis and require business leaders to design the survey, gather data, analyze the results, implement an action plan. While the process can seem daunting, a PEO, like ExtensisHR, can help. A PEO has a team of dedicated experts that are well-versed in every aspect of HR and can handle the heavy lifting required to create an impactful and compliant survey.

Your workers’ opinions can boost employee morale and retain increasingly valuable talent. Contact the pros at ExtensisHR today if you’re ready to start harnessing that feedback.

Did you miss the first part of our employee pulse survey blog series? Click here to readA Complete Guide to Employee Pulse Surveys (Part I),” which discusses best practices surrounding survey design and data collection.

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