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Communicating Employee Survey Results: 10 Do’s and Don’ts

/ 1.13.15


 The first step of following up after an employee survey is communicating the results to employees. An action-planning best practice is to communicate in phases about your employee survey results, starting with high-level results and then filtering results down to individual teams for a closer look.


We've come up with some important do’s and don’ts that show you how to communicate employee engagement survey results in both company-wide and manager-to-team settings.


1. Don’t guilt trip employees
Employees should never feel like they have to retract their survey responses. If you make them feel guilty about your organization’s survey results, they are less likely to trust you and the survey process.


2. Don’t debate who’s right and who’s wrong
Employee survey follow-up conversations aren’t about debating which opinions are superior. Employee surveys reveal employee perceptions, and right or wrong, perception is reality. Debating right versus wrong sends the message that not all employees’ feelings and experiences are considered valid and that disengages.


3. Don’t try to change opinions
Communicating employee survey results isn’t a time to campaign and persuade employees to change their opinions. You need to open up communication about results to find out what changes need to take place in the organization first.


4. Don’t plead the organization’s case
Presenting employee survey results is a time for humility. Being defensive or trying to convince employees that their survey responses are wrong can ruin the employee survey process.


5. Don’t play “who said what”
Employee engagement survey responses should be confidential. When reviewing employee survey results, the conversation should never turn into speculations about who said what. This diminishes the credibility and integrity of a confidential survey process.



1. Be open
Being open and honest is critical to communicating employee survey results. Don’t try to position results to be better or worse than they are. Talk openly about the results. How you talk about survey results sets the tone for receiving continued honest employee feedback and their ideas for improvement. Being open builds trust.


2. Be objective
When communicating survey results, do your best to play the role of an impartial observer. Communicate the findings without interspersing personal opinions. If you are conducting an employee focus group, your personal opinions could sway employee opinion and steer the discussion off course. In addition, employees might be unlikely to share opinions if they’re dissenting from the perceived group leader.


3. Be clear
Employee survey results can be difficult to understand. Be as clear and concise as possible when you share the results with employees. Avoid jargon and commentary that will create confusion.


4. Be inviting Invite employees to comment as you discuss survey results. Make employees feel as though you’re talking with them instead of at them. This will help foster an ongoing conversation.


5. Ask for questions
Always ask for questions. If you’re presenting the survey results during an employee focus group, ask for questions after each data slide. If employees seem quiet, let them know you’ll be asking direct questions during the discussion.


Communicating itself isn't going to positively affect employee engagement; it's all about how you communicate that will make the real difference. Get employees into focus groups to discuss the results. To learn more about this tactic, download our free ebook, How to Conduct Employee Focus Groups.

 Free ebook! How to Conduct Employee Focus Groups


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