Employee surveys are a crucial tool for businesses looking to understand how their employees feel about their work, their colleagues, and their organization as a whole. These surveys can provide valuable insights into areas that need improvement and help to identify potential problems before they become organizational issues.
But simply collecting survey data is not enough. To truly understand the meaning behind your results, you need to analyze the data in a thoughtful and systematic way.
In this article, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to uncover the meaning in your employee survey analytics.
Before your survey even closes, it's important to analyze your survey response rate. Your survey analytics are only as good as the data that goes into it. If your survey response rate is too low, you may want to address why that is before using that data to drive change.
A good response rate for an employee survey should be 70% or higher.
As a benchmark, we like to suggest between 70-80% for larger organizations (500+ employees) and between 80-90% for smaller organizations (<500 employees).
Analyzing your response rate is a critical first step to uncovering meaning in your data. A low response rate can skew your results and make it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.
But that’s not all. A low response rate may indicate that employees do not feel comfortable sharing their opinions, which could be a sign of larger problems within the organization.
If your survey response rate is lower than you expect it to be, the first step is not to panic. Remember that employee listening is a continuous process and it may take time for your flywheel to start turning out great data.
The good news is, there are some strategies you can adopt to improve your survey response rate!
Head on over to our guide if you want to learn more actionable tips on how to improve your survey response rate.
Once you have a good response rate, you can begin to uncover meaning within your survey results. There are a few ways you can start to slice and dice your survey data to uncover meaning. We’ll cover each of these methods in a bit more detail.
One common metric used to measure employee engagement is favorability. Favorability is a measure of how positively or negatively employees feel about a particular aspect of their work, such as their relationship with their manager or their overall job satisfaction.
A savvy employee survey tool will easily evaluate and prioritize favorability in your analytics. Quantum Workplace’s report looks like this:
Once you have calculated favorability scores for each aspect of your survey, you can use this information to prioritize action items.
Areas with low favorability scores indicate that employees are not satisfied with this aspect of their work and may need additional attention.
You can use these low scores to create a list of priorities for improvement and develop an action plan to address these issues.
But that’s not all. Favorability at an organizational-level may not be giving you all the data you need to make business decisions. If you’re able, spend time slicing your data by key business demographics like department, job level, age, gender, and more.
Slicing and comparing your favorability data by demographic may help you identify hidden pain points within your survey data. And that’s where heat mapping becomes a powerful tool.
Heat mapping takes your favorability analysis to the next level. Heat mapping is a valuable tool because it can help HR leaders understand concentrations of employee perceptions throughout different organizational demographics.
An intuitive heat map report makes it easy for you to visualize different groups and compare them to a benchmark - either internally or externally.
For example, you may find through your heat mapping that employees aged 26-35 show low favorability scores on workplace flexibility questions. This is a great opportunity for you to flag that data for a follow up pulse survey where you can ask that specific demographic what ‘workplace flexibility’ means to them.
Not only do heat map reports make it easy for you to interpret your data, but it makes it easy to share that data as well. With easy year-over-year comparisons, you can track how your investments in specific demographics lead to improved results over time.
Of course, most surveys will be made up of easily-measurable questions, like Likert scales, multiple choice, and yes/no questions.
But in addition to numerical data, many survey tools provide text-based open responses from employees.
But reading every single open response item is tedious and unhelpful. That’s why you need a tool that can help you identify keywords and narrative insights within your data.
With a Comments Report, you can start to identify the theme, sentiment, and subtext within your written analytics.
Narrative analysis can help you gain a deeper understanding of employee concerns and identify specific areas that may require additional attention.
Industry survey benchmarks can be a useful tool for understanding how your organization compares to others in your industry.
Many survey tools provide benchmark data that you can use to compare your results to industry averages. This data can help you identify areas where you are performing well or where you may need to improve.
For example, if your favorability scores for employee satisfaction are below industry averages - even if it seems good enough to you - you may want to look at how other organizations are addressing this issue and utilize their strategies as a starting point for your own action plan.
Uncovering meaning should not be isolated to the organizational level. Segmenting your survey data by team—and sharing it with your people leaders—can enable your managers quickly and easily prioritize engagement at the ground level.
A Team Report can provide analytics and insights that are most relevant to the team. These data points might include:
The Team Report also provides smart insights which highlight the highest favorability, lowest favorability, and the strongest survey item compared to the overall company. These insights can be taken into action planning from the team report for quick action on the manager's behalf.
There is a lot that can be learned from teams that have high favorability scores. What are they doing well? What makes that team unique? You may be able to uncover easy action items simply by studying what your organization is already doing well at the team-level.
One of the best ways to uncover meaning in your survey data is to open that data up to the entire organization. With tools like Quantum Workplace’s My Engagement Report (ME Report) your employees can see how they stack up against the rest of the organization’s survey results.
The best part is? The ME Report is completely confidential to the individual employee. Meaning they can feel safe to explore their responses and the organization's responses without fear of retribution or discovery.
Confidential self-reporting doesn’t just tie your data back to the individual. But ME Reporting can help to share the responsibility of improving engagement directly with the employee. The ME Report can highlight recommendations for the individual to improve their own experience.
To develop an organization-wide action plan, it's important to involve key stakeholders, including HR leaders, department heads, and senior management.
You should start by sharing the survey results with these stakeholders and discussing the areas of the survey that need improvement. Communicating survey results to the management team is an important step in driving meaningful action across the organization.
When presenting the results, it's important to focus on key takeaways and actionable insights. Avoid overwhelming the team with too much data and instead provide clear recommendations for next steps.
From your analysis above, it may be prudent to point out:
From there, you can work together to develop a plan that addresses these issues and sets measurable goals for improvement.
If you’re struggling to prioritize action items, you’re not alone. Prioritization can be challenging. Especially if you’re surprised to find that favorability is lower in multiple areas than you expected.
To have the most impact, starting with two or three focus areas is a great place to move the needle.
Once you’ve determined your focus areas and communicated those with management and the larger organization, it’s time for your action plan to start.
Your action plan should include specific goals, timelines, and action steps for addressing the areas of the survey that need improvement. This may include changes to company policies, additional training or support for employees, or changes to the physical work environment.
It's important to make sure that your action plan is achievable and measurable, so that you can track progress and make adjustments as needed.
95% of employees who say their leaders and managers are exceptional at communicating and taking effective action on survey results are highly engaged.
Your survey tool may provide you with the tools you need to design and manage your action plan. This tool not only allows you to seamlessly connect your survey data with your focus areas, but allows you to track specific action items over time.
You can communicate context, assign owners and viewers, and enable notifications and comment threads.
Best of all, when all your action plans are in one place, you can measure the effectiveness of your surveys and action plans over time.
Analyzing employee survey data is a critical step in understanding employee engagement and identifying areas for improvement within your organization.
By uncovering meaning in your data, prioritizing action items, and developing an actionable plan for improvement, you can drive change and create a more engaged and productive workforce.
With the right tools and resources, you can use your survey data to build a culture of continuous listening and collaboration that empowers employees and drives success for your organization.
Are you ready to turn your data into action? Quantum Workplace’s employee engagement software has helped thousands of organizations uncover meaning in their survey data with powerful employee engagement survey tools and analytics.