Reasons Employee Survey Action Plans Fail

EmployeeSurveyActionPlanAt many organizations, the closing of the annual census survey represents the conclusion of employee engagement efforts until next year.

The results of the survey are delivered, but it’s unclear who is responsible for them and how they will be acted on. As a result, no action is taken and employee engagement remains stagnant or, even worse, declines.

There’s little reason to survey at all if the results aren’t acted on. We’ve identified four reasons why employee survey action plans are left by the wayside and ways to overcome these hurdles.


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1. Employee feedback is disappointing.


Maybe the survey didn’t yield the expected results, and engagement levels are lower than expected. It seems the results would paint the organization in a negative light and make leadership look bad.

How to overcome: Don’t focus so heavily on the score – that’s not what the survey is about. Its true purpose is to identify weaknesses and areas of strength within the organization. Instead of fretting over the score, use the employee survey action plan to focus on employee comments and come up with ways to improve employee engagement. Use the feedback as a roadmap to move forward by addressing employee concerns.


2. No one has ownership over the results.


The data comes back, but no one knows who's actually responsible for it. Nothing gets done and employee feedback is left unaddressed, decreasing engagement.

How to overcome: Provide clarity for the role each person plays in employee engagement. Develop a plan before the survey launches: what role will HR play? How will managers act on the results? Will leadership be involved? Assigning responsibilities in your employee survey action plan will ensure that the results lead to action, not fall on deaf ears.


3. Engagement feels like just another duty on the to-do list.


Everyone is plenty busy – who has time to actually address the results? Employee engagement isn’t deeply embedded in the organization’s culture, and it’s not viewed as a big deal.

How to overcome: Position employee engagement as a framework for how you operate. You shouldn’t need to take time out to address employee engagement – it should be a part of your everyday culture. You should always be actively seeking ways to improve the employee experience, which will ultimately help retention and profits.


4. The process is too complicated, so it's not sustainable.


The survey results present information overload. Upper management has to see and digest the results first, delaying the opportunity for HR and managers to act on the results. Everything about the process feels too complicated.

How to overcome: Have a strategy coming into the survey. Communicate expectations about who will handle what. Have HR handle the bells and whistles from the results, diving into the numbers and preparing a plan. HR then delivers that map to managers, creating a streamlined process that gets everyone on the same page.



Don’t let your employee engagement survey results fall flat. Use them to craft an employee survey action plan that drives action and energizes employees. Check out our ebook, The 3-Step Employee Engagement Plan Workbook, to get started.

Free Workbook! The 3-Step Employee Engagement Commitment Plan