Improving employee engagement: actionable tips from client success

Improving the experience of your people

How to communicate your staff survey results to your team

The next step after receiving your staff survey results report is communicating the results to your team and working with your team for ongoing improvements.

Communicating staff survey results should be an all-of-organisation commitment, not a responsibility that lies solely with HR.

How your result is communicated makes a difference to how your staff perceive the employee survey process. It can either improve or damage your organisation’s credibility and staffs trust.

Explaining your staff survey result report to each team

  • Every team member must become familiar with and understand their individual team’s results
  • It is each leader’s responsibility to ensure their team fully understands their staff survey reports.
  • Explaining how to understand the survey reports is an important step to developing trust, rapport and a harmonious working environment.

Analysing your team’s staff survey report

Following are the steps involved in creating a meaningful team based analysis of your area’s staff survey report.

1) Ensure you, as the team leader, understand how to read the key reports

Action step: Study any materials provided by your employee survey provider. If you require assistance or clarification on any point contact the appropriate person.

2) Meet with your team to explain the reports

Action step: If possible, set a meeting date within a week for the purpose of discussing the staff survey results. Otherwise, allow plenty of time in your next regular team meeting for this purpose.

3) Conduct an effective meeting in a relaxed environment

Action step: Be very well prepared for this meeting by outlining what you will cover and rehearse it at least once.

A few helpful hints

  • State that the objective today is to explain how to read and understand the staff survey results reports. At your next meeting the team will discuss the results and decide on an improvement plan
  • Start with the big picture-the overall results, then move into the reports which relate to your team
  • Avoid getting side tracked with questions regarding the staff survey process or validity. Reassure the team that the organisation who conducted the survey are a reputable independent consulting company.
  • During the meeting be a good listener who is open, receptive and never defensive. Action step: Review these notes just before you conduct the meeting
  • Give your team the time to study and discuss the reports. Action step: Agree with your team the time, date and location of your next meeting (ideally within the next week or fortnight). The purpose of this follow-up meeting is to discuss the results and commence on an improvement plan.

Listening to your team

It’s essential to learn the following listening techniques for successful communication of your staff survey results.

  • Listening requires practice
  • It means focusing all of your attention on the other person. So simple, yet very rarely practiced.
  • The components of effective listening:
    • Interpretation – which leads to understanding or misunderstanding
    • Evaluation – which involves weighing the information and deciding how to use it
    • Responding – which is based on what was actually heard, understood, then evaluated

Seven techniques for improved listening

  1. Tune in to everything a person says
    Be an opportunist and ask yourself “How does this relate to me?”
  2. Focus on the content, not the delivery
    Your team member may not be a polished communicator, but what they have to say is essential.
  3. Avoid arguments. Remain quiet until you understand completely.
    Think of constructive comments and make a positive impression.
  4. Listen for ideas and avoid being bogged down in the detail
  5. Keep an open mind
    Avoid overreacting to emotional words.  Avoid being defensive.
  6. Thought is four times faster than speech
    Mentally challenge, anticipate and summarise.
    Listen between the lines. Take notes.
  7. Paraphrase or restate the other person’s message in your own words.

Creating an improvement plan based on your staff survey results

Making your organisation a better place to work requires the input and involvement of every employee. Many team members may be reluctant to provide their suggestions, recommendations for improvement or point of view.

Developing a truly open, honest and trusting work environment is a long term project which begins with the senior management’s desire to hear feedback from all team members on how your organisation can improve.

Steps to creating an improvement plan

1) Show you are interested in the staff survey results

Action step: Enlarge a chart or table from the staff survey report showing your team’s results and post it in a prominent position. Add some colours or comments to stimulate discussion.

2) Conduct an informal follow-up meeting

Action step: Discuss the staff survey with each individual team member before the follow-up meeting, to ensure they arrive prepared to make decisions and participate in creating an improvement plan.

A few helpful hints:

  • Create a relaxed and informal environment
  • State that the objective of the meeting is to both decide based on:
    • the survey reports
    • which questions from the staff survey the team believes they can influence, and
    • to prepare an improvement plan
  • Encourage discussion from all team members
  • Allow plenty of time for discussion
  • Use the results to select the staff survey questions which are the highest priority to take action upon
  • Discuss what and how your team will interpret these factors. For example, ask “What does ‘A supervisor who listens’ mean to you?”

Beware: Do not assume “the big issues” such as pay is out of your control. Example: the concern about pay was not the amount, but the on-going problems encountered with the accuracy of the pay office.


3) Create an improvement plan

It is too easy to assume senior management will make all the improvements. Improvements require the involvement and commitment of every single employee. Focus on the priority items which your team can take action upon and select no more than three factors your team needs to improve on.

Action step: Prepare an improvement plan for each factor (following are the headings of a typical improvement plan).

  Step no.    Action step    Who is responsible?    Completion date    Completed?


Month 1 – Team leader attended this sessionExample of a typical team improvement process

Month 1 – Team leader conducts first meeting to discuss how to read survey reports.
Month 2 – Team meets to discuss how their survey reports can be used to create an improvement plan.

Example with the area of “co-operation”

  1. “Co-operation” is shown in the staff survey report as being important but is not performing well
  2. The team decides co-operation is a factor they can and should improve
  3. The team discusses what they believe “co-operation” means to them
  4. From this discussion flows an improvement plan to improve co-operation

Improvement examples

Below are some examples of steps that can be taken to improve co-operation with your team.

  • Investigate regular job rotation
  • Organise an informal morning tea weekly
  • Create a roster and rotate the chairperson for the team meetings
  • Use team problem solving when required
  • Have weekly or monthly team knowledge share sessions about i.e. achievements, experiences to learn from, “how to…”, etc.

Communicating and working with your team is the best way to understand each other, form better relationships and find ways to become more productive. Your organisation is more likely to succeed when everyone has input and they’re more likely to take part in and accept any improvement initiatives.

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