Your company has just completed an employee satisfaction survey and the results are in there it is on your desk, now what?
The reasons for taking the survey would have been very clear. What was the company trying to accomplish, what information were they trying to glean from their employees? These goals would have been established before the survey began. However, there are several reasons why one doesn’t want to open the survey Pandora’s Box : fear, cost of implementation, negative response to leadership; losing control or power. All good reasons to let it lay there.
Your employees know you have the results. Your staff will think their opinion means nothing, that you don’t respect them and had no intension of listening to them. The worse action is no action
Survey data requires feedback, diagnosis and action. Data used correctly can spark dialogue and initiate change. Feedback is important; a negative response to a survey question does need to be feared. Use it as any other piece of information and move forward.
Fear of employees’ responses is one reason surveys are shelved. Once you ask their opinion, you change the dynamic of the company. Is managing a company a democracy? Regardless of your opinion on that subject; asking your employees their opinion does not erode your position or authority. Top management needs to create and execute the business or strategic plan. A wise manager will need to know if their staff has the same vision, are properly trained, and have the right tools. Do they think of themselves as a team or are there any potential harassment or discrimination issues? You need everyone’s co-operation and the survey results may show you what may be impeding the company from progressing.
As part of a proactive management style, management must address the results of the information gathered by the survey. At the very least, the survey needs to be read and acknowledged but action is the main goal. The mere action of collecting data indicates follow through. The only way a survey can help effect the bottom line is through implementation of strategies from the knowledge collected and interpreted from the survey.
To eliminate fear from both sides, the lines of communication have to be open. This began when the survey was introduced, the company should have given a clear picture as to why the survey was being conducted and that the information collected would be valuable to the organization.
People resist change but a survey that asks the correct questions can help employees prepare for change. The survey helps employees understand the concerns management has and those areas being examined.
Managers resist change because they feel they are losing control and power over their departments. A survey may point to their shortcomings and that may introduce a change in their management style. The survey may also indicate a need for staff training or purchase of new equipment which can be a blow to a manager’s ego and to their budget.
Implementing change takes time, managers already have to deal with the daily operations of their department now they need to find the time to develop new programs and strategies and implement them while carrying on their regular duties. This is where employee engagement can help. You have asked the employees how they feel and now the company wants to implement change…get your staff involved, organize a committee to help with the changes. This will alleviate some of the stress on management plus it will boost the confidence of your employees. This will reinforce the idea that their opinions count and the proof is in helping to implement the new strategies. Employees and managers that help design the new plans and implement them are less likely to resist change.
Employees are more likely to accept change if they feel they have a personal gain. Let employees help make the decisions and implement the new programs. They gain first-hand knowledge of the new system, gain respect from their peers for representing them to management. If the new program is an incentive program then there will be other rewards. Participation makes employees accountable.
Now is a good time for a manager to assess their own management style. While other changes are being implemented, start fresh…reorganize your office put the systems in that you have been thinking about, implement time management practices. It is a good time to fix routines that have been lax and policies that haven’t been strictly followed. The outcome should be that the new changes have been implemented and the working environment is up to company standards.
Cost of implementation is another reason some companies resist change inspired by employee satisfaction surveys. Managers may find that some of the changes required don’t cost a lot to implement.. Make sure that your current systems are being implemented; tweak existing procedures to accommodate the current environment. Enforce company policies that have become slack.
Other items allocated in your budget may be redirected for example computers. Maybe the staff need to be trained or retrained using the equipment they have instead of investing in new equipment. Payroll dollars may not increase but possibly reviewing of the organization to redistribute staff to be more efficient and effective.
Other costs may already be in your budget and just need to be reprioritized ie. better lighting in the parking lot can come out of the maintenance budget ahead of other sundry repairs. Check government rebates and incentives for environmentally friendly retrofits.
Managers need to accept the results of the survey as constructive criticism and take the first step towards change. Lead the process with communication, positive attitude and actions. Your staff therefore will be informed, understand and can follow your lead. This is how a manager can maintain their control which they thought would be loss to change. Gain respect from the staff by working with them.
Be less stressful on yourself and others and consider the timing of new programs, introduce them during the slower season (if you have one) and give training during the beginning of the day or shift when people are the most attentive.
So don’t leave the survey on your desk- take the risk, accept the challenge and implement change. “Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Donna Eastwood, B.A.
HR/IR Satellite Inc.
HR/IR Satellite Inc. is an organization that distributes human resources and industrial relations products and services. It utilizes web-based technology without forfeiting the personal connection of human resources experts.
More information on Employee Satisfaction Surveys.