ESAT Key Steps
Sharing the Results of an Employee Satisfaction Survey

It is critical to share results in a timely manner for at least two reasons:

  1. Everyone must know where the organization as a whole and their individual areas stand if you are going to fully leverage the creativity and efforts of the employee base.
  2. Employees need to know that the time they spent in completing the survey was worthwhile.

Each organization has its own information-sharing culture in place. While in some cases, particularly if the survey showed communication to be a problem, the process will need some adjustment, we recognize that each organization will have an approach to information dissemination that it typically leverages. As such, modifications to our recommended approach may be in order to account for an organization's information-sharing culture.

The Basic Principles of Sharing Employee Satisfaction Survey Results

  1. Be honest. An organization must be willing to share both its strengths and its areas in need of improvement. Employees will see through attempts to hide or "spin" information.
  2. Be timely. The sooner you release results, the sooner the organization can begin to move toward positive change.
  3. Share appropriate information at each level. Senior management will need encapsulated results and access to detailed results for the organization as a whole and differences between divisions/departments. Division managers will need to know how their division compares to the organization as a whole and how departments in the division compare to each other. Department managers will need to know how their results compare to the organization as a whole and to the division to which they belong.
  4. Don't embarrass people in front of their peers. Teamwork and morale can be harmed if, for example, a division manager shows all department scores to the department managers in a group setting. Rather than pointing out low-scoring departments to all department managers, let all department managers know how they fared compared to other departments via one-on-one meetings.
  5. Discuss what happens next. After the results have bee presented, let the audience know what steps will be taken to improve those items in need of improvement.
  6. Respect confidentiality. Don't present information that would make people feel that their responses are not confidential. For example, it would not be appropriate for anyone in the organization to have access to comments for a small department, since some people may be able to accurately guess who made what comment. Your research supplier should assist in this by not providing information that could breach, or could be perceived to breach, confidentiality.

Process Considerations

  1. Have a plan in place to disseminate information before the survey has been completed.
  2. The CEO/president should be briefed by the internal project manager and/or the research supplier.
  3. The CEO/president should share the results with division managers. Overall results should be shared in a group setting. Individual results should be shared in one-on-one meetings.
  4. Division managers should share results with department managers in a similar manner to the approach the CEO/president took with them.
  5. Key findings and implications should be highlighted in each presentation. Detailed results also should be presented. However, take care to avoid drowning people in information. This can be done by relying more heavily on graphics than on detailed tables to communicate.
  6. Give employees an overview of overall results through the best means possible. For some organizations, this will be in a group setting. For others, it will be via email, Intranet, or newsletter. Consider using multiple methods.
  7. Department managers should share departmental results with employees in a group meeting. It may be helpful to have an HR manager assist in the presentation. If HR managers will be part of this process, planning ahead will help the meetings to proceed smoothly and take place in a timely manner.
  8. In all communications, make sure the communication is "two way." Questions should be encouraged.