A Manager's guide to reviewing results and taking action
So, you've been given the results of your team's survey. Great! Now what to do with them? This guide will walk you through the steps to ensure you maximise the value from your team's feedback.
When you receive access to your results, it is important to understand the feedback before taking further steps.
If you need more help and support to interpret the results, we recommend you contact your survey administrator for advice. The following gives an overview of the recommended approach to assessing your team's feedback.
Firstly, check the participation rate of your team. Is it a good representative sample? You don't need 100% participation but the greater it is, the more representative and reliable your results are across the team.
When reviewing the feedback, there are a few points to keep in mind:
Are there any key themes? Don't forget to look out for positives! As an example, if the category of 'Leadership' appears several times in your highest-scoring questions, this helps to identify successes and positive feedback for your leadership team around these question topics. Alternatively, if questions from the 'Internal Communication' category appears repeatedly in your lowest scoring questions, this can identify an opportunity for improvement. These lowest scoring questions are helpful to identify areas to work on with your team.
Do the scores confirm anything you already knew? If so, you now have data to back this up. Can you use this information to strengthen a case for change?
Is there anything here that surprises you? Again, you have data as evidence. In our experience, even in small teams and organisations, managers are often surprised at an insight they have learned from the process.
View the feedback as constructive - feedback usually represents people's perception of the situation. This may or may not be the reality from your perspective, but it is their reality. This dissonance can be hard to accept. Irrespective of whether you agree or not with the feedback, there is work to be done to either fix the issue or to change the perception of the person or group of people - because in the feedback giver’s experience, the situation is real enough to raise it.
Most importantly, don't be defensive. It is the progress you need to focus on. Give your team the support and guidance they need to set them up for success. This will lift improvement in your team and your leadership, build openness and trust and make everyone take ownership in driving success.
Set-up a review session with your team
Set up a meeting with your team to discuss the survey results. We recommend you do this as soon as possible after your survey has closed. If possible do this in person and in a room where people will feel comfortable talking openly and honestly. Think about a day and time where you will get the most out of people. e.g. don’t organise a review session at 4pm on a Friday!
Walk through the results with your team. Try not to put your own interpretation out there as fact before others have had a chance to review the results. But do help the team to understand the charts, and the scores. Use open-ended questions asking your team along the way if they expected these results and were there any surprises for them.
Create a climate of open dialogue about the survey results. Express a desire to improve the situation and ask your team for their help. As a leader you don't need to have all the answers. Your team if asked, will provide suggestions. And if listened to, will generate greater buy-in and support for any changes.
Give your team a safe environment—let the team nominate someone within the group to document suggestions for how you can improve your behaviours and/or the work environment. In some cases, you may ask a unbiased third party, such as your HR team or the AskYourTeam Client Services Team to help by facilitating these discussions.
Do you need to delve deeper?
What we mean by 'delving deeper' is to ask more questions on a specific topic where you need to know more before proceeding sensibly with action planning and addressing issues or implementing appropriate changes.
You may do this face to face in the review session above, but if it is a particularly sensitive topic, we strongly recommend you run another short, targeted, anonymous survey using AskYourTeam to get more feedback. Making it anonymous will help people feel comfortable providing 'hard truths' that as human beings we all feel uncomfortable to say face to face.
Ask Delving Deeper questions within two weeks of the survey closing. This shows your team that they have been listened to. And you want to know more.
Make it a short timeframe to turn it around quickly
Keep the momentum going and ensure the survey responses don’t go into a black hole. Follow up and share results shortly after
If you do not have the user permissions to create your own survey, we recommend you contact your survey administrator for help.
How to identify and agree actions
Action planning can be difficult. And it can be straight-forward. It depends on the feedback sentiment and the types of issues highlighted. Your team may feel quite involved and can offer up great suggestions on obvious issues that need little debate. And other times the team may struggle with the topic, or they may not feel safe to speak up. If it is the latter, strong facilitation skills will be required. Don't give up! Involving your team in action planning will strengthen the likelihood of successfully achieving positive change. You can park the session and set up another with external help if you feel you need it.
If the items in need of attention include topics about you (leadership) it is not recommended that you try and facilitate action planning to improve your own behaviours. As people, we find it uncomfortable giving personal feedback face to face if it is negative. And even more so if it's to the boss! Set-up a session with your HR team or your own manager to review the results. You will be able to generate actions to help improve your leadership.
Involve your team in selecting no more than 3 items to work on (we recommend a small number of actions so you can focus on successfully implementing the changes). Choose issues and actions that your team can agree on as a group and keep the action plans simple and actionable. Generally areas to focus on will be something that:
you and your team have the ability to influence
you are willing to put resources behind (money, effort, time, people)
you feel optimistic about addressing and getting employees behind it
where possible, is aligned with what your organisation needs to achieve its goals and objectives.
Solutions should come from your team. An action plan is more likely to be successful if your team believes in it – let them offer the best approach to improvement.
The actions don't have to be large, complex or impressive. They can be small, and incremental. Above all they must be able to make a difference.
Once you and your team have agreed on your focus areas to improve, think about the next steps to get there. Have the team agree an action (again, don't make too many or else it risks the likelihood of success) and assign an owner. Ideally this is one person accountable for the action (an Action Owner). And make a clear timeframe for implementation. We encourage asking for volunteers so that you get employees who are truly invested in helping to address the challenge.
Holding workshops is a good way to generate creative ideas in a collaborative way (it can be fun too!)
Once there are some really solid ideas, a good plan would including:
Headline – what area of concern is it solving?
How could this idea work?
What are the first 3 steps to get this idea off the ground?
Are there any downsides to this idea?
What resources and time are required?
We recommend you use AskYourTeam's Action Management tool (you need a log-in to view this) to help manage your team's actions. It is a simple tool that records the action, assigns a single owner, links the action to the survey and the relevant question. It can track comments, send simple notifications such as reminders and gives the organisation a view of all the work going on.
Working on your actions
Encourage the Action Owners to start working on their action plans as soon as possible.
Ensure you have regular check-ins with team to see how the actions are progressing.
A retest is part of the ask - listen - act cycle of involvement and continuous improvement. Once you're action has been implemented, set-up another AskYourTeam survey to measure the impact of the action.
Lock in retest survey dates – do this when you are formulating your plan. Choose a date in 1, 2 or 3 months time – any later than 3 months and the correlation between your actions and progress can be blurred by other influences.
If the action is a long-term implementation, don't necessarily wait for it to be completed before retesting.
Retesting early and often will help you to course-correct. If the impact isn't significantly positive, what could you change to make further improvement?