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5 Ways to Decide What to Work On Post Employee Survey

Your employee survey results are in. Now what? It’s time to take action...but where to start? Going through each and every survey question and choosing a place to focus your employee survey action planning can be like going down the rabbit hole. Here are five ways you can narrow your focus for employee survey follow-up.

1. Lowest Scoring Employee Survey Questions

This is a very basic method companies use to identify where they want to improve employee engagement. Simply sort your survey questions by score and examine the lowest items.


It’s easy and straightforward. It can uncover your weakest areas.


Not all areas of your culture have the same impact on employee engagement. At some organizations, or within some employee groups, manager effectiveness might have the most impact on employee engagement overall, whereas at other organizations recognition and feeling valued might have the most impact. This varies from organization to organization. By only focusing on low-scoring employee survey questions, you might select to work on areas that won’t make a big impact on overall employee engagement.

2. Top Drivers or High Impact Survey Questions

Once you have your key drivers of engagement, identify the lowest-scoring drivers. These are potential areas of focus since they have the most room for improvement. It’s also good to consider which top drivers your team is in control of improving and which top drivers your team is most passionate about focusing on.


Focusing your employee survey action plan on high-impact survey questions is a strategic way to maximize your organization’s ability to improve employee engagement. By focusing on these survey questions, you’re potentially finding where you have the most leverage to make big changes.


This approach requires a drivers analysis to be conducted (which Quantum Workplace provides for your Engagement Survey). This analysis isn’t always conducted for very short surveys or pulse surveys. It’s also a little more advanced of an approach, but this can be solved by educating your team that certain survey questions can improve engagement more than other survey questions. 

3. Survey Questions With Largest Year-Over-Year Decline

This is another easy way to examine employee survey results. Line up your current year and past years' results, subtract previous survey scores from this year’s results and then sort. If you have any survey questions that have declined, consider focusing on those with the largest year-over-year decline.


This method is a great way to uncover warning areas. An employee survey item with a high score and a high decline might not be spotted otherwise. This is a great way to catch survey questions that could have low scores in the future without intervention.


The obvious con is that this won’t work for first-time surveyors or for newly introduced survey questions. A less obvious issue is that if you’ve experienced big changes in staff over the past year, comparing year-over-year data can paint an inaccurate picture.

4. Survey Questions Where a Team Scored Below the Organization

When smaller groups, such as locations, departments, or teams, meet to create their team action plans, this method can be used to identify gaps between the group and the organization as a whole. Simply compare your team’s score on each item to the organization's score on each survey item. Then focus on those survey questions where the group fell behind the organization as a whole.


For employee groups less engaged than the rest of the organization, this method can help pinpoint the areas that most need improvement to raise up to the engagement level of the entire organization.


Focusing on this method alone can create an “us vs. them” mentality. The moderator will need to be skilled to guide constructive conversations about improvements.

5. Employee Survey Question or Comments Sparking the Most Discussion

When examining where to focus your action after the survey, don’t feel like you have to rigidly look to the numbers only. Let employees drive the conversation. If they point out a survey question or themes in employee comments that lead to a large amount of discussion, this could also be a great area to focus on.


You might uncover an opportunity that the numbers didn’t point to. Also, this shows flexibility in letting employees drive where they want to focus improvements.


A vocal minority could lead the group to focus on something that the majority doesn’t view as a critical factor. Navigating this method requires a skilled moderator to lead a discussion.

The organizations and teams that do the best job at action planning following an employee survey use a mixture of these methods to determine their next steps. Examine your results from each of these lenses with your employees, and see which survey questions rise to the top. Let your employees drive where you place your efforts for improving employee engagement. And remember to stay positive. When employees feel like you’re all in this together and everyone has a vested interest in improving your workplace culture, that’s when you’ll make the most impact and have the most successful action planning sessions.