The workplace is complicated. The flexible freedom most had during and following the pandemic showed employees that the rigor of office life was not always necessary to be productive, and the new generation joining the workforce bring along higher expectations of employers, who see them as more like mentors who have to earn their respect and authority. Puzzled bosses are looking for strategic insights, but are realizing that the best way to learn what employees want and expect is to just ask them. But when employees are surveyed, it can be the case that they amplify their desires, and may also have higher expectations that their requests will materialize.
New research from employee success platform Quantum Workplace finds that surveys are seen by many as if their companies are just going through the motions of improving their work situations without actually taking any action on the survey results. In fact, about two-thirds of over 1,000 employees surveyed say their organization fails to effectively act on results from employee surveys.
“An employee survey does not fix the employee experience,” said Shane McFeely, Quantum Workplace lead researcher, in a news release. “Employees want to see that their voice and opinions matter. Organizations show that by converting actionable insights from employees to meaningful changes that improve the employee experience.”
Key highlights of the research include:
- 2 in 3 employees believe their organizations fall short in effectively responding to survey results.
- Engaged employees are 3.3 times more likely to feel ownership and involvement in the action-taking process.
- Lack of time, resources, and prioritization are the largest barriers to taking effective action on surveys.
- 76 percent of employees believe that senior leaders are responsible for taking action on surveys.
- Only 1 in 3 employees say they are involved in planning and taking action on engagement.
- Top actions employees want to see in response to surveys are in the topics of career growth, pay and benefits, and organizational communication.
“Action is a required part of an employee listening strategy. Surveys without action are pointless,” McFeely said. “You need to be intentional about post-survey action. When you include employees in action planning, clearly communicate changes, measure progress, and facilitate action at the team level; you will be more effective in creating a magnetic culture employees want to be a part of.”
Based on the research findings, Quantum Workplace experts say to choose fewer items to act on, brainstorm actions with employees, execute with discipline, and communicate progress regularly. Read more about taking action in the firm’s How to Design an Easy and Effective Employee Engagement Action Plan here.
The research in this study is derived from the panel study titled: Taking Action on Employee Surveys (n = 1,068 employees; May 2023). The Quantum Workplace Research Panel is a national opt-in sample derived from the Best Places to Work contest. Quantum Workplace is the employee engagement partner for the nationally recognized Best Places to Work Programs.