Yes, surveying your employees may actually be bad for your organization’s health. In my consulting and work experience, I have seen first hand how organizations that conduct an employee survey actually dampen employee morale by not doing anything with the results. In some cases, the survey instigators even go to the trouble of reporting and communicating the survey results to employees, but nothing happens after that.

My experience, and that of my colleagues, is now borne out by BlessingWhite’s latest report on employee engagement. I was most interested to read in the report that organizations that conduct an employee survey and do no visible follow up activities have fewer engaged employees than the average. In BlessingWhite’s study, 26% of respondents who experienced a survey but no follow up were engaged with their job. Compare that with an average of 31% of employees who are engaged. Running an employee survey and then sitting on your hands is doing your organization damage.

Not conducting a survey at all is not much good for your organization’s health either. Of the employees that did not witness a survey, only 25% of them are engaged. The best outcome is conducting a survey and doing something about the results. Nearly half of all employees (44%) that reported witnessing a survey and follow up action are engaged.

So, the upshot is that by conducting an employee survey and acting on the results you could in some circumstances almost double the number of engaged employees in your organization. And what a difference that could make!

How is your organization at following up survey results with action plans? Are your managers on board with implementing improvement plans? What gets in the way of formulating action plans and carrying them out?


Employee Engagement Report 2011 – Summary

Employee Engagement Report 2011 – Beyond the Numbers: A Practical Approach for Individuals, Managers, and Executives