How to Analyze Employee Survey Results

Lorena Martinez

Author

What to work on post-survey employee results

Congratulations on completing your recent employee engagement survey! Getting employee feedback is the first step towards creating a high-trust, high-performing organization.

Now it’s time to:

  • Make sense of your data
  • Conduct listening sessions
  • Decide what focus areas you want to improve on

Focusing on the areas that have the most impact on company culture will increase the likelihood of seeing a tangible ROI. But how do you know which areas those are?

Over the past 11+ years, I’ve worked with hundreds of companies who have used our Trust Index™ employee survey to get feedback and change their cultures. Here’s what I’ve learned about identifying which areas will be most (and least) impactful as you work toward meaningful culture change.

Don’t get distracted by your lowest scoring areas

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the least effective approaches a company can take is to simply focus on the areas with the lowest scores.

Across companies, employees tend to be most critical about the same topics, including employees at the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®:

  • Fair compensation
  • Favoritism
  • Fair promotions
  • Workplace politics

These areas often get the lowest satisfaction marks from employees, regardless of company size or industry.

Low scores in these areas should really only be a focal point if they’re low compared to an industry benchmark.

One way to benchmark your employee experience is to compare it against the Fortune 100 Best by using our Trust Index. You may find that what seems like a low score to you is in fact better than many other companies’ scores.

Many companies’ first inclination after seeing their lowest score in these areas is to:

  • Increase salaries
  • Give bonuses
  • Define processes
  • Do more staff celebrations

They naturally think these actions are the key to quickly improving their overall employee experience.

While equitable compensation and benefits are essential foundations for employees’ well-being, they alone do not have a high impact on overall employee experience.

It’s easy to understand why companies work on these areas: these are also the most common topics employees bring up in listening sessions.

The question many companies fail to ask is, Why are these the areas our employees are bringing up?

In my experience, employees feel safer speaking up about tangible things such as money, IT equipment, facilities, or time-off instead of intangibles such as whether their bosses treat them with respect.

This is why it’s so important to dig deeper in listening sessions to get beneath the surface and learn what the real issues are. There’s always more to the employee experience than what employees will initially say.

Focus on high-impact areas

Between our Trust Model methodology and my direct experience working with clients, I’ve learned that some areas are more impactful than others on company culture.

If most employees have a consistently positive experience in these high-impact areas, then all areas of the employee experience tend to improve (even those unpopular topics above!):

  • Showing appreciation for everyone in the organization
  • Seeking and responding to peoples’ ideas
  • Involving people in important decisions
  • Making leaders approachable
  • Ensuring employees can get straight answers from leaders

I’ve seen dozens of companies focus their efforts on just one or two of these high-impact areas consistently with all their leaders. When they do this well, their next employee survey results show a significant overall improvement, especially when it comes to perceptions of compensation and fairness.

Look at gaps between managerial levels

Rather than focusing on survey scores for individual managers, it is more effective to compare scores between manager levels.

Look for differences between the experiences of:

  • Your individual contributors
  • Their managers
  • Other leaders in the organization, including executives

How widely does the workplace experience vary between these groups?

Once you identify that a particular level is having a less positive experience, you can support their leaders to improve. This approach helps to increase leaders’ accountability by clearly showing them how they influence their employees’ experiences.

Our research shows that reducing gaps between managerial levels leads to increased revenue growth and innovation. When experiences vary widely depending on the job level, organizations miss the benefits of agility and adaptability.

Make choices you can sustain

When defining your actions for improvement, it’s important to choose only one or two areas where you can continually support as many leaders as possible to deliver a better experience to their teams. This is far more impactful than a series of one-time initiatives.

Exchange knowledge among leaders

One of the most powerful things I see companies doing is sharing insights from their “pockets of greatness” with the rest of the organization. In almost all companies there are positive examples already happening — you simply need to uncover them!

At the Best Workplaces™, leaders leverage the knowledge of managers who are already creating great experiences for their teams to help other leaders who want to improve.

By evaluating your employee survey results, sharpening your focus and creating a workable action plan, you can drive steady, sustainable, positive change in your company culture.

Emprising™, our culture management platform, allows you to analyze your data to make these kinds of data-driven people decisions. If you’re not analyzing these focus areas in your employee survey, that’s OK. Reach out to us if you would like to learn more about Emprising and our process here.

Lorena Martinez

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees