Engagement surveys are meant to gather employee feedback and sentiment and make employees feel heard and understood. These surveys come in various forms, including annual in-depth surveys and more frequent, shorter pulse surveys. So, why do many employees still feel disengaged and unheard despite organisations conducting these surveys year after year? Gallup’s latest estimates of global employee engagement stand at a mere 23%. So where is the disconnect? Are surveys a box-ticking exercise or a springboard for real change?

Surveys can drive engagement, but only if they are managed well and are not seen as tick-box exercises. Poorly managed surveys can become a source of disengagement, especially when expectations are unclear from the outset. This exercise should be seen as an opportunity to spark discussions around key issues related to employee well-being, strategy, and organisational health. What you do after the survey is even more crucial.

Here’s how to effectively treat the results of your annual engagement surveys:

From Numbers to Narratives: Understanding Your Engagement Survey Results

Start by focusing on the numbers. Engagement surveys excel at providing hard data through quantitative measurements. Look for a provider with benchmarks to easily identify areas of struggle. Some helpful benchmarks to look at would include external benchmarks like industry and company-size benchmarks.

The results should not be viewed in isolation. Look for patterns to understand and correlate survey results with other HR data (such as voluntary turnover, tenure and sick leave) and other business metrics, to get a comprehensive view of your engagement landscape. 

Once you have a clear view of the results, including problem areas and strengths, prepare to present the feedback company-wide. Decide which numbers you want to influence, identify areas of strength and action points to tackle those areas that need improvements.

Communicating Results Effectively

Before presenting, ensure your communication is focused around key topics. Some of these topics might seem like opening a Pandora’s box. For instance, team members might request more benefits, but your organisation may not be able to provide them immediately. Transparency builds trust, and in such cases where solutions aren’t readily available, don’t ignore or hide this, but be honest about what can be changed now and what requires long-term planning. If there is any open-ended feedback, this should be properly tagged and categorised.

To drive the message “we’re hearing you,” share aggregated feedback organisation-wide and link it to an action plan that you are taking to address employee concerns.

Engaging in Group Discussions

Surveys can provide valuable quantitative insights, but qualitative insights are also needed. These are what will derive action points to drive change and improvement. Quantitative insights are raw information, but qualitative insights are actionable.

Beyond the numbers, hold open discussions with team members to uncover the “why” behind your results. Engage in focus groups and similar fora to gather deeper insights.

Ensure these conversations respect employee anonymity and are not used to identify who said what. The focus should never be on who is highlighting the issue but rather on what the issue is. Allow these discussions to happen naturally, giving employees the freedom to voice their opinions if they choose to.

Empowering Managers to Drive Change

Managers are key players in driving change within their teams. However, engagement surveys can expose weaknesses in team management, posing a challenge and making the results difficult to accept. To enable change, managers must be ready to accept constructive feedback and recognise their areas for improvement. What can HR do?

  • Support them. Provide tailored reports and action plans for each department. Allow them to discuss results and ensure they align with employee feedback. Bridge any gaps between manager and team perspectives.
  • Empower them. Equip managers to share results and facilitate team discussions focused on the main issues that require change. Leaders who accept and discuss feedback with their team can significantly enhance the feeling of being heard among employees.

Implementing and Following Up on Action Plans

With an action plan in place, the results shared, and managers onboard, what’s next? Do you wait until next year to repeat the process? Annual surveys are great for conducting yearly analyses and tracking trends, but ensuring employees are engaged and feel heard shouldn’t be a yearly exercise.

Shorter, more frequent pulse and sentiment surveys can gauge the impact of your action plans and keep the dialogue with employees ongoing.


Organisations often mistake conducting a survey as the solution to disengagement. It’s not. Surveys are tools to identify issues of disengagement. The real solution lies in what you do with the results afterwards. Analyse them, create narratives and action plans, communicate effectively and engage managers to drive the dialogue.

Tackling disengagement requires commitment and ongoing effort. It’s about using the right tool to identify issues and then taking action to create lasting change. In doing so, ensuring you are using the right tools is vital. Talexio Team Voice helps you measure what matters and pinpoint areas for improvement. By following through on the feedback and committing to change, organisations can genuinely enhance employee engagement and make every voice count.