Hiding Engagement Survey Results – Guaranteed Culture-Killer

Healthcare organizations across the U.S. spend billions each year to assess employee engagement only to keep the engagement survey results under wraps, creating suspicion and frustration among staff.

In my experience, the reasons for not sharing results appear innocent on the surface but typically boil down to executives who feel they cannot release results without the perfect improvement plan. The excuses I hear most frequently from the executive leadership include:

  • “We’re not sure how to communicate the findings without sounding negative.”
  • “We want to have a solid improvement plan in place, so everyone knows how we are going to move forward.”
  • “We don’t want to throw some departments under the bus.”
  • “The data is pretty negative about us (executives) so we need to improve before we share.”
  • “Only the most negative employees responded so it doesn’t give a fair view of engagement.”
    • (Ironically, I have never heard anyone say that they don’t want to share if the results are overly positive.)

You Raised Awareness – Now What?

Most organizations spend time and energy promoting participation in engagement surveys. Raising awareness of the survey is crucial for achieving a good, reliable sample size. The more participants, the better. With participation comes the expectation that leaders will share the data.  

In our focus groups, frontline associates tell us that they resent being asked to participate in surveys without ever hearing the results. We hear:

  • “Why do I bother? They never share the results.”
  • “This is the X time we’ve been asked to fill out surveys and nothing ever happens.”
  • “They don’t want us to know how bad things really are.”

Transparency Over Perfection

If the above scenario rings true for your organization, remember that, in the absence of information, people come to their own conclusions. Don’t leave engagement results up to the rumor mill. Here are some alternatives to silence following a survey:

  • We have received the results, and although we don’t have all the details of how we will follow up, we will be sharing results in… (newsletter, town hall meetings, department meetings, or other channels)
  • You spoke, we listened, and here is what we are doing. Thank you for helping us gain a greater understanding of our current culture.

 Don’t be afraid to share the results. Your employees gave you the scores. They already have a good idea about what the results will show. Transparency shows that you respect them enough to share.

If you’re ready to begin a more transparent relationship with your employees, contact us today for a free consultation



Tags: ,

Subscribe to our Articles and stay up to date on leadership practices, employee engagement, retention, and service excellence.

Submit your information below to start receiving our Baird Group articles.