Guidelines for sharing survey results company-wide?

Historically our company has shared the results, without segmentation or comments, of engagement surveys with the entire company. As we grow this level of access is at once both empowering and overwhelming – e.g. our Spring survey had 25 questions, each of which has a fairly nuanced breakdown regarding how the company-wide score reflects actual department / team / manager needs.

On the one hand, it’d be easy to just say “don’t share out the report that widely”. But the report access does reinforce a culture of transparency and shared ownership, which will be necessary as we grow.

Anyone have experience with crafting a company comms program around survey results that errs on this side of employee transparency? And/or more general thoughts or advice?

Thank you!

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If there was a compelling reason NOT to share widely, consider it - but otherwise, why wouldn’t you? Yes, people are most interested in local results - but from what you say, transparency and shared ownership seem to be part of the culture you’d like to engender.

Typically I’ve shared results in a cascade fashion. Company-wide first - to everyone - and then by smaller segments (depending on how large your organisation is this could be one step, or a couple). If nothing else, it allows comparison to the company overall benchmark - which is often enlightening.

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Our organisation is quite large and global, and that’s a challenge in itself, ie, who should see what. As a matter of course, I publish the global results, and the results by region, business unit and function. I am a strong advocate for making results as accessible as possible. As one gets down into structure though, those results are owned by the individual teams up through the reporting line.

To launch the results, I did a video with our COO and global people director - one which was very honest and acknowledged some of the more pressing challenges the results highlight. It’s vital that leaders own the results - not HR! And they must be accountable for making sure they are cascaded down.

Employees know what’s going on in an organisation, so comms need to match their experiences. Honesty is important; it’s how you focus on what matters and talk in an authentic and natural way. Don’t try to hide anything with jargon or spin, and don’t ignore the things that you know are the most important, even if it requires some reflection from the leadership on their role in why perceptions are the way they are.

We don’t share comments. Our HRBPs will provide summaries using extracts from comments which help to identify the key issues that are being raised.

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Like Georgina, my organization is also large and global. We administer a survey of close to 60 questions and publish enterprise scores only at the factor level to all employees. The scores are always published with a message from our CEO, who calls out the notable trends (positive and negative) and sets expectations for next steps.

Every leader has access to their own team’s detailed results with comments, and in these reports they have visibility into all enterprise question scores and their division’s scores through the comparison feature.

We find that this level of transparency and communication provides employees with big-picture awareness, while keeping leaders’ focus on their local team’s results, which they have the most ability to impact.

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I view transparency in and of itself as a neutral thing.
It can have a positive impact of reinforcing shared ownership only when it’s part of a broader collaborative problem-solving effort (“co-creation” in Asana-speak).
But if you just overwhelm people with data, or pair that with messaging/process that reinforces “learned helplessness” or that it’s only mgmt/leadership’s job to address the insights stemming from the data - transparency will likely have a negative impact.