TSI Blog

Research shows that Line Managers don’t act on their employee survey feedback – is this true?

November 22nd, 2011 by Gary Cattermole

Recent research from AON Hewitt and their European Engagement database suggests that line managers are not acting on their employee engagement survey feedback – on average spending only two to five days a year on engagement relating activities.

Is this really true and reflective?

Certainly one of employees major gripes about any employee based survey is action and will it be taken.

In our experience, we have seen a shift change in attitudes towards surveys by organisations over the past 10 years.  It could be argued that they were ‘tick box’ exercises – now, however, this isn’t the case.

Over the last few years all of the organisations we have worked with are genuinely dedicated to taking action that has a positive impact on their organisation, as a direct result of their employee survey feedback.  It would be fair to say, that in all my 15 years research experience, I’ve never seen such genuine commitment – be it at board level or at local managerial level.  There is a real desire and understanding that engaged employees can make a considerable difference to the team and organisation.

So, from a personal and professional point of view – is the AON Hewitt data described above accurate?  Well, it probably is (contrary to my statement above!) but it is not as clear-cut as you might think.  We need to consider something, it’s a caveat and it’s this. A word:


Whilst we have seen real vigor for positive action – sometimes the link between the survey and action is lost.  Therefore, the perception can be that an organisation hasn’t taken action as a result of survey feedback.  Employees, rightly or wrongly, look at the survey and wonder why they should bother, they perceive that action hasn’t been taken as there is no direct link.  Their view, in this situation, is that the survey has been a waste of time.

Here we have a classic ‘communication’ issue – whilst organisations get the action right, they fail to make the connection, via internal communications, that remedial work undertaken is a direct result of the survey feedback.  Therefore, it is no wonder that the perception from some employees is that ‘nothing ever gets done’.

Employee Engagement Surveys | Survey Communication

The survey communication process should never actually stop – whilst organisations look for quick wins following a survey, some of the issues being tackled are longer term (cultural and behavioral shifts for example).  Therefore, it is vital that the message is reinforced on an on-going basis so that employees are clear, every step of the way, that it’s their feedback from their employee engagement survey that is driving the positive change.

As John Milton once said:

"Good, the more communicated, more abundant grows."

Click to learn more about our positive approach to employee engagement surveys.

Written by Gary Cattermole
Gary Cattermole is a Director at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Gary has extensive expertise and experience in a range of employee research techniques from employees surveys and 360 degree feedback to workshop facilitation and action planning sessions, working with a diverse range of clients such as EPSON, Telegraph Media Group, Natural History Museum, AVEVA and Accor. Gary is an avid sports fan, in particular table tennis and football. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

1 response

Posted by: Employee Engagement Surveys | Good Survey Communication | The Survey Initiative | Employee Engagement – The Inside Story | Scoop.it
November 24, 2011

[…] Employee Engagement Surveys | Good Survey Communication | The Survey Initiative An employee engagement survey blog looking at the importance that internal communications play in the role of employee surveys. Source: http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk […]

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