How Do We Handle Negative Results From an Employee Survey?

Sections of this topic

    We recently did a survey and were surprised that our employees had negative feelings about their work. They felt frustrated and unappreciated. What should we do?

    Congratulations first on taking the time to survey and listen to your employees; second on paying attention to the results, even if they were not what you expected. Without strong positive ties to work or the work experience, employees have little incentive to go the distance or deliver consistently top performance.

    So the next step is to understand the reasons for employee negativity. Don’t skip this step or you may be wasting your money, time and credibility by investing in the wrong solutions.

    Let’s say that you find out that people don’t feel appreciated because your company tends to reward everyone in the same way. Rewards are most appreciated when they are individualized. Not one size fits all. What delights one person may mean little to another. In addition, people change over time, so that what is rewarding today may not be in the future. To make sure that rewards are genuinely effective in encouraging people, it is worth investing a bit of time in an “armchair analysis” to identify potential rewards for individuals.

    Here’s a suggested process:

    • Make a list of feasible rewards you could possibly offer your staff members.
    • Sit back in your armchair with the list and with a particular individual in mind.
    • Review what you know about that individual: the way she likes to work, the kind of work she likes, hobbies, interests, etc.
    • Decide which of the possible rewards would be most appreciated by that individual.
    • Offer one of these rewards the next time you observe good performance and then check the individual reaction

    Management Success Tip

    Think of this as an opportunity to determine what is most effective for each individual in the team. You may also find that the exercise causes you to become aware of things about the people you work with, that you hadn’t really paid attention to before. Also see How to Encourage Everyone to Do Their Best Work, Five Ways to Motivate Your Best People and Not Break the Bank and Recognize the Importance of Recognition.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?