Become 2016’s HR All-Star: How to Utilize Employee Surveys to Transform Your Organization

If you’re ready to crank up your HR skills and make a name for yourself at your company in 2016, keep reading. Research has shown nearly 80 percent of mid-to large organizations conduct employee surveys on a somewhat regular basis (bi-annually or annually). The question is—how many of those organizations can actually speak to the value of the survey? Probably very few because there are certainly barriers to getting there. So for you, we are providing “barrier busters” below to help you remove obstacles and instead enable you to use your employee survey as a way to impact real business outcomes. Ultimately, you’ll set yourself apart as one of the few who isn’t simply checking the employee survey box.

Barrier: Getting Buy-In From the CEO

To get buy-in (and budget!) from the CEO, continue to take the focus off of “engage­ment” or satisfaction and put the focus on outcomes that actually matter — retention, customer satisfaction, productivity, etc. Employee engagement is not a business out­come, and it never has been. To be a business-focused HR partner, incorporate analytics that will show the value of conducting a survey for business outcomes that matter to your organization’s leadership.

Barrier: Demonstrating the Value of the Survey

Although conducting more sophisticated analysis is complicated, doing so makes the re­sults practical and action-oriented. Use an internal resource with a statistics background, reach out to a local university professor or student to assist with the analysis, or require your vendor to provide these analyses.

Barrier: Slow Turnaround Time

Getting the right data in the right place at the right level can be a process in and of itself. Reach out cross-functionally ahead of time so that you can turn around your analyses and recommendations quickly upon conclusion of the survey.

Barrier: Activating your Front Line, Not Just the Boardroom

Often the linkage analysis (if done at all) is relegated to the boardroom for review with senior leaders. While this is a great place to get started, execution takes place on the front-lines, so, get the word out about how attitudes drive business results. Again, this will take the focus off of the survey as a “let’s see if they are happy” and puts the focus on using employee at­titudes as a means to a (profitable) end.

Barrier: Getting the Entire Organization on the Same Page

As you know, not all of the leaders in your organization are focused on the same business outcome. So, incorporate local, relevant business outcomes into your senior level presentations so that you get buy-in across the organization. For example, although there may be a strong productivity metric in operations, the focus in corpo­rate IT might be on retention. Provide each function with the data and analysis around outcomes that are most relevant to them — this will drive home the importance of the survey and continue to increase your stature as a business partner.

You are now empowered to make a real difference at your organization! Need help on the analytics front? SMD’s patented talent management software, SMD Link, helps organizations harness the full potential of employee surveys by linking survey items to business outcomes. SMD’s tools allow organizations to quantify the impact of employee attitudes on business results. Furthermore, SMD’s Strategic Survey HeatMaps® focus leaders on the critical few drivers that will have the greatest impact on results. To learn more, contact us at

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