How To Actually Get Stuff Done

The employee engagement survey results are in. Now what? You can collect data until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t have a way to turn that information into actionable insights, it’s not going to make an ounce of difference in your company.

Raw Data Isn’t Enough 

Managers who gather data about employee satisfaction, performance, engagement, efficiency and the like can run into the same stumbling blocks as executives who are trying to harness big data analytics for business intelligence. According to a recent KPMG study, 85 percent of business leaders indicated that their biggest challenge with data analytics was accurately analyzing and interpreting information. Three-quarters of respondents said they had trouble actively making decisions based on data results.

“From CEOs to CFOs, CIOs and CMOs, the challenge for today’s executive is understanding how to draw actionable insights from data and turn them into tangible, genuine results,”  said Mark Toon, CEO of KPMG Capital.

In short, there are a lot of technological resources to collect, store and integrate data, but the information is only valuable when it can drive strategic change.

Surveys Must Be Followed By Action

If you go through the trouble of soliciting employee feedback, you need to have productive and effective ways to understand the information and act on your insights. Of course, analyzing is one thing – acting is another. You don’t want to get so caught up in the reporting and analysis phase that you miss the opportunity to actually bring about a difference with the project. To make it easier for managers to derive insights that they can then act on, some talent management software provides reports and resources for prescribing actions and measuring outcomes.

Swapnil Shah, CEO of FirstFuel, explained in Greentech Media that data analytics must be focused on tangible results. To bridge the gap between data collection and results, he suggested customizing and scaling insights. You might have a lot of information from across your organization – focus on a few key pieces for specific departments, offering leaders manageable suggestions with reasonable goals.

Shaping Employee Culture

In addition to optimizing business practices and bolstering productivity, acting on employee engagement surveys is an important strategy for forming a positive company culture. Workers who are disengaged often feel they lack a voice and their opinions aren’t valued. Responding to feedback creates open lines of communication and demonstrates that management is receptive to employee ideas and preferences. Sharing survey results with team members and focusing on ways to improve the group can also foster a closer working community.

“Engagement is really about what you do every day to make employees feel part of a team. They need to know how they make that team better every day,” Florida Power & Light’s vice president Michael Kiley told the Miami Herald. “They don’t want to let down their peers.”

The source added that employee engagement should be aimed at long-term, sustainable changes, not Band-Aid fixes or diverting perks. Overall, surveys can never be an end in themselves – they’re a powerful tool for measuring and analyzing workplace performance, but their true value lies in the action they inspire.

(About the Author: David Bator is passionate about programs that move people. As Vice President of Client Strategy at TemboStatus he works with growing companies everyday and helps them bridge the gap between assessing employee engagement and addressing it with action. For the last 15 years David has worked with the leadership of companies large and small to build programs that leverage strategy and technology to deliver extraordinary value for employees, customers and partners.)

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