Is your first thought to open it and immediately scroll to the section where your leadership is evaluated, in order to find out what your team think about you as a leader? To find out if warning lights are flashing or if everything looks amazing, and consequently get the blues or, hopefully, pop the champagne? If so, you are certainly not alone but let me suggest you take a deep breath, hold your horses and read this first.
- Do not look at the results! Now I do not mean you should delete the email and act like it never happened, but before you open the report, take some time and think about what results you expect and deserve. How has the past year been? Have events occurred, internally or externally, that have affected your leadership? Have you had to make difficult decisions or make major changes, or has it been a quiet year? How would you evaluate your leadership yourself?
- Now you can open the report. Are the results in line with your self-assessment? Negative feedback should never be swept under the carpet, so take note of the team’s opinions of your leadership. Keep in mind, however, that if events occur that put leadership under pressure, tougher feedback may be natural and a lower result than the year before does not automatically mean that you have failed in your role as a manager. So don’t get all worked up but think about what you need to focus on now to lead your team forward. Are your results amazing, nothing but super green lights everywhere? Give yourself a pat on the back, as the group thinks the leadership is working so well! But dare to ask yourself a self-critical question – could it be that you have protected your team too much and did not dare to make tough demands or implement necessary but difficult changes for fear of putting your leadership to the test?
- Next step: time to look forward. The employee survey reflects how your team has experienced your leadership so far, but what will be important moving forward? One common mistake is to focus only on those areas that are red, but do not forget to look carefully also at the results that look quite good. What leadership behaviors will be important in the coming year, given the results you want to reach? Are the results good enough based on that, or do you also need to focus areas there you have average results?
- Focus and prioritize. Of course, all questions in the employee survey are important, or they wouldn’t have been asked (right?!) but you cannot focus on everything at the same time. As Jim C. Collins wrote: ”If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any”. Choose what is most important, focus on this, follow up, and when you can tick off these goals – set new ones. Has the company set goals for the results of the employee survey? Have you already achieved these goals? Awesome! However, that doesn’t mean that you should lean back and stash the results in your desk. Make a plan for yourself for the coming year. It could be a good idea to discuss with HR or with a fellow manager to get input or new ideas.
- Communicate. Do not forget to give your team feedback on the results and thank them for taking the time to answer the employee survey. Even though it sounds like a cliché, feedback, good or bad, is always a gift. Unfortunately it happens that employees do not get any feedback at all, especially if the results have been lower than expected. If you want your employees to answer the survey next year as well, you should not let their opinions disappear into a black hole. But please do not interrogate employees about why they evaluated your leadership the way they did. Let them know that you have taken their opinions to heart and explain what you will focus on during the coming year. Describe what you will work on based on the results. Invite feedback but never force it.
Do you want to know more about how to maximize the value of your employee surveys, please contract Johanna Wahlström at firstname.lastname@example.org.