An employee or customer survey is a highly visible project. Many organizations are apprehensive about conducting surveys because they know action will be required to address the findings, and they are unsure about meeting employee and customer expectations. Clear and open communication can easily handle these concerns and are integral to the process.
Within the communications, management should make it clear that they are committed to the process and to reviewing the information it produces. But only management can prioritize the corrective actions indicated by the survey for the good of the organization as a whole. Only management can decide which issues can be addressed this year and which need to wait due to budget, manpower, or other restrictions.
Although management must approve the improvements and corrective actions to be taken, management may place the responsibility for making recommendations for improvement on those who will be responsible for implementing them: the managers and employees themselves. This ensures that everyone is involved in transforming the organization, and in making employee and/or customer feedback part of the culture.
With poor or no communication, the survey process can cause division and distrust, so a plan of frequent, open communications regarding the process, its results, and follow-up action is a key element in making it successful. Since people will talk about the survey informally as well as formally, you need to leverage this energy to maximize results. You may have numerous organization-wide announcements to build support and enthusiasm. These announcements may include basic information about the process, key dates that employees can calendar to minimize questions, and statements of commitment from management that assure employees they want to hear what employees and customers have to say.
When designing your internal survey communications use your company logo and colors. You may use terminology like “First Annual” or “Continuous” to reinforce management’s ongoing commitment to the process. Some companies have “kick-off” parties in large, central locations to begin the survey deployment. A celebration is an opportunity to have some fun with a serious project and to make the survey part of the culture!