You’ve likely heard the shocking statistic that only 34% of employees feel engaged at work. That’s bad news for employers, because employee engagement–or lack thereof–is a key indicator of performance, from productivity and absenteeism to high turnover. 

Fortunately, research also points to key ways to improve employee engagement, including giving employees the opportunity to share their experiences at, and perspectives on, their workplace.

We shared last week how important listening to your employees is for keeping them engaged. You’ve chosen an employee data tool and designed your research in a way that helps you understand the experiences of your employees, uncover pain points that might be impacting their job satisfaction, or evaluate if new processes you recently rolled out are having the intended impact. Your questions were specific, relevant, and actionable. You’ve analyzed the survey results and identified key themes from focus group discussions or in-depth interviews. 

Now what?

The last thing you want to do is waste all of that great employee data. Hard-earned results from your research need to be actionable, meaning you can use them to make decisions, changes, and workplace improvements for your employees. Use these tips to ensure that the valuable information you collect from and for your employees doesn’t go to waste.

Keep context in mind. 

Data needs context in order to inform decision-making. Focus groups or in-depth interviews may not provide feedback that is representative of the entire organization, but the results can help you identify and understand employee issues. An annual survey may reveal high level trends but might not tell you why these things are happening in the organization. Using this data effectively means keeping the research design in perspective when making decisions based on the results. 

Want to learn more about putting data to work to help your organization work better? MatchPace can help!

Start small. 

Testing, learning, and iterating are essential for effectively using employee feedback. This can be especially true when you are working with qualitative feedback–descriptive information about employee experiences from focus groups and interviews– that may not be representative of the attitudes and experiences of all of the employees in your organization. When using data to make changes, be willing to try a new process or implement a new policy over a specified period of time and then follow-up with employees to see if the changes had the intended results.

Hold leaders accountable. 

In order to use data well, someone has to be responsible for implementing any changes made based on the results of the research. Review key insights from your research with organizational leaders and coach them on how to implement decisions day-to-day with their teams.

Be willing to dig deeper. Listening to your employees isn’t something that you can do once and check off the list for the rest of the year, feeling good about your efforts. Not only do you need to show your employees you care about what they have to say by making changes based on your feedback, but also expect your initial research to lead to more questions. Be open to digging deeper to refine your insights, gain additional clarity around your decisions, and continue to refine workplace structures to keep employees engaged and productive.

You don’t have to do something BIG, you just have to do something. Often, using data effectively merely requires showing your employees that you are listening. You may find over the course of your research, for example, that employees aren’t experiencing the values you believe to be the hallmark of your organization day-to-day. Moving from insight to action may just require better communication of your organization’s norms or policies and ensuring that your leaders are representing those values and cultivating them among the staff. 

Once you have valuable employee data in hand and decide what you’re going to do based on the results, make sure to close the feedback loop. Let your employees know what you did and amplify the power of their voice. The result? Engaged employees who know you have their best interests at heart working together effectively to achieve your organization’s mission.