When asked for opinions through workplace surveys, we all want to see proof that we’ve been heard.

Survey storytelling is what gives voice to the voice of employees.

The thing is, Marshal McLuhan’s observation “the medium is the message” rings truer today than when the phrase was introduced in 1965. In this age of on-demand information, a time when blended workforces are diverse, multigenerational, and frequently able to choose where and when they work, we need to figure out how to acknowledge feedback and talk turkey about findings in a way that clicks. One size doesn’t fit all. But it’s super easy to get those survey stories in front of your employee population when you have the right communication strategies and tools.

VISUAL PRESENTATIONS help to communicate employee survey results with clarity and credibility. Given that the human brain can interpret images 60,000 times faster than text because more than 93% of all human communication is visual, the more graphs, charts and other visual aids used, the better.

TOWN HALLS are a great communication mechanism so that everyone hears and understands results from the same position. Webinars and videos are similarly effective options especially for telecommuters, people who work flex hours, and those simply too busy to attend in person.  Whether live-streamed, delivered by webinar or video this kind of survey communication should be mobile-device friendly for your Millennial and GenZ populations and others accustomed to getting information from their phones.

communicate employee survey results - leaders

LEADER ACCESS TO DATA combined with increased survey frequency, in real-time, is a game changer.

There’s no real advantage for employee survey data to first go to HR for filtering. The voice of employees needs to be heard directly by the source that has arguably the biggest impact on the workplace experience: leaders and managers. HR’s job is to make that happen. Increasing numbers of organizations are using intuitive real-time reporting systems with unlimited options for powerful trending insights.

  • Role or division based dashboards for executive and HR leaders easily identify high-potential or problem areas by comparing and ranking feedback across different parts of the organization or by using any correlation of data imaginable.
  • Manager reports make it quick and simple for managers to see insights and sentiments from their direct reports and hierarchies.

An Interact survey showed that a stunning majority (69%) of managers said they’re uncomfortable communicating with employees. People leaders who have personal access to survey data are better informed and in a position to communicate employee survey results with confidence.  Relative trending insights – the kind of people analytics where leaders and managers can see the impact of their actions – also increases their levels of accountability while demonstrating to employees that their voice is being heard.

If a division leader gets feedback that stress is on the increase, for instance, and they put out a message to their team saying “hey, we heard you. We realize stress levels are high and we have a couple more questions about it. Oh, and by the way, here are a couple of things we did last month….” Consider the impact that has on the mind of the employee. It’s not unreasonable to imagine them thinking, “wow! They’re listening to me. I’m going to continue to give my feedback.”

OPEN-ENDED COMMENT REPORTING is difficult to compile when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of responses. Most people are invested in their companies and want to share their observations and suggestions for positive change. Word clouds are a highly visual communications tool that pulls out themes and pertinent comments for deeper discussions.

FOCUS GROUPS are a viable listening mechanism for deeper discussions too, where smaller, more intimate groups of people from across the organization can express how they feel and why, in ways a survey can’t. This approach provides an opportunity to delve into common themes and search for root causes.

ANONYMOUS CONVERSATION technology is a two-way dialogue breakthrough in employee survey communication. When employees fill out open-ended questions without receiving any kind of acknowledgement, it seems as if no one’s reading their comments. On the flip side, management’s hands are tied when it comes to acting on employee feedback they don’t understand and can’t circle back on for clarity. More and more companies are enabling leaders in their organization to read, acknowledge and respond to comments – while keeping the identity of the employee completely anonymous.  A quick comment shows employees people are listening, motivates strong participation rates in future surveys, and gives managers the opportunity to solicit more information to guide their actions.

EMPLOYEE REAL-TIME ACCESS is a giant communications leap when it comes to sharing survey results. When an employee finishes a survey you can give them the real-time ability to see the averages from everyone that’s responded to the survey already (rather than waiting months to hear filtered findings). This is an appealing aspect to employee feedback programs for today’s instant-information on-demand world. It also promotes leader accountability; a manager who acts on red flag issues demonstrates the voice of employees is valued and makes a difference.

CELEBRATE SUCCESSES by making a big deal about what’s been changed and what’s been achieved, especially since the last survey. Give a shout out to people who have made a difference (even the little steps) in blog posts, employee gatherings and internal communication platforms.

Show employees they’re making an impact so they build confidence in offering (and using) feedback. Remember! when it comes to your business leaders, they’re employees too. Focus on a better experience for them when it comes to receiving and using feedback. Engaging employees and building an experience where they can thrive isn’t an HR strategy, it’s a People Strategy.

Additional Resources

Drive more rapid positive organizational change by shifting to an active listening model when garnering employee feedback.

Watch this recent webinar session and download the slides. In the session, you will learn a new approach to hearing and acting on the voice of employees.


Giving your employees a voice and leader actionable insights is essential to building great company cultures.

The WorkTango platform creates space for employees to have a voice and helps companies easily gather frequent feedback for any engagement, transformation, or feedback initiative.