Surveys are great tools for gathering the views of employees, customers, patients, students, residents, and just about everyone else. However, many companies lose sight of the true value of the survey.
The real value isn’t conducting the survey itself; it is derived from what we do with the results. One crucial aspect of surveying—sharing the results with participants—is often overlooked, even though this simple step can dramatically improve the overall impact of your fact-finding mission.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this post examining:
- What the benefits of sharing survey results are, and
- How to maximize them by sharing results the right way.
What are the benefits of sharing survey results?
Sharing results gives credibility to the process of data gathering. It demonstrates a genuine willingness to take feedback on board.
In contrast, when results are not shared, participants may wonder whether the results are being ignored – or worse, deliberately hidden. With 11% of customer churn avoidable through communicating with unhappy customers, sharing negative feedback and showing that you’re willing to act on it can make a real difference to retention rates.
Boosts loyalty and performance
A culture of listening and acting on feedback can inspire loyalty in stakeholders, and significantly boost the reputation of any company, organization, business, or brand. In terms of engagement in the workplace, employees who feel listened-to are 4.6 times more likely to feel they can reach their full potential at work.
Improves future response rates
The effectiveness of a survey depends on the response rate; a higher response rate leads to data that’s more accurate, and greater accuracy leads to greater potential benefits.
Sharing results can motivate people to continue to take part in surveys in two ways. First, it helps them feel that their participation is genuinely valuable, not just another pointless box-ticking exercise.
Second, people are curious: they want to see how their views compare to those of others. Knowing that they’ll have access to the results can be an incentive to take part in the first place.
Encourages honest answers
People will put more effort into giving candid answers when they believe their responses will have a real impact. Conversely, when respondents feel like a questionnaire is ultimately pointless, over a quarter of participants may not bother sharing what they really think.
Sharing results is a crucial step in demonstrating that honesty is highly valued. Without that understanding, there’s no incentive for participants to add real value to the survey.
Sharing survey results for maximum impact
Thank everyone for taking part
Extending thanks to survey respondents is one of the simplest (and possibly most important) things you can do to encourage future participation. Send a personalized thank you message immediately after the survey closes, and then again when you’re sharing the results.
Provide a timeline
Keeping survey participants informed on when and how you plan to share results will help boost participation rates.
Make a timeline part of your survey announcement: provide an approximate date for result sharing and do your best to stick to it. Aim to share the results as quickly as possible, while the topic is still fresh in people’s minds.
Focus on the most important information
When sharing the results, focus on key information.
Include a brief introduction that reiterates why the survey was conducted, followed by an overview of the main findings. Highlight the most favorable and the least favorable results and put them in the context of existing objectives and goals.
When relevant, you could also compare the results to previous surveys and to external benchmarks to assess progress. Always include an action plan with details on what actions will be taken as a result of the survey.
Present the findings in a user-friendly way
As far as possible, present your results in succinct sections and illustrate the data using graphs and images. Keeping it simple and using visuals helps people grasp the information faster and remember it for longer.
Focus on solutions
Sometimes surveys reveal that there’s a lot of room for improvement. While you shouldn’t shy away from sharing negative results (acknowledging issues shows that you’re not afraid to tackle problems head on), try to stay upbeat and frame the results as a starting point for positive change.
Focusing on finding solutions, rather than on assigning blame, encourages greater involvement when the next survey comes around.
Encourage further discussion
The end of the survey doesn’t need to mean the end of useful feedback. You can gain more valuable information by inviting participants to discuss the results, take part in focus groups, and submit ideas and suggestions.
And finally, repeating the whole process on a regular basis will reveal how much progress is being made, and which actions are having the greatest effect. So go on and send out a survey, listen to the answers, share what you’ve learned, and take action!