So You Got Negative Employee Satisfaction Reviews. What Now?

November 18, 2016 Pete Jansons

Businesswoman drawing check box.

Smart small business leaders regularly conduct employee surveys to gauge satisfaction and understand what they need to do to keep their greatest asset happy and productive. Sometimes, however, hearing the truth about what employees really think can hurt. While disappointment is a legitimate initial reaction, coming to view the information as valuable input rather than as terrible news can set your small business on the road to improvement. Here are steps to turn what feels like a setback into a great opportunity:

Step back for a moment

Sometimes people focus so intensely on what strikes them as negative that they fail to acknowledge the positive. Review survey results with an eye on the good things workers are saying. Not only will this information clue you in on what is going right at your small business, you’ll form a more optimistic mindset. Also, remember that the purpose of employee satisfaction surveys is not a pat on the back; your aim is to get an accurate pulse on your team. Isn’t it better to be aware of dissatisfaction now when you can do something about it rather than down the line when staff members quit or you discover productivity suffering?

Think about changes

Prepare to act on what you learned from the survey. Asking people how they feel about something and then failing to address problems creates hard feelings (and good luck getting them to take future surveys seriously). Develop some possible measures to take, and share these thoughts with your small business team. Coming prepared to the meeting shows you’ve taken their comments to heart. But also listen to their feedback and seek their ideas. Engagement increases when workers contribute to solving problems.

Implement and reevaluate

Though negative survey results may make you eager for huge changes, small steps probably are better than a sweeping overhaul because you can get a better handle on what specifically makes a difference. Break up challenges into concrete, manageable pieces. After a reasonable trial period, solicit opinions on effectiveness. Readjust as necessary, or try a different approach if improvement simply isn’t happening.

Don’t give up

Finally, whether you’re trying to reduce stress or improve morale, remember that issues usually don’t get solved overnight. Acknowledge trial and error as a fact of life. Persistence demonstrates commitment to long-lasting improvement, not just temporary appeasement. Your small business staff members will notice your effort – and hopefully have better things to say when the next employee engagement survey comes around.

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