How to Handle Low Employee Engagement Survey Scores at Your Small Business

June 26, 2018 Pete Jansons

As a small business owner, you try hard to keep your employees engaged, productive and positive. Which is why it can be particularly devastating when your employee engagement survey comes back with shockingly low numbers. Instead of being discouraged, however, look at this as an opportunity to show their commitment to your employees, rebuilt trust and boost morale.


But you must act quickly. It is far too easy to put off doing anything about your engagement survey results in favor of “more pressing business,” but what you may not realize is that employee engagement is a business issue. Gallup research finds that high employee engagement leads to lower absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity and higher profitability, among other results. Trying to ignore or overlook your engagement problems will only make them more pronounced.


Here are next steps to turn employee survey results into action – and increase both engagement and the bottom line.

  1. Discuss the results openly. While admitting that employee engagement is low may be difficult (or even embarrassing), the worst thing you can do is try to hide them or sugarcoat them. Your employees will see right through it, and it will lead to distrust. Instead, share the survey results - both the good and the bad - and acknowledge that that there are areas you need to work on.
  2. Narrow your focus. Choose one or two key areas that need improvement and concentrate your efforts there. Starting small will help you stay focused and keep you from getting overwhelmed.
  3. Strategize. Once you’ve found some areas that need improvement, you need a plan. Ask employees for their input on actions you can take to improve in those areas. This may mean getting together in small groups for a brainstorming session or asking them to submit ideas via email. Once you’ve gathered some ideas, put those ideas into a step-by-step action plan, along with a timeline for when each step will be carried out.
  4. Set goals. Be clear about what you want to accomplish by when. Setting clear, measurable goals will help you stay focused and motivated to follow through on your plan.
  5. Measure. It is crucial that you evaluate your efforts along the way. Make plans to administer another survey in a few months’ time to gauge the progress of your efforts and make note of what is or isn’t working.
  6. Keep going. Workplace improvement should be an ongoing project. There will always be room for improvement somewhere, and possibly new challenges that occur along the way. Make employee engagement a constant, ongoing goal. After all, your employees are your small business’ biggest asset.

Want to boost employee engagement? Check out Low-Cost Ways to Engage Your Employees.

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