6 questions to ensure maximum benefit from employee surveys and well-being assessments

Are you getting the most out of your employee surveys?

The employee survey is complete, and the results are in. The survey was a success, and in front of you lies a wealth of freshly collected data from the entire organization.

So, what's next? 

Regardless of the type of survey you have just completed, whether it's a comprehensive one like an employee survey or a smaller PULSE assessment, the work is far from over. In fact, many would argue that this is when the real work begins. 

Because if you don't make the best possible use of the data, all the effort goes to waste. 

How do you distill the results into a concrete action plan that takes all the new knowledge and transforms it into practical measures that make a noticeable difference in employees' workdays? 

  • How do you prioritize areas and actions?
  • What types of interventions are needed?
  • Do you have insights into why the results look the way they do?

  • Is there progress or regression compared to the previous assessment?

  • Why or why not? 



If you find yourself asking some of these questions, you're not alone. 

Few people are equipped to independently assess and interpret the results of any survey. Without the right help and guidance, you run the risk of not maximizing the benefits of the assessment. 

However, there are a few factors that apply to almost all surveys and data collection endeavors. 

Below, I offer my take on the six most important factors. If you have a handle on them before you start developing your action plan, you're well on your way. 

1. What are you most satisfied with in your results? Don't overlook the positive results

It's easy to immediately zoom in on and identify the negative results. It's natural, as the survey is typically used in a developmental and improvement process. 

However, the positive results also contain valuable insights that can be used to strengthen other areas. Discussing the positive results is important for creating motivation and cultivating a positive identity as a unit/organization. 

Furthermore, it helps elevate the development work in other areas. 


2. Are there any surprising results?

Are there results that you or other managers don't recognize or cannot identify with? 

It's important to be curious about what they reflect. 

The goal is not necessarily to agree with the employees' assessments. 

However, you need to understand why they respond the way they do. This applies to any results that surprise you, whether they are positive or negative. Failing to do so risks overlooking important information that can be used to plan and prioritize follow-up actions. 

3. How do the results compare to other units in the organization?

For at vurdere om et resultat er højt eller lavt, er det ofte en hjælp at sammenligne med andre enheder i organisationen. Med Xact får du både interne og eksterne benchmarks at sammenligne resultater med, som kan give et godt overblik over mange ting.

To assess whether a result is high or low, it's often helpful to compare it with other units in the organization. With xact, you can compare results with both internal and external benchmarks, providing a comprehensive overview of many aspects. 

It's also important to monitor how different departments or units in the organization evaluate the same areas. 

For example, some drivers may consistently receive higher/lower ratings than others. Therefore, if you notice a low score in a particular area, it's often relevant to see if the score is also low compared to other units. 

If a result deviates significantly from the rest of the organization, it's important to understand why. 

Bonus: Be cautious if you have a small unit and your results are based on a few responses. In a department with, for example, five employees, the result is significantly influenced by a single employee. Thus, a score may not necessarily reflect the general experience of the employees but may be driven by individual responses that are extremely positive or negative. 

4. How does the trend compare to the previous assessment?

If possible, it's relevant to compare the results with the previous assessment. 

Comparing each department with its own past performance is generally the most relevant benchmark. In many cases, it's the first thing you should look at when you receive the results. 

Have the results improved or declined? 

Building on point 3 above, if the results show significant changes, it's important to assess why. 

Have there been specific efforts in certain areas? Have things been done differently? Have there been changes in external/internal conditions? 

5. Do you see connections between the results?

When interpreting the results, it's typically a good idea to consider them collectively across different areas. 

Often, examining the results in conjunction with each other provides a more nuanced picture than focusing solely on individual outcomes. If several areas consistently yield low or high scores, it's natural to evaluate how they are interconnected.  

Here's a concrete example:

In the results of an employee survey, a department scores low on "execution ability" while also receiving low scores on "role clarity" and "goal-oriented leadership." 

This suggests that employees in this department lack clarity about responsibilities and expectations, which hampers their ability to work efficiently, execute initiatives, and achieve set goals. 



Do you have questions about employee surveys?

6. Is there significant variation in
employees' responses?

No two individuals are the same. Employees may perceive and evaluate the same situation differently, leading to diverse responses to the same question. 

Anastasia may love the cafeteria's vegan options, while marianne can't stand them because she thinks they use too much hummus. 

As humans, we have different preferences and characteristics. What is positive for some may not be positive for others. 

Therefore, when evaluating results in a particular area, there can be significant differences in how employees generally agree on the assessment—or whether they evaluate it very differently. 

Variation and general fluctuations are completely natural. 

However, if there is significant variation, it may not be appropriate to apply the same actions to the entire department. In other words, if you take no action on the cafeteria's vegan options, marianne will remain dissatisfied; if you change the menu, anastasia may become dissatisfied. 

Neither approach is ideal. 

Instead, it is often better to address the situation with the individual employee(s) involved. 

If you still have questions lingering, if you are aware of and can provide satisfactory answers to the six questions above, you are well on your way to deriving maximum benefit from your employee survey, satisfaction assessment, or any other survey you have just completed. 

However, this is just the beginning. The hard work starts now with creating the action plan, planning interventions, conducting follow-up meetings, and so on. 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or one of my colleagues. You can directly visit my linkedin profile through the link above. You can also contact xact in general through our contact form on the website. 

If you're simply curious in general, you're welcome to explore our knowledge universe. You can learn how to create the best survey or borrow (completely free of charge) my colleague flemming lorenz's agenda for follow-up meetings with employees. 


Flemming Lorenz



Xact By Rambøll

M +45 51 61 81 26