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Taking action on Employee Feedback

Why is taking action vital to any employee feedback initiative? If you have run an Employee Engagement Survey, a Pulse Survey or a Stay Interview then understanding how to take key data and turn them into actions is essential.

Taking action on Employee Feedback 

Your survey is about to close (or has just closed) and you are getting ready to see what feedback people have given you… 

…But what next? 

 What you do next matters! 

If you are asking people to give you feedback, then the natural conclusion for them is that you will take some type of action on their responses. 

This is a fair conclusion to come to, but often the next steps are unclear, lost post-survey or the actions taken are not what will really drive change for your people and your organization. 

In this blog, we will explore how to start taking action and ensure that any steps you take are trackable and measurable. 

Research shows us that action and the perception of listening or a listening organisation are linked, Kocoglu et al. (2019) theorised and found empirical support for the idea that although action may not be central to listening perceptions in a dyadic context (relating to two people), it is critical to the demonstration of listening in a team context

So, firstly let us think about why taking action matters and what happens when we do or do not take action from our surveys and what gets in the way of doing this. 

What happens when we take action? 

When we are proactive in responding to the feedback given to us, then the following can happen: 

  • We show that we care about our people 
  • We show them that we value their feedback 
  • We show that when we receive feedback, we listen and we act 
  • People feel that they have a voice in their organisation and that their opinions matter 

We effectively create a virtuous circle where our people are happy to let us know how they feel and give feedback because they know that we will act on it if we are able and also that we care what they think. 

This can lead to other benefits for organisations and leaders as shown in the article “The Power of Listening at Work” by Avraham Kluger and Guy Itzchakov where they concluded the following from their research: 

“We have summarised evidence that listening generates high-quality connections that improve a wide range of organisational outcomes. 

Therefore, managers and employees who cultivate listening will reap first the benefits of high-quality connections and togetherness. 

These then cascade into greater creativity, productivity, clarity, and well-being for the listener, the speaker, and the organisation.” 

What happens when we don’t take action? 

Pretty much the reverse of the above! 

Employees get frustrated if they give the same feedback repeatedly but all they see is inactivity. 

What is the point of telling you something isn’t great if you never do anything about it? 

Without action, we create a vicious circle, where employee feedback becomes less and less effective, and the benefits mentioned above diminish. 

But why would we not take action or why are the steps we take not as effective as we would like them to be? 

Why do we not take action? 

We asked people why they find taking action hard, or why they feel others do not take action, and the following comments were made: 

  • There is too much data/noise to see what to take action against 
  • People are simply not willing to take action 
  • There are no tools to help me take action and build tasks for the action to be successful 
  • I am unable to influence the action or influence the person who can 
  • Actions are not effective, we just focus on the lowest scoring area, not on what is important. 

In The People Experience Framework listening and acting on feedback sits well and truly under the “Perceived Environment” and this means that it is a controllable element that is in your power to either do or do not…read on to find out how to make taking action second nature, and overcome some of the above issues. 



4 steps to taking action 

Take a breath/moment and understand the results 

Your people have taken the time to give you their thoughts on the questions you have asked, you now owe them the time to understand the responses, read the comments and think about the data you see on your survey dashboards. 

So before thinking about taking action ask yourself the following about your results: 

  • Is there anything here that has surprised me in the results? and why is that? 
  • Is there anything here that you expected to see, to confirm what you thought already? 
  • How do your scores compare to the overall organisation? 
  • What will have the biggest impact on my people? (top tip – this is not always the lowest-scoring result!) 
  • Am I clear on what is low scoring but not a driver of engagement? 
  • What is the outcome that is most important to influence/improve/sustain? 

For People Experience Hub users, you can access your real-time survey analytics to view your results and explore the benchmarks etc from the analytics area of the platform. 

Take your people with you 

Some of the questions above may not have a clear answer just yet, and this is one of the reasons for discussing the results with your team. 

It is up to you what you share, your organisation may wish to put some agreed timescales around this and guide you on any areas to explore. 

When you take your team through the results, either via your online dashboard or a downloaded report you can ask the above questions to them and also ask for some context if they are comfortable doing this with you. 

The important bits 

  • Do not ask “who said this?” “who responded with this?” and support your team to also not ask these questions - (Remember the survey was anonymous!) 
  • Give your people the time and space to discuss the results, and try to focus on working through these as a team and not as individuals. 
  • Say “Thank You” – recognise the time people have taken to participate. 
  • Focus on what improvements can be made rather than on any particularly negative response. 
  • Discuss any company-wide actions that are being considered. 
  • At the end of the session agree on where you as a team feel like the focus of any action should be, and what will add the most value to the people experience at work for your team.  

Getting ready for action 

So, you have now got some further context and also agreed on the areas that your team would like to focus on. 

As you prepare to progress these, you may want to discuss these with your stakeholders, peers or leaders in the organisations. 

  • Where do you have similar focus areas? Can you act on these together? 
  • Does your manager agree with where you plan to take action? 
  • Are there any organisation-wide actions you need to consider? 

When you think about an action then we recommend that you think in the following steps: (these align with The People Experience Hub action planning module steps if you are using this solution) 

1. Name the action 

This should ideally be the outcome you are looking to improve or sustain, at this stage, you do not need the detail – just the destination! 


  • Improve retention of employees in the first year of employment 
  • Reduce employee absence due to stress 

2. Think about the following questions: 

  • Who is owning the action, you or someone in your team? 
  • What is the issue to be addressed? 
  • Can I describe the action to be taken? 
  • What will success look like? 
  • What support might you need for this action and from whom? 
  • What steps (tasks) I need to do to deliver my action? 
  • When will I be able to start and how long will it take me to complete my action? 

3. What tasks do I need to complete to deliver this action? 

Tasks allow you to break down your action into manageable steps and activities, document these and track them with your team as tasks against the action. 

Tasks are most likely going to focus on the environmental areas that you can influence at work (Your style, Tools to do the job, How we communicate etc) 

If you are using The People Experience Hub action planning module, then you will be walked through all of the above points as you set your actions. 

Once you are clear about what Tasks you are going to tackle then it is time to… 

Take Action! 

You are now ready to act on the feedback from your people and start improving the overall experience at work. 

Remember to: 

  1. Communicate the actions and tasks with your teams, leadership team and peers (in The People Experience Hub you can add updates to your action plans) 
  2.  Track the results 
  3. Think about running a mini survey to track an action’s effectiveness 
  4. Review your people data to see if improvements are being made 
  5. Ask people how they feel about the actions being taken and the effectiveness of them 

Having a regular, continuous feedback approach to taking action combined with using organisational and people data means that your tasks and actions can be agile meaning that you can respond quickly if they are not delivering the desired results. 

When you review your action plans, then you should see an improvement in your survey results or other people metrics you are looking to influence. But it is good practice to ask yourself: 

  • What actions had the biggest impact on outcomes? 
  • What actions did not succeed and why? 

And share the findings with your colleagues to help them think about action planning. 

If you are struggling to take action after a survey, or are finding that you do not have the tools or support to do this, then please feel free to contact us in the link below, we are always happy to help! 

Watch our animation on taking action below

Contact Us 

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