Who should get access to what when it comes to sharing results is an important part of the results to action process. Culture Amp knows that each organization is unique so we allow quite a bit of customization in how you configure your shared reports. We've experienced with our customers that this can be overwhelming and you might not know where to start in making those decisions. Especially given that what organizations share is a large spectrum ranging from providing reports with all employee and organizational demographics to all employees on the full transparency end, to presenting just a high-level organizational summary on the more centralized end.
This article focuses on a philosophical approach to report sharing, by using specific questions you can ask yourself, your team, and your organization, to identify a comfortable level of access for your organization. You can find related articles focusing on the technical aspects of report sharing in the Academy: 1) How to share reports and notify viewers, and 2) How to create a data file that allows the types of slices you want.
First, let’s take a step back and consider the goal of report sharing. Ultimately, we want to create a shared understanding of the employee experience so individuals can make informed decisions on where to focus and take action. Therefore, your approach to sharing reports will mirror your approach to action planning.
TIP: When in doubt, consider The Golden Rule: Simply provide the right amount of information required to enable folks to find a focus or gain a shared context. No more, no less.
Across our customers, we've seen a few rules of thumb
- A small group within the people function will typically benefit from having the most granular results, including results broken down by potentially sensitive demographics such as diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity) and talent demographics (e.g., talent rating, if applicable).
- Outside the people function, individuals higher up in the organizational structure will often benefit from having greater access (to report views & demographics) than first-line managers or individual contributors. This may include the heatmap report (represented in Culture Amp in our Advanced report) and depending on the report configuration, may have some of the most granular demographic breakdowns. Giving access to these advanced reports should always be used with caution (more on this later).
- Generally, as a company gets more comfortable in their feedback process and establishing a culture of trust (having gone from results to action before), they will explore opportunities to share results more broadly. This may include sharing results further down the hierarchy (e.g., to managers) or providing broader access to additional demographics.
Outside of the above rules, the following questions can be used to guide reflection for yourself and your people team on what reports governance might look like in your organization.
Questions to consider to determine who to share results with
1. “Who owns the action process?”
- If all of your actions will be centralized at the organizational level, there isn’t a requirement for other levels to receive detailed results. Alternatively, if you expect each manager to identify actions specific to their team or employee groups, they would need access to cuts of data that display just the results for those groups so they can make informed decisions and create targeted action.
- A related question is “How do you plan to measure success?” If managers are going to be held accountable for progress towards some goal, they need to have visibility into where they are today and where they are expected to get to in the future.
2. “Does your culture err on the side of tradition or transparency?”
- Neither is better than the other, nor is this truly a dichotomy! Determining which way your culture leans will let you know what employees expect to see.
- In a large and/or heavily geographically dispersed organization, this can be a question to ask yourself for each business unit, division, or major group. Point being, what’s right for one business, market, or function may not be what’s right for another, and we allow you to tailor your reports governance accordingly.
3. “Is engagement factored into scorecards/performance evaluations?”
- We believe an individual’s experience results from many more variables than a single manager. So we generally recommend to separate this from performance management discussions and recommend against setting specific engagement targets. However, if your company has a history of linking the two, it’s imperative for managers to know what and how they are being assessed, and what specifically they can do to improve. For that reason, sharing results at the team level with managers would be critical.
Overall, when considering who to share results with, consider who is taking action.
Questions to consider to determine how much to share
1. If actions are distributed, “Do you expect actions to vary by demographic/group?”
- For example, if each department is creating their own action plans and a department crosses multiple locations, will there be 1 action for the department or might that differ by location? If it could differ, that specific demographic should be included in the shared reports.
2. “Will certain groups be working towards the same goal?”
- Context is important, that’s why comparisons displayed in shared reports in the platform default to showing the delta against your company overall. You may want to provide a more granular level of context, such as giving each team visibility into how their results differ from their specific department. This isn’t as important if each team is developing their own action plans, irrespective of other results, but can be helpful with providing additional context for a group.
3. “What is the feedback maturity of those receiving results?”
- There are features in some reports that can be misused or misinterpreted without proper context and training, and thus ought to be considered before being selected as default features to include. In particular, heatmaps can lead to analysis paralysis for many and is more useful for those tasked with making decisions across groups of employees. In addition, comments require a little more knowledge and training to understand how to properly utilize, as qualitative data can inaptly get equal weight to the quantitative results. Be sure to utilize and bring awareness to all of the resources managers have at their disposal like our Engagement Results to Action Guide.
Overall, when considering how much to share, consider how a shared context can help individuals work together towards action.
Two Common Scenarios
Scenario 1: Entire Organization Focus
At Hooli, following their biannual engagement survey, the entire organization focuses on one thing. They are also known for their top value, transparency. When they share reports, they give access to all employees to see the organization’s results. However, no demographics or advanced views (like heatmaps and comments) are included, since individuals are not creating specific action plans and don’t need visibility into how experiences differ across employee groups.
Scenario 2: Decentralized Action Planning
At Acme, following their biannual engagement survey, each department is tasked with considering their own focus based on the feedback from their employees, with managers (working in concert with their employees) determining their own supporting actions for improvement. They provide the department heads access to their department’s results, including relevant demographics (like manager, team, and work shift) and access to heatmaps. The managers within the departments are given their specific team’s results, as well as the department results, without team level demographics.
Now that you've had a chance to think through who would get the most benefit from understanding the employee experience, head over to Sharing Survey Results and Reports for more information on how to set up test reports.
A Small Caveat When it Comes to Sharing Reports and Respondent Data Confidentiality
The benefits of sharing results typically outweigh the risk of sharing demographics. However, there is always a risk. We strive to strike the right balance between utility of results and preventing the possibility that a respondents answers could be easily inferred.
TIP: It is important that the organization educate managers and employees alike in how to receive feedback and using the results to identify constructive areas of focus, rather than aiming to identify who said what.