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Post-survey action planning

February 8, 2016

So, the survey has come to a close. Headline results are in and the overall company report and departmental reports are winging their way to you. What next? You could follow the approach of some organisations: flick through the reports, think ‘ah, that’s interesting’ and then stick the reports in the drawer along with the last five years’ worth of reports! Hmmm, not the way we at Employee Feedback would suggest you go! As soon as the organisational report arrives, we believe that the Senior Management Team should work to change the key issues that affect the majority of the business. Following this, we believe that a 6 point plan should be implemented to walk you through the after survey process:

  1. Communicate the results – publicise the key organisational results and what changes will be made. Make it clear that you will involve employees in the follow-up process and that their views provided in the survey will make a difference. You could do this by a poster campaign, email newsletter, company intranet, company briefings etc but however you choose to do it get the message out to your employees that action will follow and changes will be made to make the company better, targeting the issues that are important to them.
  2. Involve employees – in order to ensure that employees get involved, get teams together, perhaps in focus group style sessions, to explain why you ran the survey, what engagement means and present the results.
  3. Get talking – employees within their teams should discuss the overall results and get talking about what they mean to them. Managers could facilitate this or external consultants could be used. Employee Feedback are very experienced in facilitating post survey workshops, which really get teams talking and working on the issues important to them.
  4. Target areas of greatest importance – it is important at this stage to work through the team results and discuss the areas that should be focused upon. The team should select around three areas to focus upon for subsequent action.
  5. Generate solutions and plan – once the key areas have been decided upon, employees should then make suggestions within their teams as to ways to solve these issues. Discussion around this should be non-judgemental and participation should be encouraged. If this is the first survey or employees feel inhibited in making suggestions openly, then it might be useful to have a notice board where anonymous post-its can be attached, this could also work on an electronic style notice board. Teams should then generate their own action plan. Goal setting is so important to ensure that tasks get completed, so actions should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. It is most important to ensure that team members take responsibility for seeing through the actions, driving forward the change that is important within their team. Interestingly, we find that this direct involvement in the post survey process often means an increase employee engagement as employees feel part of the wider business and that their contribution is valued.
  6. Regularly review plans and support employees – it is vital that plans are revisited, updated and completed as necessary. The momentum needs to be maintained and support for employees needs to be fostered so that they feel they are equipped to be able to drive through the areas of responsibility, the changes they really want to see.

If you are thinking that this sounds like a great deal of work, then you are not wrong, so let me just quickly remind you why you should bother. According to a report by Gallup ‘neglecting survey results is a proven way to undermine engagement’. Interestingly, Gallup conducted some research on the importance of action planning at the end of the survey process. They found that workgroups that strongly agreed with the item ‘action plans from the last survey have had a positive impact on my workplace’ showed significant increases in employee engagement, 10% increase in fact for those in the top quartile of responses to this item. Conversely, it has been found that should an organisation fail to act on the findings of a survey that follow-up surveys show a decrease not only in subsequent survey participation but also in engagement levels more generally.

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