Beyond the Survey: taking action to increase staff commitment

It seems like not a day goes by at the moment without news of a new surveying tool or employee engagement model. Here at Getfeedback we’re strong believers in understanding what makes your employees tick but sometimes we see organisations that get so caught up in measuring they forget that the most important part of doing a survey is the action phase.

This year as economic confidence starts to increase, and 54% of employers looking to increase staffing levels1, we’re seeing the level of retention within organisations start to become a risk with 87% of employees saying they do not intend to stay with their current employers for the next 12 months2.

Taking the pulse: talking to employees

All too often we see organisations giving HR the responsibility of doing a survey and telling managers what needs to happen, but one of the biggest drivers of employee engagement is an individual’s relationship with their manager. Managers need to take ownership of understanding their teams and what motivates them. Following any survey, managers must be given access and ownership of the results for their area and should be talking to their teams about what has been learned from the survey and how as a team they will be taking things forward. Talking honestly about what is going well and where improvement is required, and being open to taking feedback on board, will increase satisfaction with communication, which is often a key driver of engagement in itself.

Be part of the solution: involving employees

Whilst we wouldn’t necessarily advocate PayPal President David Marcus’ approach of telling disengaged employees to quit3, as well as managers taking ownership employees also need to be responsible for their own satisfaction. Rather than the survey just being an opportunity to tell managers what is wrong, employees need to be encouraged to get involved in helping to solve some of the issues they are experiencing. Setting up working groups from across the organisation to work on areas identified as needing improvement can improve employee commitment not only by helping to solve these issues but also by encouraging cross-functional/geographical collaboration, creating better internal networks and increasing employee empowerment; all of which are frequently stated in an organisation’s values but can be hard to create in reality.

Walking the talk: relational leadership

Leadership is one of the most common key drivers that we see when we survey organisations. Whilst all the best executive teams now understand the importance of how their behaviour and its impact on morale, sometimes it’s difficult to know what makes the difference. At Getfeedback we champion “relational leadership” where leaders focus on the softer skills and on the impact of behaviours on culture. This means that leaders need to role model living the values and also understand what behaviours enable others. They can do this through building in opportunities for systematic feedback into all communications and run 360 feedback processes. Also of key importance is to develop listening and coaching skills of leadership so that they seek to understand concerns or issues that sit behind what is actually said; encouraging open feedback and questions from employees by responding positively to their challenges rather than being defensive. In order to do this organisations must get leaders “back to the floor” more often, particularly to those areas who scored lower in the survey; ensuring they talk to a wide cross-section of employees. We have lots of experience in assessing and developing leadership behaviours so get in touch if you want to know more about what works here!

Singing our praises: celebrating success

After all the hard work everyone is going to do to make employees working lives better, don’t forget to shout about it! Tell employees about the changes that have been made as a result of their feedback, recognise the efforts of working groups and highlight areas of excellent management practice. Not only does seeing positive change make everyone feel good, but it increasing employees’ confidence that their voice is important, that they are valued by the organisation and that their efforts will be recognised. This helps you when you need to call on them again after your next survey!

If you want to know more about how we help organisations put more value on their people through the use of effective people metrics and taking action on the numbers, then get in touch with our lead consultant Alana Inness on or +44 (0) 7738 319204.