One of the biggest mistakes made when conducting a staff survey is not having an action plan ready.
Upon setting it up, there can be very little or no follow through, or it takes so much time that employees lose interest, leading to poor participation rates.
Before conducting an employee survey, you need to be ready to act.
Don’t even think of doing a survey if you’re not ready with a budget and some resources. I think it’s a much smarter idea to spend less money on a vendor and designing the survey itself, and spend more on the action plan.
That’s really where it counts.
Employees are already skeptical enough about the whole process, and it’s your responsibility to earn their trust.
I wanted to dedicate an entire post to just breaking down the importance of the action plan, and providing some advice on how you can optimize your action plan.
The trick is to prepare for all of this before you even start the survey, so that you’ll be ready to go as soon as the survey is over.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Action Plan
- Follow Up
Once the survey is over, here is how I would go about creating an employee survey action plan.
1. Open Discussion
This is a very important part of the process.
It’s important to really take some time on this step, and really have an open and honest discussion about the results.
Anyone who is a part of this meeting needs to know that they’re free to speak their mind, and try and figure out what to do.
Remember, this isn’t the planning phase yet. At this point, you’re not actually planning anything, you’re trying to figure out as a team how it all went.
This is a brainstorming session, where no idea is bad, and anything goes.
If you’re leading this session, some things you could ask to get the conversation started are:
Why do you think this item scored so low?
How do we improve on this particular result?
If we had to pick one area to focus on, which one would it be?
2. Action Plan
This is where you actually start planning.
After the brainstorm session, you should have come up with at least a few ideas that you can run with, and everyone agrees on.
The planning part is very simple, but people need to be held accountable, and need to be responsible for following through.
Personally, I would recommend using the SMART goal setting system, and really following it properly.
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
- Assignable – specify who will do it.
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
It’s important to follow up regularly to check in on the progress of the action plan.
Some of the main questions you want to be asking are:
When will this be “done”?
Who is responsible for doing this?
How do you define what success will look like?
How often will you review/check in?
3. Follow Up
Last but not least, make sure to follow up and see how it went.
In theory, things should already be on their way to improvements because you’ll be building trust with your employees, showing them that you’re actually listening.