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Want to increase your engagement score? First, improve belief in action.

4 May 2020 - Blog

What do you look at first in your employee survey results? You might be drawn to your overall engagement score, or head straight to your team’s responses. Either way, you’re hunting for themes and insights that will inform your post-survey action plan.  

However your survey results don’t just highlight what your employees think should be changed or improved. You can also learn whether people expect you to do anything with their feedback. This is where your score for ‘belief in action’ comes in, and it’s crucial to boosting your overall engagement score.  

What does ‘belief in action’ measure?

For surveys based on People Insight’s PEARLTM question-set, this score measures how employees responded to the question ‘I believe action will be taken as a result of this survey’. It shows how much faith your people have in your organisation taking their feedback on board. A low score makes effective action planning more vital than ever.

Effective action planning will help improve your score for belief in action.

Why is this score so important? 

We always recommend including the ‘I believe action will be taken as a result of this survey’ question. Asking it shows real transparency from your organisation. It also creates a benchmark for reviewing future survey results.  

A low score suggests a lack of trust in the survey exercise, and may hint at a bigger culture challenge. In addition, you can find clues about belief in action in your survey response rate; employees won’t bother responding if they don’t feel listened to. 

Positive ratings for this question suggest that your employees trust your organisation’s ability to take on-board feedback and act on it. As a result, you will create a culture of listening; employees will feel encouraged to approach managers with feedback on other occasions.

What can we learn from People Insight’s ‘belief in action’ benchmark data?

The first time you run a survey, employees may be sceptical or positive. You are setting a baseline expectation. Our benchmark data suggests a notable improvement in the results of first-time and repeat surveys:  

  • First-time surveys: Just 46% of people believe action will be taken as a result of the survey  
  • Repeat surveys: 55% of people believe action will be taken as a result of the survey  

We quote this as a 20% difference (9 percentage points being 20% of 46). This is a big, significant improvement and shows the importance of implementing post-survey change.    

Additionally, we see the ‘belief in action’ score vary across sectors with the private sector paving the way:  

  • Public sector: Only 45% of people believe action will be taken as a result of the survey 
  • Private sector: 51% of people believe action will be taken as a result of the survey 
The first time you run a survey, employees may be sceptical or positive – you are setting a baseline expectation.

How can you improve your score for ‘belief in action’?  

While every organisation hopes to see their score for ‘belief in action’ increase with each survey, it can decrease if no visible action is seen by employees. To tackle this, or further boost a ‘good’ score, you need to create a meaningful post-survey action plan: 

  • Firstly, design a survey packed with actionable items. An experienced employee survey partner like People Insight will customise your survey to make sure the questions elicit feedback that you can actually do something about.
  • Take time to understand your survey results; you should be clear about the issues before you start action planning. Use focus groups and manager-led discussions to dig further into feedback. 
  • Prioritise 3 action areas to tackle and work out the quick wins you can get started on straight away. Share updates at team meetings, town halls and on your intranet/messaging channels to show what’s changing and vitally – how it relates to their feedback.
  • Communicate your plan for change and make the change process really visible to people. Great post-survey comms also share what you have achieved or actioned since the last survey as a reminder of the progress already made. 
  • Sustain momentum and show you’re serious about making change. Be clear about accountability for items in your action plan. Equip action owners with the tools they need to deliver change and celebrate milestones along the way. Consider adding survey action delivery into line managers’ performance reviews to ensure progress is top of their mind. 

Engage line managers to deliver local change 

Post-survey change will become unstuck if line managers are not engaged or informed. Boost your score for ‘belief in action’ by encouraging managers to create visible, local change. They are your most important stakeholder group for action planning.

For the greatest impact, involve managers throughout the survey programme and equip them with the training, tools and support they need to deliver effective post-survey action.  

Client story: Empower managers to create change by giving them ownership of their team’s survey responses. London Southbank University found that People Insight’s iDeck, a dashboard feature that turns survey data into results presentations at the click of a button, enabled their line managers to embrace action planning. It meant managers could quickly share results in team meetings, identify the areas most in need of change and focus on action planning without the admin of creating countless presentations.  

“The iDeck is such a time saver! My team no longer have to pull together countless presentations. Line managers can do it easily, and get on with sharing results and action planning with their teams.” 

Samantha White, OD Programme Advisor

Case study: How Sturrock and Robson increased belief in action by 22%  

Sturrock and Robson’s engagement and cultural change programme helped achieve an amazing 16% engagement boost by their next survey, reaching a score of 90%. Additionally, their post-survey efforts prompted a 22% increase in score for ‘I believe that action will be taken as a result of this survey’. 

Once their survey results were in, detailed reports were shared with leaders and key headlines were communicated to employees. The leadership team appointed a team member, Amalie Lyneborg, to run the programme and act upon survey feedback. Over a 2-year period, Amalie delivered a face-to-face action planning and change delivery roadshow at each business site to make sure everybody felt heard and included.   

After the roadshows, Amalie regularly checked in with sites to assess progress and carried out follow-up visits to discuss with employees how changes were going. Action progress was included on the agenda of senior meetings and consistent employee communication tied back changes to the employee survey.  

As Sturrock and Robson demonstrated, change works when you get in front of your people to create personal, meaningful interactions.

Need help solving an employee engagement challenge? 

Our organisational psychologists will design an employee survey to suit your needs, and help you maximise the insights to create meaningful change.  

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