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Ever wondered why your employer hasn’t asked for your opinion on pressing problems? You’re not alone.
Failing to collect feedback takes an enormous toll on employees. So much so that disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year. Luckily, many companies are beginning to adopt a culture of feedback, and it’s working 一 giving employees a voice through employee surveys makes them 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. What’s more, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, 41% reduction in absenteeism, and 59% less turnover.
But what many organizations don’t realize is that collecting feedback is just one piece of the feedback puzzle. When organizations don’t act on feedback they solicit, it can feel like employees are just screaming into a void. In fact, Gallup found that doing a survey with no follow-up is worse than doing nothing at all. That’s why employee engagement action plans are vital to your organization’s success.
Understanding employee engagement action plans
Employee engagement action plans are meant to address feedback received from employees, whether through pulse surveys or an AI-powered always-on feedback channel. When employers take the time to construct action plans, they demonstrate to employees that their voice matters, increasing employee engagement, productivity, and retention. In fact, 90% of workers say they are more likely to stay at an employer that takes and acts on feedback. But the true power of employee engagement action plans relies on the active participation of individual managers.
To develop strategies that actually work, managers must consult their direct reports. Managers have the unique ability to involve each team member in creating action plans, asking for context, ideas, and more. Teach your managers how to establish a safe space where employees feel comfortable sharing their true feelings. Instruct leaders to ask follow up questions and recognize employees when they contribute to difficult conversations. Managers should also help employees take ownership of the plan, laying out next steps they feel they can contribute to.
By working together as a team, managers can hold people accountable for their portions of the action plan, and make them feel like they are part of the solution at the same time. As action plans are put into practice, employees will learn that speaking up has a true effect on the business and gives them the confidence to continue providing feedback. Further, this approach fosters trust between them, their teammates, and their manager.
3 steps to creating an employee engagement action plan
Start developing effective employee engagement action plans by following these three simple steps.
1. Analyze the survey results and identify priorities
Analyzing employee engagement survey results is the first step towards creating a winning action plan. Once you have a sense of where your organization can improve, you can work with managers to solve those problems. Look for an employee engagement platform that includes robust reporting functionality on the backend, enabling you to create dashboards and heatmaps.
When analyzing results, pay attention to engagement scores, response rate, and benchmarks. Look at your employee engagement scores over time to see if there are any trends. Perhaps there are blips correlated to specific company decisions or in response to economic drivers. Dive deeper into those anomalies to see where they might be stemming from. Take note of response rates as well to ensure you’re getting enough accurate data. If you find that your response rate is trailing off, consider rewriting survey questions to be more relevant or cutting down the number of questions to make surveys easier to finish.
Lastly, compare your organization’s metrics to external and internal benchmarks. Do some research to find out how other businesses in your industry might be doing in terms of engagement or response rate and examine changes to your internal numbers month-over-month or year-over-year. A frame of reference can be helpful if you want to show progress or ask for more funding around engagement activities.
2. Build a collaborative action plan
Making action planning a collaborative process is the key to executing on them. To begin, have managers reserve time for listening sessions with their teams. In these forums, managers should first review survey results, highlighting things that went well and surfacing areas for improvement. After that, leadership should seek input from their team members. This session should give any team member equal right to voice their opinion on actions they feel should be taken next.
Write down these thoughts on a physical or virtual whiteboard, and eventually your action plan will start to take shape. Customizing your action plan based on these ideas ensures buy-in from employees and shows them that their feedback is taken seriously. Keep in mind that action plans don’t have to be elaborate, multi-step procedures. Taking micro-actions, quick ways to respond to feedback, help make the action plan feel more manageable and can generate positive results fast.
3. Keep soliciting feedback
Acting on feedback once or twice a year doesn’t cut it. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the evolving employee landscape to ensure employees have the resources and support to perform their best. Re-survey employees regularly to make feedback a habit, keep analyzing results to verify that action plans are working, and continually implement additional action plans to address new issues that arise.
Remember to revisit parts of action plans that may need adjustments. If you’re not seeing improvement, employees aren’t seeing any difference either. Make sure managers are sticking to the plans they’ve created with their teams, and help them identify micro-actions so that change is more noticeable and timely. Take a deep dive into your employee engagement survey results to ensure that the issues prioritized have the biggest potential to make lasting, favorable impacts.
Employee engagement action plan best practices
Besides these three tried and true steps, there are other best practices for creating employee engagement action plans. First, ditch annual surveys. They don’t capture the day-to-day employee experience and are difficult to act on quickly. Instead, try frequent, focused pulse surveys that provide a realtime window into employee engagement, together with AI-powered HR chatbots that interact with employees on a routine basis. These bots use machine learning to detect underlying issues before they even arise and give managers pointers on how to best listen to and engage with their direct reports.
On a similar note, it’s beneficial to adopt a comprehensive employee engagement solution. Look for an engagement platform that allows all relevant stakeholders一from HR professionals to managers to executives一to deliver, review, and act on employee engagement surveys.
Beyond technology, focus your initiatives on whatever the most important (or most neglected) drivers of employee engagement are for your team and organization. This could mean low morale, poor leadership, ineffective recognition, lack of professional development opportunities, or something else.
Build employee engagement with Achievers
Collaborative action plans aren’t possible without enough feedback to substantiate them and measure their effectiveness. That said, gathering ample feedback in a non-intrusive way can be difficult. You don’t want to overwhelm or annoy employees or they’ll stop taking surveys altogether. Thankfully, Achievers Listen is built to continuously solicit feedback in ways that don’t disrupt an employee’s workday.
Achievers Listen enables the delivery of frequent pulse and lifecycle surveys that are easy for employees to answer. It also includes Allie, a state-of-the-art HR chatbot that invites employees to anonymously share how they feel about work. Through one-click poll questions, the bot can help managers better understand what employees are going through, and it makes taking action on feedback quick and simple. And Achievers Listen’s built-in Action Builder feature takes people leaders from analysis to action by coaching them on how to put together action plans that actually work in the long run.
There’s no better way to start establishing a culture of feedback than by scheduling a free demo of Achievers Listen today.