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Analyze and Act on Engagement Data

Avoid analysis paralysis with a timely and tailored employee engagement action plan.

  • Lack of action leads to lack of trust. Cynicism can develop around engagement if action isn’t taken and detract from future engagement initiatives. For action to be effective, leadership needs to own it.
  • However, “The executive leadership team acts on employee feedback” is the fourth lowest scoring question out of 63 from McLean & Company engagement surveys (N=244,519). Launching an engagement survey is like pulling the pin on a grenade. If you’re not prepared to act, be prepared for the consequences.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The most critical part of engagement happens post survey, yet organizations are often struck by analysis paralysis.
  • To avoid cynicism, cascade the analysis of employee survey results and tailor the approach for timely, targeted, and relevant engagement action planning.

Impact and Result

  • Bridge the gap between employee engagement survey launch and action by:
    • Analyzing the results: Identify organizational priorities and determine the right approach to analyzing results and action planning for your organization. Analyze and communicate the results to stakeholders and define their roles.
    • Developing insights and actions: Determine the right approach to developing insights and actions and equip managers to conduct qualitative analysis.
    • Building and implementing action plans: Identify initiatives that have the highest impact on organizational priorities, set timelines and task owners, and track progress using McLean & Company templates and tools.

Analyze and Act on Engagement Data Research & Tools

2. Develop insights and actions

Determine the right approach to developing insights and actions and equip managers to conduct qualitative analysis.

3. Build and implement action plans

Identify initiatives that have the highest impact on organizational priorities, set timelines and task owners, and track progress using McLean & Company templates and tools.


Employee Engagement

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How to complete this course:

Use these videos, along with the Project Blueprint deck above, to gain an understanding of the subject. Start with the Introduction, then move through each of the Course Modules. At the end of each Module, you will be required to complete a short test to demonstrate your understanding. You will complete this course when you have completed all of the course tests.

  • Number of Course Modules: 5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

Learners will be able to develop an engagement program strategy that drives engagement success, select effective metrics and qualitative information to translate engagement data into insight, and guide managers in engagement action planning.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Develop an engagement strategy for impactful results
  • Analyze results and uncover insights to set engagement priorities
  • Prepare leaders to drive engagement in their interactions
  • Build and implement action plans

All of our McLean Academy courses have closed captioning available. To turn this function on, click on the C.C. in the bottom right corner of the video screen and click "English" on the options that pop-up.

Course Modules

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Employee Engagement Introduction: Employee engagement is more than just a survey

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Employee Engagement Module 1: Determine your engagement strategy

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Employee Engagement Module 2: Analyze data to uncover insights

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Employee Engagement Module 3: Prepare managers to drive engagement

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Employee Engagement Module 4: Act on engagement


Workshop: Analyze and Act on Engagement Data

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Prepare an Engagement Strategy

The Purpose

  • Define workforce engagement.
  • Determine survey communication strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Set definition for organizational engagement.
  • Communication plan determined.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Define what an engaged workforce means for your organization.

  • Identified engagement maturity; defined purpose, goals, and outcomes.
1.2

Plan and prepare survey communication.

  • Communication plan determined.

Module 2: Plan for Data Collection and Insight Mining

The Purpose

  • Identify metrics.
  • Determine collection methods for qualitative data.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Metrics have been determined.
  • Collection methods decided.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Identify additional metrics.

  • Additional metrics set.
2.2

Identify qualitative data collection methods.

  • Determined data sources and collection methods.

Module 3: Move From Numbers to Insight

The Purpose

  • Analyze survey results and identify insights.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Engagement drivers are set.
  • Insights are determined.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Analyze engagement survey results.

  • Priority engagement drivers identified.
3.2

Identify engagement insights.

  • Engagement story finalized.

Module 4: Drive Action

The Purpose

  • Determine and prioritize initiatives.
  • Create action plans.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Initiatives determined and put in a priority sequence.
  • Detailed action plans are created.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Identify engagement driver initiatives.

  • Engagement driver initiatives determined.
4.2

Prioritize initiatives.

  • Priority initiatives identified.
4.3

Create initiative action plans.

  • Detailed action plan for priority initiatives created.

Analyze and Act on Engagement Data

Avoid analysis paralysis with a timely and tailored approach to action planning.

Executive Summary

McLean & Company Insight

The most critical part of engagement happens post survey, yet organizations are often struck by analysis paralysis. To avoid cynicism, cascade the analysis of survey results and tailor the approach for timely, targeted, and relevant engagement action planning.

Situation

Engagement positively impacts organizational outcomes and is positively related to employee and organizational performance. Engaged employees are more committed, innovative, and customer focused.

Yet, work on engagement often stops with surveys. Only 8% of employees agree their organization acts on engagement survey (Gallup, 2018).

Complication

Lack of action leads to lack of trust. Cynicism can develop around engagement if action isn’t taken and detract from future engagement initiatives. For action to be effective, leadership needs to own it. However, “The executive leadership team acts on employee feedback” is the fourth lowest-scoring question out of 60 from McLean & Company engagement surveys (2019; N=244,519). Launching an engagement survey is like pulling the pin on a grenade. If you’re not prepared to act, be prepared for the consequences.

Solution

Bridge the gap between survey launch and action by:

  • Analyzing the results. Identify organizational priorities and determine the right approach to analyzing results and action planning for your organization. Analyze and communicate the results to stakeholders and define their roles.
  • Developing insights and actions. Determine the right approach to developing insights and actions and equip managers to conduct qualitative analysis.
  • Building and implementing action plans. Identify initiatives that have the highest impact on organizational priorities, set timelines and task owners, and track progress using McLean & Company templates and tools.

Engagement positively impacts organizational outcomes

Engagement is positively related to employee and organizational performance:

A line graph with y-axis 'Organizations Expecting Increased Engagement' in percentages and x-axis 'Organizational Performance' from 'Underperforming' to 'Exceeding'. The line moves in an upward trend.McLean & Company, HR Trends Report 2019; N=501

A horizontal bar chart gauging survey responses to two questions, available answers being 'Engaged' or 'Disengaged'. For the question 'I regularly accomplish more than what's expected in my role', 91% Engaged, 41% Disengaged (N=133,990). For the question 'I am not afraid of trying out new things in my job', 91% Engaged, 39% Disengaged (N=92,539). McLean & Company, Engagement Survey Database, 2015-2019

Engaged employees are more committed, innovative, and customer focused:

A horizontal bar chart gauging survey responses to two questions, available answers being 'Engaged' or 'Disengaged'. For the question 'I am very committed to this organization', 97% Engaged, 25% Disengaged (N=170,299). For the question 'I expect to be at the organization a year from now', 91% Engaged, 20% Disengaged (N=155,979). McLean & Company, Engagement Survey Database, 2015-2019

Work engagement positively predicted innovative behavior on a daily basis (Orth and Volmer, 2017; N=123).

Seventy-eight percent of organizations who score high on engagement deliver an above-average customer experience (Qualtrics, 2018; N=178).

Yet, work on engagement often stops with surveys

McLean & Company Insight

Don’t expect that employees will connect the dots by themselves. Communicate and follow through on timely analysis of engagement data and action planning or the impact of seeking employee feedback will be lost.

Taking action to improve employee engagement pays off…

A scatter plot of survey responses titled 'Organizational Engagement vs. Taking Action to Improve Employee Engagement' with y-axis 'Percentage of Engaged Employees' and x-axis 'Percentage of Agree and Strongly Agree Responses to: 'This organization takes actions to improve employee engagement''. There is an upward trend where a greater percentage of positive responses aligns with a greater percentage of engaged employees.McLean & Company, Engagement Survey Database, 2015-2020; N=143

Yet, only 8% of employees strongly agree that their employers act on survey results (Gallup, 2018).

If action planning is occurring, employees often don’t know about it38% of employees don’t know if their organization takes any action at all (Gallup, 2018).

Lack of action leads to lack of trust

Leader-driven engagement is about leadership owning action planning and HR facilitating it.

Yet only 40% of executives consider acting on results to be a high priority (Qualtrics, 2018; N=178).

“The executive leadership team acts on employee feedback” is the fourth lowest-scoring question out of 63 in McLean & Company engagement surveys (N=244,519).

  • This contributes to cynicism and detracts from current and future engagement initiatives.

McLean & Company Insight

Launching an engagement survey is like pulling the pin on a grenade. If you’re not prepared to act, be prepared for the consequences.

Bridge the gap between survey launch and action

Some decisions will have been made as part of the engagement program strategy; look for the chess icon throughout the blueprint for reference.

See McLean & Company’s Develop an Engagement Program Strategy if you have yet to create one.

This blueprint will cover actions that should be taken after running an engagement survey.

Engagement program strategy with the steps after the survey highlighted. '1. Develop an engagement program strategy', '2. Scope survey project', '3. Prepare to launch', '4. Run survey', then highlighted: '5. Analyze results', '6. Develop insights and actions', '7. Build and implement action plans', '8. Conduct regular check-ins'.

Use McLean & Company’s blueprints and resources to move through the stages of the engagement program

  1. Develop an engagement program strategy
  2. Scope survey project
  3. Prepare to launch
  4. Run survey
  5. Contact us for help with scoping, launching, and running an engagement survey.
  6. Analyze results
    • Analyze and Act on Engagement Data (this project)
  7. Develop insights and actions
    • Analyze and Act on Engagement Data (this project)
  8. Build and implement action plans
  9. Conduct regular check-ins

Follow McLean & Company’s three-step process to demystifying engagement data

1. Analyze results

2. Develop insights and actions

3. Build and implement action plans

Step 1

Analyze Results

1. Analyze results

2. Develop insights and actions3. Build and implement action plans
This step will walk you through the following activities:

Identify organizational priorities and determine the right approach to analyzing results and action planning for your organization. Analyze and communicate the results to stakeholders and define their roles.

After completing this step you will have:
  • Organization-wide engagement priorities
  • An approach to engagement analysis and action planning
  • Analyzed survey results
  • Presented engagement results and timelines

Identify existing organization-wide priorities

Review the engagement strategy to identify existing priorities that can be impacted by engagement analysis and action planning. If there is no engagement strategy in place, examine the organizational strategy, goals, and initiatives, for example, if an organization is prioritizing innovation, focusing engagement action planning on areas that align with or support innovation would be a good place to start.

Refer to:

  • Engagement strategy
  • Strategic goals
  • Strategic roadmap
  • Strategic plans
  • Mission & vision
  • Values

Develop an Engagement Program Strategy if you have yet to create one.

Record the purpose, goals and metrics in tab 2 of the Action Planning Workbook.

Review the purpose of engagement, goals, and metrics and connect identified organizational priorities to these.

  • Purpose: What is the purpose of engagement?
    • Improve the employee experience to then improve the customer experience.
  • Goals: What are the outcomes of engagement? What does an engaged workforce look like?
    • Improve team dynamics
    • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Metrics: How can we measure those outcomes?
    • Voluntary turnover rates
    • Customer retention rates

McLean & Company Insight

Engagement action planning isn’t just about addressing employee feedback. The best engagement actions address both priority engagement drivers and organizational needs. This will allow for quick wins and buy-in for actions where the ball is already rolling.

Review engagement results at a high level

Most engagement survey providers provide the following three levels of analysis:

  • Participation rates
  • Engagement levels
  • Drivers

Reviewing engagement results at a high level will help to determine the approach to engagement and further analysis. Pay special attention to results in comparison to last year.

Input high level results in tab 3 of the Action Planning Workbook.

Participation rates

Ensure the participation rate is high enough that the results represent a majority of employees before taking broad actions across the organization. Aim for at least 80%, but best practice is to compare to previous years’ participation rates.

Overall engagement level

McLean & Company’s overall benchmark for engagement is 55%, however, we strongly recommend benchmarking against your own organization. Examine:

  • The overall engagement breakdown, % engaged, % disengaged, etc.
  • How results have changed since the last survey
  • If the score is unexpectedly low and will shock key stakeholders

Drivers

Engagement drivers are areas that influence an employee's happiness and commitment to their day-to-day role and their organization.

Most survey providers will have their own engagement drivers, however, theming them by factors at the job level (e.g. empowerment) versus factors at the organization level (e.g. culture) can help when trying to better understand where action needs to be taken.

Answer the following questions:

  • Which drivers scored the highest?
  • Which scored the lowest?
  • Are there any clear areas to improve or quick wins?

Confirm organization-wide priorities

Consult the priority matrix if available

This high-level, easy-to-read report plots engagement drivers by engagement score and impact of each driver on engagement based on statistical analysis. It is always included in McLean & Company Engagement Reports.

If your survey provider reports on results differently, graph individual driver scores against importance to highlight priority drivers.

Priority drivers include both strengths and weaknesses. Don’t fall into the trap of concentrating on weaknesses – be aware of what your organization is doing well to celebrate those areas to maintain them.

A sample priority matrix split into four quadrants with y-axis 'Impact on Engagement' from Low to High, and x-axis 'Driver Score' from Low to High. Quadrants: Low impact, low driver is 'Evaluate'; high impact, low driver is 'Improve'; low impact, high driver is 'Maintain'; high impact, high driver is 'Leverage'.

McLean & Company recommends selecting one to three areas to improve or maintain

It’s better to fully implement a few actions for one priority than to build a larger plan and not fully action any initiatives due to other business priorities or lose momentum due to the sheer number of priorities or initiatives.

  • Select priorities that tie to organizational strategy. Consider current organizational context, what has been done in the past, and other relevant factors.
  • Remember: Some engagement drivers require action at certain levels of the organization. For example, managers should not be expected to change the culture without action by senior leadership.

Add organization-wide priorities in tab 3 of the Action Planning Workbook.

McLean & Company Insight

Don't assume low-scoring drivers should automatically become priorities. Look for the drivers that, if improved, will have the greatest positive impact on your employees' engagement.

Understand the different approaches to engagement analysis and action planning

The approach to engagement analysis and action planning should be decided as soon as possible.

Centralized approach:
Priorities are identified at the organizational level and all levels of action planning are based on the same priorities.
Hybrid approach:
Organizational priorities are identified, and further analysis happens at the other levels to dig deeper on those priorities to identify unique priorities for those levels and better tailor action planning at those levels.
Decentralized approach:
Analysis, priorities, and action planning are identified at each level.
Organizational-level analysis Organizational-level analysis
Organizational-level priorities Organizational-level priorities
Organization action planning Organization action planning Department analysis Team analysis Department analysis Team analysis
Department-level priorities Team-level priorities Department-level priorities Team-level priorities
Department action planning Team action planning Department action planning Team action planning

Determine an action planning approach that aligns to culture and engagement maturity

A high-level review of engagement results will inform your approach to analysis and action planning. Use the following criteria to determine your approach to engagement, ensuring that it is aligned with your culture and your previous engagement experience.

Input approach in tab 4 of the Action Planning Workbook.

McLean & Company Insight

Prepare to be flexible! Your approach to engagement analysis and action planning may change in light of further analysis or over time as your organization becomes more experienced with the process.

A spectrum with 'Hybrid approach' in the middle and 'Centralized approach' and 'Decentralized approach' on either end. A header for the table below.
Limited capacity for additional analysis and action planning ‹—

Capacity

—› Each level has capacity to analyze and execute on engagement
Top-down decision making ‹—

Culture

—› Decentralized decision making
Limited experience with engagement ‹—

Leadership capability

—› Leaders are equipped to fully own engagement
Consistent results across the organization ‹—

Engagement themes

—› Different results across the organization
Homogeneous work ‹—

Nature of work

—› Heterogeneous work

Analyze survey results

Segment the data to analyze further

  • Segment engagement levels, participation rates, driver analysis, and survey comments according to the level of analysis that aligns to the approach to engagement determined in step one.
  • For example, in a decentralized approach, custom segment reports will be required for identification of priorities at a more segmented level.
  • This allows for more accurate root cause analysis, provides clarity on the data, drives insights, and allows for customization.

Sample segments:

  • Department
  • Location
  • Position
  • Full-time/Part-time
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Salary range and type
  • Team
  • Manager

Survey comments:

HR should also review all survey comments but be cautious to not let them skew data analysis.

Carefully consider if, how, and with who survey comments will be shared. It may be more appropriate to theme comments and share overall themes as opposed to verbatim comments.

Tips when reviewing comments:

  • Identify common or recurring themes.
  • Don’t take comments personally – if you find yourself getting upset, take some time to cool off.
  • Don’t try to trace comments back to a certain employee.
  • Remember, comments aren’t necessarily a representative sample – look at them in context.

Use the Guide to Navigating the McLean Connect Dashboard to learn how to drill down into your McLean survey results.

McLean & Company Insight

The engagement story can change based on how the data is segmented. Dig beneath organizational averages to understand what is really going on.

Determine stakeholder roles and timelines

If the following has not been outlined in your engagement strategy, use McLean & Company’s suggested stakeholder roles and timelines:

Stakeholder roles

People Managers
  • Take a close look at their own team's results.
  • Work with teams to develop ideas for improvement in selected areas.
  • Develop and execute action plans to improve engagement in their team.
HR
  • Advise leaders of the process and their roles.
  • Monitor organizational changes (any action planning at the organizational level) as a result of the survey.
  • Ensure thorough communication throughout the survey process.
  • Field employee concerns as an objective point of contact.
  • Develop the tools and resources to execute on engagement action plans.
Employees
  • Participate in the survey process and action items that follow.
  • Provide honest and detailed feedback.
Senior Leaders
  • Hold people managers accountable for implementing action plans.
  • Communicate the ongoing work being done on engagement.
  • Be transparent about what can and can’t be accomplished.
  • Work with HR to develop an approach for action planning and identify expectations for people managers.
  • Continue to communicate why engagement is a priority for the organization.

McLean & Company Insight

When determining the ownership of action planning for leaders, ensure they have the knowledge and experience to ensure they can fulfill their accountabilities.

Review stakeholder roles and accountabilities outlined in tab 5 of the Engagement Program Strategy Workbook.

Timelines

Ensure that timelines for results-sharing and action-planning logistics match those outlined in tab 4 of the Engagement Program Strategy Workbook.

McLean & Company recommends that analysis and action planning occurs concurrently across levels of analysis.

  • Analyze results 2-4 weeks
  • Develop insights and actions 3-4 weeks
  • Build and implement action plans 6-12 months
  • Conduct regular check-ins Ongoing

Update the communication plan

Depending on your engagement analysis and action planning approach and your organization, different communication strategies may be necessary for different stakeholders.

Example communication strategies tailored by audience:

HR: Host a team meeting to outline the organization-wide communication plan.

Senior leadership: Schedule time at an executive meeting to go over all results and delineate who is responsible for sharing what.

Managers: Host a series of launch meetings to go over results, so managers can act as subject matter experts.

Employees: Host a town hall.

Confirm next steps

When results will be shared
  • Share survey results as soon as possible after closing the survey. Even if priorities haven’t been identified, it shows stakeholders’ action is on its way.
  • Determine if results will be shared all at once or if organizational results will be shared before segmented results.
What will be shared
  • Depending on the approach to engagement, different reports will need to be shared. If analysis is happening at different levels, a custom report will need to be shared with each segment.
  • Start with full transparency, then dial back as needed.
    • Department comparisons and demographics are all things to evaluate.
    • Be thoughtful with verbatim comments; comments provide important context to the scores, however, details can jeopardize anonymity.
How results will be shared
  • Identify who will be sharing the results and if different stakeholders should share different levels of results (i.e. organization-wide and department-specific).
  • The nature of work and what will be shared determines the best delivery method for sharing the results, i.e. emails for remote staff and in-person meetings (where possible) for more sensitive results.

Review the detailed program and communication plans outlined in tabs 3 and 4 of the Engagement Program Action and Communication Plan.

Review the engagement results sharing plan outlined in tab 4 of the Engagement Program Strategy Workbook.

Record next steps in tab 5 of the Action Planning Workbook.

Inform stakeholders of survey results and organization-wide priorities

Share results and priorities

Once you have received engagement survey results, identified organization-wide priority drivers, and compared against additional metrics, it’s time to share these results with stakeholders.

Anyone responsible for developing insights and actions needs to be provided with organizational reports along with segmented results at the relevant level. Additional metrics should be shared, as appropriate, to paint a fuller picture, e.g. voluntary turnover rates measured as a metric of the engagement program strategy.

HR’s role:

  • HR distributes results to appropriate segments, e.g. regional managers or department heads.
  • HR is responsible for developing insights from organization-wide data.
  • Appropriate groups are responsible for developing insights from their data.

Develop communication tools

Develop presentation decks, where applicable, to share results with all identified segments. Make sure to include:

  • Organization-wide survey results and priority drivers
  • Segmented engagement survey results
  • Appropriate additional metrics

If you used McLean & Company’s Engagement Survey and stakeholders outside of HR will be responsible for action planning, make sure to provide them with tools to communicate their results, analyze their data, and take action.

Update and distribute your Guide to Interpreting Your Overall Engagement Report.

Update and distribute your Overall Results Debrief Template.

Update and distribute Engagement Action Planning Manager Toolkit.

Step 2

Develop insights and actions

1. Analyze results

2. Develop insights and actions

3. Build and implement action plans
This step will walk you through the following activities:

Determine the right approach to develop insights and actions and equip managers to conduct qualitative analysis.

After completing this step you will have:
  • Evaluated and selected methods for qualitative analysis.
  • Equipped managers with the tools to conduct qualitative analysis.
  • Developed insights and actions.

Engagement data is only one part of the story

Examining data in isolation makes identifying key opportunities unlikely. Analysis and insight generation are required to determine the most impactful initiatives.

Engagement data is the foundation that guides engagement action planning; however, analysis and insight generation are required to determine the most impactful initiatives. Uncovering insight is the key to understanding your organization’s full engagement story.

Data analysis and deriving insights should take approximately five to eight weeks.

A process summary for uncovering insight. Beginning with 'Survey Results', then 'Analysis', which is fed by 'Metrics' and 'Qualitative Data', leads to 'Insight'.

Get to your engagement story quickly to launch initiatives and keep momentum going.

McLean & Company Insight

Without asking employees what will engage them, you’re only getting half the story. Collecting qualitative data is how you tap into the employee voice, which humanizes the data and brings your organization’s engagement story to life.

Tune in to employee voice to get the story behind the numbers

Survey data can help you select priorities for action planning, but if you assume you know what actions to take without engaging the voice of the employee, you’re at risk for choosing the wrong ones and wasting effort.

McLean & Company Insight

Engaging the voice of employees prevents choosing the wrong actions while giving them a greater sense of ownership.

The employee voice will help you fill in the blanks and pull insight from the numbers.

Employee voice is a means through which employees feel empowered to exchange ideas, raise concerns, and become involved in organizational decisions regardless of hierarchical differences.

Two circles of different sizes, the large one is labelled 'Not comfortable sharing' and the small one is labelled 'Willing to share' and inside is the word 'Voice'.

Employee voice builds over time. As you act on employee feedback, the circle of what employees are willing to share grows.

To select the best qualitative data collection method:

  • Consider your organization’s context, culture, and structure and the approach to engagement analysis you defined in step one.
  • Take stock of the associated metrics; think about the information you’re trying to complement.
  • Evaluate how engagement results may impact the effectiveness of the method (e.g. if employees have issues with their leader, having the leader run a focus group won’t produce honest feedback).
  • Determine how ready your organization is for this level of transparency. The more interactive the method, the more important trust and honesty become.
  • Be realistic – your organization may not be ready for certain methods. Keep timeliness and available resources in mind.

Evaluate methods for qualitative analysis

Select the methods for qualitative analysis that reflect resources available:

Record qualitative analysis methods in tab 6 of the Workbook.

1-on-1 interviews

Interview staff to gather feedback on employee engagement results and priority drivers.

Exit interviews

Survey departing staff regarding their experience with the organization.

Focus groups

Conduct guided discussion and/or feedback sessions with groups of employees.

Employee Forums

Obtain feedback from a large employee audience (e.g. online message boards, town halls).
Pros:
  • Feedback is obtained from all employees.
  • Consistent with the N=1 approach.
Considerations:
  • Time intensive.
  • Interviewers need to be trained and comfortable having these conversations.
  • Confidentiality concerns.
Pros:
  • Builds on existing processes.
  • Departing employees may be more honest and candid.
Considerations:
  • Exit surveys are not interactive.
  • Not directly focused on employee engagement or the priority drivers.
  • Confidentiality concerns.
Pros:
  • Can guide the discussion around priority drivers.
  • Efficient way to obtain direct feedback with limited time/resources.
Considerations:
  • Time intensive.
  • Employees who don’t take it seriously can have a negative impact on the rest of the group or select employees may dominate the discussion.
Pros:
  • Provides every employee with the opportunity to participate.
  • Minimal time investment.
Considerations:
  • Passive approach.
  • Confidentiality concerns.
Use McLean & Company’s Stay Interview Guide. Use McLean & Company’s Exit Survey. Use McLean & Company’s Engagement Focus Group Guide.

McLean & Company Insight

Don’t go into the data collection process with preconceived notions. Be aware of how bias might play into the selected qualitative data collection methods.

Equip managers to conduct qualitative analysis

Managers’ unique relationships with employees allows for deeper qualitative analysis.

At the team level, managers can take the following actions:

  • Interpret team-level engagement results
    Empower managers to interpret survey results at the team level and identify strengths, weaknesses, and focus areas.
  • Conduct 1-on-1s
    Interview staff to gather feedback on employee engagement results and priority drivers.
  • Conduct focus groups with their team
    Conduct guided discussion and/or feedback sessions with groups of employees.
  • Become an engaging manager
    Apply the 3i’s – interact, inform, and involve – to engage employees.
  • Reengage the disengaged
    Build trust with and support disengaged employees.
  • Facilitate team discussion/activities
    Discuss results and identify actions to improve employee engagement.

Use McLean & Company resources to empower managers to act on engagement data:

Conduct qualitative analysis on organizational priorities

1) First, identify additional metrics to aid your analysis. 2) Now that you have:
  • Engagement Results
  • Metrics
  • Qualitative Data
It's time to uncover analysis insights.
Consider how the priority drivers are linked to strategy and which available metrics will help provide additional insights.
Sample Non-HR Business Metrics:
  • Revenue
  • Profit margin
  • Operating expenses
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer retention
  • Sales growth
Sample HR Business Metrics:
  • Retention rate
  • Absenteeism rate
  • Revenue per FTE
  • Promotion rate
  • Labor cost per FTE
  • Vacancy rate
Required levels of analysis will vary based on the engagement analysis approach
  • If looking at engagement from a more granular perspective, how might these insights apply at the organizational level?
  • If looking at engagement from an organization-wide perspective, how might these insights apply at the granular level?
Ask key questions to bring insights to light
  • What are some unexpected connections between engagement results, metrics, and qualitative data?
  • What are we doing well to maintain our priority drivers of strength?
  • Where might we be slipping in our priority drivers of strength?
  • What opportunities do we have to address priority drivers in the “improve” area?
Evaluate insights within the context of culture
  • How do the insights fit into the wider organizational context? The organization’s history with engagement surveys?
  • Is the organization undergoing transformational change?
  • Are there internal/external environmental factors that may have an impact?

McLean & Company Insight

Action often lacks leadership support if HR doesn’t get underneath the engagement numbers to tell a compelling story.

Record insights in tab 6 of the Workbook.

Step 3

Build and implement action plans

1. Analyze results2. Develop insights and actions

3. Build and implement action plans

This step will walk you through the following activities:

Identify initiatives that have the highest impact on organizational priorities, set timelines and task owners, and track progress using McLean & Company templates and tools.

After completing this step you will have:
  • Identified initiatives that align to the organization and impact priority drivers.
  • Set timelines and task owners to keep engagement alive.
  • Created initiative profiles to track progress on initiatives.
  • Communicated progress on engagement.

Identify initiatives aligned to the organization strategy and impact priority drivers

New priorities may have emerged through the level of analysis and insight generation that was determined by your approach to engagement analysis.

As a result, the approach to action planning may also change from what was originally planned. At each level of action planning, focus on one to two initiatives that are aligned to organizational priorities, impact the priority drivers, and will have the greatest impact on engagement.

Focus on impact

  • Reflect on the priority drivers you identified in step 1 to help determine where to focus efforts for the greatest impact.
  • Evaluate quick-win initiatives that will have immediate results and long-term projects that will have a significant impact.
  • Look for actions that can be implemented to impact multiple engagement drivers.

Leverage your strengths

  • Don’t only focus on areas that need to improve to boost engagement, also focus on areas that should be nurtured to maintain engagement.
  • Evaluate the data analysis insights completed in step 2 to identify your organization’s strengths and identify initiatives to leverage and foster them.

Ask the following questions

  • What should we continue doing with respect to this engagement driver?
  • If this driver was done well, what would it look like?
  • Which initiatives will help the organization close the gap between current reality and ideal state for the driver?

Identify organization-wide initiatives

It is difficult to initiate several large-scale, widespread actions successfully. Focus on one to two initiatives, and if analysis isn’t happening at levels other than the organization, simply tailor initiatives to different organizational levels.

Focus on delivering high-impact initiatives

Prioritize initiatives –› Evaluate the following when prioritizing initiatives:

Drivers impacted
  • Which drivers are impacted?
  • Are multiple drivers impacted?
Impact on employees
  • What impact will this have on employee engagement? Significant impact? Moderate? Low?
Effort
  • What amount of effort will implementation of this initiative require? For the team, the organization, and HR?
Organization/team readiness for change
  • How drastic is the change?
  • How ready is the organization and team for this change?
Alignment with organizational strategy
  • To what degree does this initiative align with the organizational strategy?
Cost
  • How much will this initiative cost? Is there budget for this?

McLean & Company Insight

Prioritize aggressively. Focus on delivering a few high-impact initiatives effectively rather than under delivering on many unfocused initiatives.

A sample 'Prioritization Initiatives' table from tab 7 of the 'Engagement Action Planning Workbook'.

Prioritize initiatives in tab 7 of the Engagement Action Planning Workbook.

Set timelines and task owners to keep the focus on engagement alive

Set timelines and check-ins on engagement initiatives in alignment with your broader engagement strategy timelines.

  • Determine who is accountable and how they will be held accountable for actions. Outline task owners and responsibilities.
  • Have leaders share the engagement initiatives they have implemented and outcomes they’ve experienced with other leaders.
  • Promote the sharing of engagement initiatives and best practices throughout the organization.

Record timeline and task owners in tab 8 of the Engagement Action Planning Workbook.

McLean & Company Insight

You can give leadership and managers all the tools needed to action plan, yet risk failure without strong follow-up communications and accountability.

Create initiative profiles to track progress on engagement initiatives

Name of Initiative: [Insert name]

Owner: [Insert project owner]

Project Description
[Insert description of project.]

"On-the-spot" awards when employees go above and beyond

Scope
[Outline what is in scope and out of scope.]

Organization-wide initiative; franchises are left out of scope

Deliverables

  • Award template (On track)
  • Manager training (On track)
  • Define above and beyond (Delayed)
  • Presentation on new “on-the-spot” awards (At Risk)

Progress Made to Date
[Outline progress made to date on tasks and goals.]

  • Award template has been drafted.
  • Interviewed employees on what above and beyond looks like and crafted definition.
  • Manager training has been drafted.

Next Steps and Timelines
[Outline next steps that will be taken and the timing of each.]

  • Deliver manager training by Q4 2020.
  • Deliver organization-wide communication by Q1 2021.
  • Review and iterate awards on an ongoing basis following implementation.

Track initiative details and progress using the Engagement Initiative Card Template.

Communicate and continue to assess effectiveness and update progress

Transparent communication keeps employees in the loop and leads to further engagement. Demonstrate responsiveness to employee feedback and ensure you communicate which actions have resulted from which engagement results.

Communicate engagement initiatives to the organization:
  • Acknowledge employee feedback, but stress that the organization can only focus on a limited number of issues.
  • Explain that priorities have been determined based on their impact to the organization and its employees.
  • Accountability for communication will align with your approach to engagement analysis and ownership of generating insights.
Use several communication channels for maximum reach:
  • Company-wide meetings
  • Company intranet
  • Senior leadership panels
  • Newsletters
  • Employee forums
Continuously assess the effectiveness of engagement initiatives:
  • Revisit your engagement strategy metrics and determine how engagement initiatives have impacted business results.
  • If your organization is using an annual engagement survey, use a pulse survey targeted specifically toward priority drivers.
  • Have managers host team-level discussions to determine initiative effectiveness.
Update progress:
  • Communicate how engagement actions have made an impact, and if not, what will be done going forward.
  • Communicate fluctuations in engagement driver scores and any changes to priority drivers based on pulse survey results.

McLean & Company Insight

Communicating your engagement initiatives is a commitment to follow through, otherwise, you risk disengaging the employees you want to engage.

Update communication plan in tab 5 of the Workbook.

Key insights

Insight 1

The most critical part of engagement happens post survey, yet organizations are often struck by analysis paralysis. To avoid cynicism, cascade the analysis of survey results and tailor the approach for timely, targeted, and relevant engagement action planning.

Insight 2

Prepare to be flexible. Your approach to engagement analysis and action planning may change in light of further analysis or over time as your organization becomes more experienced with the process.

Insight 3

To successfully transition ownership of action planning to leaders, provide training, tools, and support. Many leaders will be new to this.

Insight 4

Without asking employees what will engage them, you’re only getting half the story. Collecting qualitative data is how you tap into the employee voice, which humanizes the data and brings your organization’s engagement story to life.

Insight 5

Don’t go into the data collection process with preconceived notions. Be aware of how bias might play into the qualitative data collection methods you select.

Insight 6

Communicating your engagement initiatives is a commitment to follow through, otherwise, you risk disengaging the employees you want to engage.

Employee Engagement Workshop overview

Accelerate your engagement survey action planning with an Engagement Workshop. Work with your McLean & Company analyst to design the agenda that meets your needs.

Results Presentations
  • 1 hour per presentation

Senior Leadership Team
Engage the senior leadership team in an in-depth discussion of the survey data and implications for the organization.

Employee Groups
Present survey data in a townhall format, ensuring employees see their feedback has been acknowledged and their questions are answered.

Boards of Directors
Provide your board of directors with key survey findings, ensuring they see the senior leadership is taking action.

Senior Leadership Sessions

Develop an Organizational Engagement Strategy
McLean & Company guides the senior leadership team in the creation of an organization strategy to define, measure, communicate, and act on employee feedback.

  • Two four-hour sessions; completed before the launch of an engagement survey

Equip Senior Leaders to Drive Employee Engagement
McLean & Company provides the senior leadership team with simple, yet powerful ways to connect with employees and help improve the senior management relationships engagement driver measured in the employee engagement survey.

  • Two four-hour sessions
Focus Groups

Create an Organization Engagement Action Plan
McLean & Company facilitators conduct a series of focus groups on the priority engagement drivers selected by senior leadership. McLean & Company compiles the focus group feedback into a comprehensive report, debriefs the senior leadership team and HR on the results of the focus groups, and guides the leaders through the development of a draft action and communication plan.

  • Focus groups: 2 days
  • Senior leadership debrief: 2 hours
  • Senior leadership action planning: 4 hours
Manager Training

Equip Managers to Improve Engagement Action Planning
McLean & Company leads a manager group through a session on what is engagement, how to interpret their team’s engagement survey results, and how to take action.

  • 2-3 hours

Individual Manager Coaching on Team Results
Individual managers can meet with a McLean & Company analyst individually for 20 minutes to review their team’s survey results and discuss next steps.

  • 2 hours

Employee engagement additional offerings

We offer support in communicating results, training managers, and gathering feedback.

Focus Groups

Gather employee feedback for action planning
McLean & Company conducts up to three focus groups on the priority engagement drivers selected by senior leadership and compiles the focus group feedback into a comprehensive report. McLean & Company debriefs the HR team during a one-hour phone call.

  • Five to six hours of focus groups and a one-hour debrief
Strategy

Develop an Organizational Engagement Strategy
McLean & Company guides the senior leadership team in the creation of an organization strategy to define, measure, communicate, and act on employee feedback.

  • Two four-hour sessions; completed before the launch of an engagement survey
Senior Leader Action Planning

Equip Senior Leaders to Drive Employee Engagement
McLean & Company provides the senior leadership team with simple, yet powerful ways to connect with employees, and help improve the senior management relationships engagement driver measured in the employee engagement survey.

  • Two four-hour sessions
Manager Training

Equip Managers to Improve Engagement Action Planning
McLean & Company leads a manager group through a session on the importance of engagement, how to interpret their team’s engagement survey results, and how to act on survey data to improve engagement.

  • Two to three hours; maximum 25 participants

Introduction to Engagement Webinar
This is an introductory webinar on the importance of engagement and how to interpret engagement survey results.

  • 45 minutes; maximum 100 participants
Results Presentations

Overall Results
McLean & Company will debrief the results of the overall organization engagement survey report to employee population(s) (e.g. executive team, managers, employees, mixed group). Note: Three free calls are included in the standard survey administration.

  • One-hour per presentation

Business Unit Results Calls
McLean & Company reviews business-unit-level survey results (e.g. location, department), identify key trends and insights, and lead a virtual debrief of results.

  • One-hour per call

Leverage feedback to drive performance

Identify impactful initiatives using our diagnostic programs to collect feedback from employees, stakeholders, and the HR team.

Optimize the HR Department for Success

HR Stakeholder Management Survey
Align HR initiatives with business strategy and stakeholder needs.

HR Management & Governance
Improve HR’s core functions and drive project success.

Improve Employee Experience and HR Processes

New Hire Survey
Ensure recruiting and onboarding programs are effective by surveying new employees.

Employee Engagement
Move beyond measuring job satisfaction with a comprehensive view of engagement.

McLean Employee Experience Monitor
Evolve to leader-driven engagement with a real-time dashboard and results.

Employee Exit Survey
Understand why people leave the organization to proactively retain top talent.

360 Degree Feedback
Empower employees with a holistic view of their performance to prioritize development.

View our diagnostic programs for more information.

McLean & Company offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation

Workshop

Consulting

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful." "Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track." "We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place." "Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Research Contributors and Experts

  • Katie Bailey
    Professor of Management
    University of Sussex
  • Brad Borland
    Independent Engagement Consultant
  • Susan Byrd
    Senior Vice President of People
    SpecialtyCare
  • Bobbi Chamberlain, RPR
    HR Advisor
    Grande Prairie Regional College
  • Andy Donovan
    HR Manager
    Frankenmuth Insurance
  • Andrew Drake
    Organizational Effectiveness Specialist
    North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA)
  • Ria Emsley
    Human Resource Manager
    AVVO
  • Jenna Filipkowski, PhD
    Director of Research
    Human Capital Institute (HCI)
  • Ani Girgitsova
    Senior Talent Development Specialist
    Progress
  • Betsy Good, MS/SPHR/SHRM-SCP
    HR Manager
    Texas Windstorm Insurance Association
  • Vlatka Hlupic
    Management Consultant, Author of “The Management Shift,” CEO and founder of The Management Shift Ltd. and Drucker Society London

Research Contributors and Experts

  • Claire Kelliher, BSc/MA/PhD
    Professor of Work and Organization
    Cranfield University
  • John Purcell
    Visiting Professor
    University of Bath
  • Michelle Pyram
    Director, Human Resources
    Board of Education Retirement System (BERS)
  • Dilys Robinson, BA/MBA/FCIPD
    Principal Research Fellow
    Institute for Employment Studies
  • John Schriber
    Director of Organization Assessment, Employee Engagement, and Values
    Humana
  • Amanda Shantz
    Reader in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior
    IÉSEG School of Management
  • Brad Shuck
    Assistant Professor
    University of Louisville
  • Maradene Wills
    Strategic Human Analytics Expert
    Scotiabank

Works Cited

Gandhi, Vipula. “How to Use Pulse Surveys to Improve Training and Show ROI.” Gallup, 19 June 2018. Accessed June 2020.

Orth, Maximillian, and Judith Volmer. “Daily within-person effects of job autonomy and work engagement on innovative behaviour: The cross-level moderating role of creative self-efficacy.” European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, vol. 26, no. 4, 2017, pp. 601-612.

Temkin, Bruce, and Aimee Lucas. “Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity, 2018: Benchmark data from 178 Large Organizations.” Qualtrics XM Institute, July 2018. Accessed June 2020.

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 6 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Analyze results
  • Call #1 - Discuss approach to engagement analysis and action planning.
  • Call #2 - Review analysis of survey results.

Guided Implementation #2 - Develop insights and actions
  • Call #1 - Discuss selection of methods for qualitative analysis.
  • Call #2 - Review uncovered insights.

Guided Implementation #3 - Build and implement action plans
  • Call #1 - Discuss initiatives and prioritization.
  • Call #2 - Review initiative profiles.

Contributors

  • Ria Emsley, Human Resource Manager, AVVO
  • Andy Donovan, HR Manager, Frankenmuth Insurance
  • Andrew Drake, Organizational Effectiveness Specialist, North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA)
  • Michelle Pyram, Director, Human Resources, Board of Education Retirement System (BERS)