Plan for Action Planning Difficulties

Surveying your employees is one thing. Acting on results is another.

The difficulty of employee engagement survey action planning might come as a surprise. It takes a champion or three to make it happen. A good many champions of employee engagement have wrestled with some of the best oppositional managers. These naysayers are everywhere.

Getting management to roll up their sleeves post-survey may seem far more taxing than it was, on reflection, to sell your executive leadership team on the merits of an employee engagement survey. In those earlier days, you could point to supportive literature more plentiful than there are days in a decade; scientific studies, academic papers, strategic business reports all praising this tool of the HR trade.

Deciding on strategy, selecting the right kinds of questions, developing formats and rolling out the survey, well, all that seemed relatively easy too. Comparatively speaking. Again, all kinds or viable resources showed you “how to” design and execute employee surveys, topic by topic, step by step.

Now, the survey’s behind you and results are in. Employees have had their say. They’re ready and eager for change. You’re ready and eager to move into action. But your real change agents - team leaders, supervisors, front-line and middle managers, even some senior executives aren’t all on board. Questions and objections surface like oil on vinegar. What do these numbers mean to me? My team? My department? My division? What am I meant to do with this information? Where do I start? We don’t have time for this kind of thing. It’s not relevant to what we do. Meetings are too time-consuming; productivity will suffer.

Unfortunately, there’s a dearth of information to guide you through next steps. Nothing as prolific as the resources that helped get you to this point. That’s where post-survey consulting and professionally facilitated action planning workshops can ease the transition from thought to action.

TalentMap has observed three common post-survey difficulties and recommends you prepare for these hurdles before they become full-stop obstacles.

  1. Differing views and priorities You can anticipate three distinct management responses post-survey

  • Those who buy-in completely and unequivocally

  • Those who don’t (surveys are a waste of resources, why do we even bother)

  • Those somewhere in between who cite time as their chief concern. Your number one job is to find who sits where and to coach them accordingly.

  1. Inexperience Your executive leaders usually have the advantage of high-level presentations and reports that delve into findings and pinpoint actionable areas. For the rest of management that’s not necessarily the case. Turning employee engagement survey action planning loose on the whole organization means making sure basic knowledge and skills are covered and in place across all levels of management, from how to read and interpret, understand and communicate survey findings to running effective meetings and smoothing the way for change.

  2. Trade-off thinking “Yeah but… if we do this we’ll forfeit that. It’s either our regular work or employee engagement.” You know both co-exist quite nicely and lead to improvements. It’s a question of sharing this knowledge convincingly and demonstrating how to get there.

Don’t sweat these difficulties. Just know what to expect and plan your next steps. Prepare to wrestle down objections and step into the fray ready for action – with TalentMap coaching from your corner.

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