Create Action Teams, Documentation and Implementation

Creating Action Teams

Responding to the results of the Engagement survey should be a team effort – this is where we all work, and we all have a stake in it being an environment that brings out our best. Employee commitment and involvement is a key ingredient for successfully addressing engagement issues. People are much more likely to support solutions that they played a part in creating.

As noted in the Sharing Your Results section, when communicating the survey results, you do not immediately move into action planning. What you may wish to do is ask for volunteers to participate on an Action Planning team. This can make the action planning process more manageable in instances where you have a very large team. Still, even if such a team is created, encourage all employees to offer suggestions and comments through a physical or online suggestion box, conversations and/or emails with Action Planning team members, or staff meetings.

Guiding Your Action Team

Your first goal is to work with your team to create actions that will improve the situation.

Prepare yourself

  • Ensure you understand the results and the key messages.

  • Ensure you understand the drivers of engagement and how they are similar to/different from the rest of the organization.

  • Understand in broad terms how they were derived and why you should focus on these to improve engagement, and not just what employees have indicated they are least satisfied with.

  • Understand how to influence behavioural change.

    • Individuals change their own behaviour; forcing someone to do something creates resistance

    • Individuals only change their behaviour when dissatisfied with the status quo

    • Ambiguity encourages people to take no action, to wait and see

    • Research shows that about two-thirds of employees WANT CHANGE

    • The commonly known “fact” that two-thirds of change initiatives fail is actually FALSE (and was never empirically founded)

    • Sometimes an entire group can achieve improvements when:

      • Part of the group changes work behaviour

      • Different parts of the group make different forms of changes

Conduct a separate meeting focused on the survey results

  • Ensure this is viewed as a high priority. Walk through the results. Let employees ask their questions and allow ample time for Q&A.

  • DO NOT attempt to obtain feedback or reaction during this meeting. Asking for feedback at this point distracts them from processing the new information they are getting, and what comments they have to offer will not be based on reflection and consideration but on unprocessed impressions.

  • Giving your team time to consider and discuss the results will significantly improve the quality and focus of the feedback offered later on. Allow employees a few days, then conduct one or more "feedback" sessions, as needed.

Facilitating Action Team sessions

  • Use a positive attitude to focus on improvements

  • List a summary of the action areas already discussed

    • When X happens, it results in Y, and makes workers feel Z

  • Highlight the areas you think deserve the team’s attention first

    • Don’t disregard other areas, but explain why addressing them should wait

    • Ask the team if that logic seems right to them and potentially refocus or schedule further meetings

  • Root cause exercise: Ask a series of WHY questions to create a specific flowchart

  • Form a desired outcome (start fuzzy then get more specific)

    • Then, if possible, list in order what must be accomplished before the desired outcome can be achieved

  • Listen to team members' interpretation of how they see the results and how it reflects their reality

  • Understand the root causes of the key issues (why team members answered the way they did)

  • Establish 1-3 key priorities upon which to focus action

Documenting Action Plans

Using the template provided and working with your Action Team, draft an action plan for each one of your team's key priorities.

Here is a sample Action Plan, for reference.

38KBTalentMap Action Planning Template.docx

Pool Resources and Coordinate Actions

To maximize efficiency, work with HR and other managers to pool resources and coordinate actions based on the action plans created.

Human Resources needs to know the extent to which:

  • Managers are working on the same initiatives

  • Managers’ actions would be more successful with organizational support

  • Outcome(s) for the team depend on others outside the team

It is important to communicate and update all stakeholders. Consider starting ALL meetings with 5 minutes of progress updates.

Even if every team solves its own problems, there are some problems that exist among the teams. Ensure cross-silo dialog, create cross-silo actions, share progress throughout the organization.

Action Plan Implementation

The action planning job is not over once the action plans are developed. The team should still oversee progress and make adjustments where necessary. During regular team meetings, plan time to evaluate the progress you have made on the improvement plans. Have each team member responsible for a task report on the progress made thus far and the progress expected by the next team meeting.

Discuss what is working well and what is not. Figure out how you could make your improvement efforts more effective or efficient. Offer advice, assistance, and encouragement to each other. Apply a little group pressure to team members who are not meeting their commitments.

As part of the action planning process, you decided how and when you would measure the achievement of the objectives you defined. At the times you specified for each objective, apply your measures and discuss the results. If you achieved your objective, it’s time to celebrate as a team! Choose a celebration that will be fun for all of you. Don’t forget to document the lessons learned.

If you did not achieve your objective, figure out why. Discussing the questions below will help.

  • Did we select a valid, accurate measure of achievement?

  • What factors interfered with our plans?

  • Were there interfering factors beyond our control?

  • If not, what could we have done better?

  • Was the objective unrealistic?

  • Do we need to modify the objective?

  • Did team members fulfill their commitments?

  • What lessons did we learn?

Your team will find it useful to document your answers to these questions so you can use this information in planning other improvements.

After you have determined why you did not achieve your objective, discuss your conclusions with the team champion and sponsor and with them decide whether to maintain the objective as is and continue working on it, revise it and try again, or drop it entirely and work on another priority for improvement.

If you decide to retain the objective or revise it, discuss what you can do to ensure you meet your objective this time and prepare another action plan.

Last updated