5 Ways to Drive Real Results: Action Planning

A very common (and legitimate) complaint about employee surveys from the perspective of employees is the lack of action taken once the survey is over. Most of the time and energy is spent building the survey, drumming up participation, and then studying the results. Then, a full inbox, new product launches, technology changes, etc. push the survey action plan to the backburner and employees wonder what all the fuss was about—and why not much happened. We used data and analytics from the survey action-planning process of numerous respected organizations (our clients!) to uncover how to get the greatest positive impact on the work environment and business outcomes (even validated here by a leading analyst). Give the following tips a try! If you’re still thirsting for more information, take a listen to our “Action Planning with Impact” webinar.

Make the survey action-planning process about the actual business results – not just survey results: Analytics should not be about slicing and dicing survey data, but should be about tying survey data directly to business outcomes that managers care about (e.g., sales, productivity, turnover, customer service). SMD’s clients take advantage of the company’s groundbreaking survey technology that shows leaders exactly what to work on from their employee survey to drive business results and then serves up great action steps that can be taken to drive those results.

Bring the horse directly to water: Nearly 100 percent of the most impactful action plans contained initiatives and activities that were centered around the key business drivers identified by SMD’s analytics. Instead of leaders going in numerous directions chasing low scoring items, the effective leaders stuck to prioritization based on business impact—and it worked. This is the power of scalable analytics—using data to drive local actions in the workplace.

Take the time to localize & get employee input: Our analysis found that nearly three-quarters of the leaders who had great gains on business results and the work environment had tweaked those recommendations and added unique action items after reviewing the results with their employees.

Add accountability to the action-planning process: Just submitting a plan does not drive accountability for the quality of the plan. SMD’s clients use the platform’s capability that allows a leader to request their boss to review their action plan, give feedback and ultimately sign off on the action plan. In SMD’s analysis, nearly two-thirds of the leaders who saw significant gains in business results had also gotten feedback and sign-off directly from their manager.

Don’t leave it on a shelf: One final step in SMD’s analysis that helped leaders take action planning even further was using analytics to uncover the specific actions that managers implemented that had the greatest impact on business results and improving the work environment. The action-planning recommendations/tips cover the gamut of the environment and are powerful, but it’s important to remember that they are not a generic list of silver bullets because you need to figure out your unique business drivers first. Making analytics practical, scalable and actionable for all leaders is what takes the employee survey from a once-in-a-while HR exercise to a business driver that creates the right action across your organization (Plus, ICYMI, we now have artificial intelligence-enabled action planning in our cloud-based tool to make it as easy as a click of a button.).

For more, read our “5 Keys to Action Planning that Drive Real Results” white paper.