How do you “take action” after collecting feedback from your employees?

The answer lies in your Action Plan, a specific set of steps you strategically plan based on your employee engagement survey findings. The activities in your plan are aligned with improving the employee experience and your business goals.

Action Plans help you move forward so that you can use the data you’ve collected to improve the employee experience in your organization. Ultimately, your Action Plan helps you to directly impact your company’s bottom line.

You can think of your Action Plan as your response to your employees. This shows them that their voice has been heard. Examples include leadership training, new processes related to onboarding, executive coaching, new or evolved recognition/appreciation programs or upgraded technology, just to name a few areas that could be a part of the plan.

Here are a 7 tips to follow in order to foster accountability during this process.

Tip #1: Set clear expectations

[clickToTweet tweet=”Everybody is responsible for engagement in an organization.” quote=”Everybody is responsible for engagement in an organization.”]

You’ve made it this far and intentionally collected feedback that can help improve company culture, the employee experience, and ultimately the bottom-line. But it’s not just HR that is responsible for the Action Plan. Everybody is responsible for engagement and as such, everybody should have a role in implementing change as a result of your employee survey.

One of the most critical steps to foster accountability is to face potential discomfort. This is a natural reaction you may feel during the process of making expectations and responsibilities as clear as possible, explains Lee Ellis, author of Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability.

Ellis is a seasoned presenter and human performance expert who also teaches individuals and organizations leadership principles and strategic best practices for how to act with courage as a leader. “For accountability, at minimum your people should have a very clear picture of what you want to happen,” he adds.

Your Action Plan should define an owner for each item and indicate all the other individuals, teams or departments who should be involved. Who is the lead and who will hold them accountable? In other words, your Action Plan should be created in a way where people are committed to the process. This process is no different than any other process within your organization.

What are individuals’ specific objectives or goal(s) and why? What are they going to do to achieve that outcome and by when? And, just as important, how do they know what success looks like?

Tip #2: Use coaching to support the process

Coaching supports accountability and it helps to set necessary standards with your people. It also fosters an environment where they can improve their skills and discover new ones.

If you’re able, provide your leaders the coaching necessary to implement the Action Plan and ultimately, to follow up on your decided process. “You want to help them be courageous and not let things slide,” says Ellis. At that point you can also collaborate, continue with coaching, and find other resources to help equip your leaders with the skills necessary to support the Action Plan.

During any process that involves change, people can feel a mix of emotions including fear, anger, pride, distrust, shame, or guilt. “These are natural first responses that drive us toward the impulse to dominate or withdraw. Neither response works in the long run,” explains Ellis.

“The goal is to learn to collaborate by engaging with others to work through issues with courage, confidence, humility, and respect.”

Tip #3: Proactively communicate

[clickToTweet tweet=”Communication can make or break accountability.” quote=”Communication can make or break accountability.”]

Communication can make or break accountability. Communication can also determine the success of the Action Plan itself. This goes far beyond announcing the results of your survey. Action Plan communication acknowledges and thanks the employees for providing their feedback, shares next steps including a timeline, and also captures why employees should care.

“Connect with people at a heart level so they feel valued. Evidence continues to grow that a team or business is more productive when their leaders are connected with them in positive ways,” he says.

Whether it be a dashboard for leadership, status updates for employees, and/or announcements of ongoing change, be sure to have a plan with all your internal communications. Hone your message as needed and make sure you choose a medium that’s embraced by your people.

Tip #4: Don’t let small setbacks derail your initiative

One of the issues HR leaders may run into while setting and implementing an Action Plan is “pushback” from other company leaders. Often this pushback centers around resources or timelines. This can make holding them accountable a bit more challenging.

First, don’t be thrown off course by those who seem to be challenging the process. You can remind them of the agreed to desired outcomes from the beginning of the process, as well as the advantages that an improved employee experience can bring to them and the company. Always keep in mind what matters most to them—and show how the Action Plan supports these same priorities, too.

If the pushback is regarding the actual findings, that’s where you have your Talmetrix Solutions Consultant to provide support—and to help explain how the data presents an opportunity for your organization. Once again, it may be beneficial to frame your conversation around the entire employee experience, as well as how it ties to financial performance. Either way, your Solutions Consultants can help you with those critical conversations.

Tip #5: Carve out time for check-ins

It’s easy for leaders to assume that improvement of the employee experience will just happen once the Action Plan is put into place. Be sure to gain alignment around the idea that a dynamic organization never stops changing and evolving. That’s part of why planned check-ins and status updates are critical for accountability during the entire process.

All those involved will have other competing priorities, so make sure there is a way to plan ahead for the time it will take to support change. “It’s really about getting the work done and making sure it gets done. That’s what responsibility and accountability is,” says Ellis. “That’s the most important thing a leader can do is make sure that things are getting done.”

The way that’s done is showing priority by reserving time for the project (including on their own calendar), delegating, assigning resources and support, clarifying expectations, and re-clarifying those over time.  

Tip #6: Lead by example

[clickToTweet tweet=”To hold other people accountable, one of the first things any leader has to do is also hold themselves accountable.” quote=”To hold other people accountable, one of the first things any leader has to do is also hold themselves accountable.”] To hold other people accountable, one of the first things any leader has to do is also hold themselves accountable. “They have to own it themselves and they have to get over their fear that they’re not perfect, and people will see them as being flawed. Leaders have to get over that fear—and just be courageously vulnerable, and do the very best they can in the terms of character, courage and commitment,” says Ellis.

“That mentality in the leader is so important, else wise they’ll be afraid to hold others accountable, because they don’t want to be held accountable.” Authentic leaders are able to embrace that mindset shift, also seeing how accountability isn’t a negative, it’s a positive value.

Tip #7: Celebrate the wins

When goals or objectives from your Action Plan are met, this is where you can celebrate the wins and milestones your team achieved. “As a leader, don’t be afraid or reluctant to celebrate. It’s the best way to bring closure to achieving a goal,” adds Ellis. “It meets our natural desire to feel good about our work and our achievements.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s helpful to compare the process of improving the employee experience to that of improving the customer experience” quote=”It’s helpful to compare the process of improving the employee experience to that of improving the customer experience.”]It’s helpful to compare the process of improving the employee experience to the process of improving the customer experience.

Just like working to improve the experience for the customer, the work is never “done; there’s always more you can do to fine-tune and improve how you are supporting employees. That is another reason why celebrating even small accomplishments during the journey can help to foster the right attitude along the way.

Make Measuring the Employee Experience Effortless

Talmetrix’s platform improves business outcomes for talent-focused organizations by capturing workforce feedback and linking it with your business metrics. These insights are used to improve your entire employee experience—as well as factors including retention, performance, productivity and culture.

Talmetrix‘s platform is easy to implement and configurable to fit an organization’s culture. With an expert Solutions Consultant, we partner with you to guide you on setting clear goals and to tailor your feedback campaign to meet your needs. Together, we help you determine the best “next steps” forward with implementation.

Contact us today to learn more about powerful workforce insights that can help you improve your business outcomes and processes. And don’t forget! You have until the end of this month to take advantage of our free ROI calculator. Contact us today for your free trial.

About Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is the author of Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability. He is a seasoned presenter, human performance expert, and travels the country sharing his harrowing account of how his 5-year experience as a POW in Vietnam helped shape his ability to lead his comrades and return home with honor. Ellis’ recurring themes highlight the importance of character, courage, communication, and culture for ensuring cohesive teamwork and ultimate success. Learn more at http://www.leadingwithhonor.com/

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