As the co-founders of Best Employers Eastern Region, employee engagement is practically our middle name. That doesn’t mean we can relax though – we’ve been putting our money where our mouth is and taking part ourselves since 2012. We’d like to tell you about how we run our survey (including some innovative incentives), the all-important results, and how we’re using them to improve engagement across our organisation.
What’s Best Employers?
Based around an employee engagement survey, Best Employers helps organisations in the eastern region develop forward-thinking and inclusive workplaces. The survey is just the beginning though. Becoming part of Best Employers also gives you access to a community of forward-thinking organisations that believe success can only be achieved through their people.
How did we get people to fill in our survey?
One of the biggest challenges with employee engagement surveys can be getting people to take the time to give you their thoughts in the first place. Over the years, we’ve developed some pretty unusual ways to encourage ours to do just that. And this year was no different.
First of all, we offered to donate £5 to our charity partners – Illuminate, Trust Links, MAP and the Green Light Trust – for every person who completed the survey in the first week it was open (it ran for three weeks from 22 May to 9 June). We told people it would take them around 15 minutes to do, and encouraged them to take time out for that with some chocolate-based bribery in the form of a Time Out bar.
It worked too – 90% of our people took part (which puts us in the top 25% of organisations for response rates), with over 75% doing it in the first week it launched. And we raised £310 for our charities.
What happened next?
The survey asked our people to rate Pure across various factors related to organisational success. After it closed, we got a small group of employees together. It was their job to review and analyse the data, and identify trends and themes that will help us shape the way we do things. We then shared this information across Pure. This included running roadshows in all our locations, where members of the group explained the results and asked for comments and ideas.
The next step was to find volunteers from all parts of Pure to take the results, and those ideas and comments, and come up with concrete ways to make improvements. ‘The Best Employers’ results have given us a strong set of data to work with and create actions from,’ says Ben Farrow, our Operations Director. ‘This survey is a huge part of our engagement strategy. Once again it’s helped us really understand the thoughts and feelings of the most important part of our business – the people who work in it every day.’
What did we learn?
One of the key things we learned is that our people believe Pure cares about their wellbeing. But they sometimes find it challenging to manage their own wellbeing outside of work. For this reason we made sure we used the roadshows to talk about how they can get the most out of our employee assistance programme (which offers help on all aspects of wellbeing, both at home and at work). We also reminded people about our mental health first aiders (employees trained to offer help to anyone struggling with mental health issues) and the importance of having someone to talk to.
When it comes to the survey itself, we also learned the importance of planning, timelines, incentives and communication. Checking we achieved each of our milestones was really important too – in fact, we believe that’s one of reasons we got such a high response rate.
What happens next?
We’re working our way through the feedback and the suggestions we got. And our learning and development team are collaborating with Pure Voice (our employee forum) to pinpoint specific areas where we can do better.
We’re also launching a new HR platform which will allow us to carry out regular ‘pulse’ surveys. We’ll use these to collect quick, focused feedback from our people on specific topics or issues.
Any words of advice for organisations thinking about taking part in Best Employers?
Ben has four pearls of wisdom to share with organisations considering Best Employers.
- Don’t be scared – ‘Results are often better than you think they’ll be. And understanding how people feel, and why, is critical to the success of your business.’
- Planning is vital – ‘To get good response rates, you’ll need to spend some time planning the survey and the timelines. Work backwards from when you want to get the results, and make sure you have enough time to customise the survey, and prepare the launch campaign and comms.’
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – ‘It’s vital you tell your employees the results of the survey, good or bad.’
- Take action – ‘You can’t sit back and do nothing once you’ve got your results. Work on an action plan to address issues and themes, and involve lots of people from across your organisation to make sure improvements happen.’
Ready to find out more?
Head to the Best Employers website for more stories and information about this year’s programme.