Gathering feedback from your drivers and other employees in your organization is becoming the norm within the trucking industry. Organizations are using this data to make improvements just as they use other metrics, such as safety and performance data. Whether you gather workforce intelligence on your own or use a 3rd party, your job is not done once your people have filled out a survey. In fact, that’s where your work begins! Here are five important steps you should take post-survey in order to get the best return on your survey investment:
When you analyze your employee data, it’s possible to come away with a list a mile long of possible improvements or interventions. If you try to attack them all, you’ll likely accomplish none. I recommend choosing one to three opportunities for improvement to focus on. How do you choose? Ask yourself and your team the following questions:
• Which opportunities for improvement align with our organizational goals for the year?
• Which opportunities will give us the best return on our efforts?
• Which opportunities will impact employee satisfaction and morale the most?
• Which opportunities are we fully committed to impacting?
Create action plans
Once you’ve prioritized your initiatives down to the top few that you and your team are committed to, it’s time to create an action plan for each. Creating action plans are beneficial because they provide clarity, reduce workplace stressors, increase work performance, and are motivational. I recommend writing action plans around the idea of SMART goals, that is, checking in as you’re creating action plans to make sure what you have is Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-based. There are templates available online to assist you in creating a SMART action plan for each of your opportunities. Strategic Programs also provides an action planning tool and resources to help you through the process of creating SMART goals.
Communicate survey results to employees
If your employees give you their feedback and then hear nothing afterwards as far as follow-up, they’ll be unlikely to give their feedback again and you may lose some trust and commitment. It’s crucial that you communicate your appreciation for their time and opinions, as well as some level of “what’s next” information based on the survey results. The amount of information you communicate regarding next steps is up to you.
Now that we know why post-survey communication is so important, there are a few things you can decide at any point in the process that will make communication post-survey smooth and efficient:
Determine who will write and who will send out the post-survey communication
Decide how much information you’ll share regarding next steps
Set a timeline for sending out communication. As soon as possible after data is collected is best.
Choose a forum for sending out the feedback. (Newsletter, memo, town hall meeting, etc.)
Cascade the data throughout the organization
Again, the amount of data you share and the transparency of the information are up to the discretion of your organization’s leadership. With that said, I highly encourage you to share as much as you feel comfortable sharing, so that everyone in management and leadership is on the same page with your goals and action plans. As with the communication to employees, determine a process for cascading the information to management. Here are a few suggestions of ways to share the post-survey info with your teams:
• What is going well?
• What is not going well and is important and actionable?
• What is not going well that we aren’t taking action on right now?
• Next steps
• What has improved?
• What has fallen?
• What has stayed about the same?
• Next steps
• What can we leverage?
• What do we need more information on?
• What can we improve?
• Next steps
Track your progress
You have the will and the way, now what? During the creation of your action plans, you should have assigned accountability for seeing the plans through. I also encourage you to assign someone to check in on the status of all of the action plans, to help hold people accountable. This can be someone internally, or a partner outside your organization who you trust to check in and hold people accountable. As a consultant, I am frequently asked to partner with clients on accountability after reporting survey results and analysis or facilitating action planning sessions. One of the best motivators for sticking to your plans is to re-survey your employees in 12-18 months, to see where movement has occurred based on your plans and initiatives.
If you would like to hear more on this subject, I’ll be facilitating a workshop at the TCA’s upcoming Recruiting and Retention convention in Nashville, TN February 5th & 6th, 2015. I’ll be speaking in conjunction with a carrier member and sharing best practices from organizations I’ve worked with who have had great success in this area.