The Leprosy Mission conducted a global engagement survey to provide the opportunity for staff to share their experiences of working with the organisation. The survey also enabled the organisation to meet strategic targets, gain deeper insight into the factors that impact staff engagement at a global and individual country level and increase awareness of the importance of staff engagement globally throughout the whole federation of organisations.
Working with Agenda Consulting, The Leprosy Mission ran a pulse survey including 15 statements questions selected from Agenda’s database of questions.
We interviewed Jane Willcocks and Cindy Norfor, Global HR Advisors at The Leprosy Mission about the challenges and accomplishments involved in running the global engagement survey.
Why did you decide to conduct an engagement survey?
“Part of our new global strategy stresses the importance of our staff, and so in 2019 we decided to conduct a global staff engagement survey to provide the opportunity for staff to share their experiences of working with The Leprosy Mission.
We value the opinions of our staff. We are invested in our staff and want to improve our levels of staff engagement by starting to measure this more formally.”
What were your areas of focus in your survey?
“We wanted to gather deeper insight into overall levels of engagement at the global level as well as at the country level. We also wanted to find out more about variations in levels of engagement between different demographic groups such as male and female staff.
As this survey would provide us with a baseline, we looked at factors that would encourage engagement such as interpersonal relationships, communication, line management, trust, leadership, inclusion, values and culture, well-being and reward.
We also included elements which could be motivators such as learning and development, meaningfulness of work and purpose.”
Were there any obstacles for you to overcome throughout the survey process?
“Agenda provided a database of over 100 statements that we narrowed down to 15. We wanted to include different perspectives in forming the statements and agreeing on the process, so a working group with representatives from different countries was formed.
Another challenge was getting staff from different countries to take part in the survey, and all in the same 2-3 weeks of the year. We set a goal of achieving a 70% response rate from each country which we later understood would be challenging for a first survey.”
“We had to sell the idea of why staff engagement was important to The Leprosy Mission, what the value was for staff to take part, and what we hoped to achieve by doing the survey.”
– Jane Willcocks, Global HR Advisor, The Leprosy Mission
What initiatives did you take to increase survey response rates?
“We held two global webinars to communicate to staff the purpose behind the survey. We also used internal email, posters, 1:1 conversations with Country Leaders, global Board meetings and our intranet system to effectively communicate about the global survey.
Key HR focal points in each country attended a HR workshop where we invited several guest speakers to speak on the topic of staff engagement, including Catherine Wearden, Senior Consultant at Agenda Consulting. They were also kept updated with new information along the journey so that they could share the same with their senior leaders and teams.
In what ways did you have to adapt your survey approach to the different countries?
“English is not the first language for many countries we work in so we had to consider how the survey would be translated. In some countries, access to the internet or to a computer is not available to all staff. Some staff are illiterate and needed help with completing the survey.
Decisions needed to be made around having paper copies, the key languages to be made available online, and who would administrate the survey in each country.
We also had to try to help people understand the language used in the questions – concepts such as ‘staff engagement’ are not easily translatable in some countries.”
How are you planning to take action with your survey results?
“We held a global webinar to share the results, encouraging each country to share their individual results with their teams and take in feedback.
Each country was encouraged to discuss the results with their boards, senior leaders and staff, as well as volunteers in some cases. We will be celebrating areas where we’ve fared well, identifying priority areas which are of concern and planning initiatives to increase engagement.
Later in 2020 we shall hold another global webinar where countries will be asked to share the progress they’ve made, what initiatives they’ve put into place as a result of the survey, and to take time to listen and learn from what’s happening in other countries.
At the global level we’ve got 2 KPIs to help us measure staff engagement. One is around response rates to the survey, and one is around improving engagement levels over time.
We are also offering 1:1 follow ups with Country Leaders to help them develop action plans and to take the next steps in improving staff engagement in their individual organisations.”