Case Study

Embedding a culture of feedback

International Potato Centre (CIP)

The International Potato Center (CIP) is a CGIAR research centre delivering innovative science-based solutions to enhance access to affordable, nutritious food.

Driving engagement higher during a process of change

CIP partnered with Agenda on their employee engagement surveys in 2016 and 2021. Agenda were chosen as an external partner who could manage the confidentiality of the data gathered and because of their strong track record in working with similar International Organisations.

CIP’s survey results were very strong and reflected important changes to the organisation’s culture.

CIP’s 2016 employee engagement survey

CIP ran their first employee engagement survey with Agenda Consulting in 2016. The results led to:

  • A realisation that employee engagement levels were high in comparison with International Organisation benchmarks
  • Clear identification of the organisation’s key drivers of engagement
  • Greater awareness amongst leaders that their actions directly impact employee engagement
  • A recognition that staff development and learning was a low spot and the development of a programme of work to address this

Using the Agenda survey technology platform, CIP were able to break down their results by department and country, enabling them to identify issues that are most relevant for particular groups. Work was conducted with individual country programmes to recognise their priority issues and support their work on this. As Carla Lazarte CIP’s HR Director commented: ‘awareness triggers the action’.

Driving engagement through change

In 2020, CIP faced a tough funding environment, and had to make a substantial number of redundancies. The organisation’s approach included:

  • Taking time to get the process right
  • Senior leaders speaking with all leavers individually
  • Training managers to handle the conversations needed
  • Running celebratory ‘goodbye’ events for all those leaving

The Agenda team are good listeners, client oriented and very experienced in their field. Their role in supporting our engagement surveys is key to and supporting the organisational change that we are going through.

CIP’s 2021 employee engagement survey

The 2021 survey results showed further improvement over 2016 in most areas and reflected the positive cultural change at CIP. Taking the results forward is involving:

  • Significant and effective use of infographics to communicate the results with managers and staff
  • Disaggregating results and supporting country programmes with individual action plans based on their priority issues
  • Addressing the challenge of burnout amongst many staff
  • Using staff feedback to evidence strategic decisions and support initiatives that the organisation wants to take forward

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