Assessing the situation in 2019
In 2019, the organisation ran an employee engagement survey, aiming to:
- Get a deep understanding of how staff felt about working in the organisation
- Ensure staff felt confident that the organisation would act upon the survey results
- Demonstrate to trustees where the organisation was at, when new leadership was introduced
The leadership were anecdotally aware of some of the challenges faced by staff, but it’s hard to have an accurate picture without survey results as evidence. The 2019 survey enabled the organisation to understand and evidence the feeling amongst staff.
“Having worked with Agenda in my previous role at Jewish Care, and making a habit of doing so, it was very easy to choose to work with them again in this role.” – Neil Taylor
Creating an appetite for providing feedback
When getting the survey programme moving, it was important for the organisation to make sure that people understood that their feedback was confidential, and that action was going to be taken.
In 2019 this was difficult because it was the first time that staff had been comprehensively surveyed, and there was a culture of distrust.
Working with Agenda, the organisation was able to put measures in place to protect the confidentiality of staff feedback and ensure that the results were independently analysed.
Consistent communications through multiple channels were used to reassure staff of confidentiality and encourage participation.
Implementing focused actions
Following the 2019 survey, the organisation created a clear action plan, identifying areas for improvement. The areas to address were primarily driven by a lack of organisational values, consistency, and trust.
Unfortunately, the survey revealed that there were instances of bullying in the organisation. When looking at external benchmarking statistics, the levels of bullying weren’t in excess compared with other similar organisations, but it was still a key focus for the organisation.
Before beginning the action planning process, the organisation explored what the results really meant by talking to people. This uncovered more detail on the nature of the incidents and how staff felt.
“We had an idea that this was happening, but the survey results evidenced it. The survey validated the anecdotal experiences that people were having.” – Neil Taylor
As a result, part of the action plan was to create a code of conduct for the relationship between staff and families – a mutual obligation which addressed levels of bullying.
The action plan enabled the organisation to:
- focus on key areas of activity and make improvements
- demonstrate to trustees that these are important issues
- show staff that actions are being taken to address issues that impact them day-to-day
- demonstrate to staff that they are listened to and cared for
What I value about working with Agenda for our surveys is the focus on staff engagement and how they use the questioning to drive a real understanding of staff engagement. It’s easy to work with the team at Agenda. It’s always very collaborative, and the exploratory approach to figuring out what works best for the organisation has been greatly appreciated. When we asked to reframe the questions in the survey to adapt to the social care context, we had the flexibility to do so. The real treasure of working with Agenda is the external benchmarking insight. Seeing the survey results in comparison to your counterparts is a real strength.
Measuring the impact in 2022
The survey in 2022 demonstrated the progress that had been made since 2019. Overall staff engagement levels improved significantly between the 2019 survey and the 2022 survey.
“Staff engagement is absolutely the key indicator of how staff connect to the organisation, their leaders, their managers, and their peers. The level of staff engagement is a key driver of performance, quality, and the relationship staff have with the people they support.” – Neil Taylor
Within this timeframe, the organisation witnessed:
- reduction in sickness absence and turnover, attributed to the work done on staff engagement and leading with values
- increase in an appetite for providing feedback, evidenced by higher survey response rates
In 2022, the organisation won Agenda’s Employee Engagement Award, which is awarded to Agenda clients that achieve over 80% engagement and over 50% response rate.
“We were chuffed with the significant progress, but we didn’t come away from the 2022 survey being complacent. There is more work to be done and another action plan was established.” – Neil Taylor
Going forward, the organisation is now committed to regularly listening to staff and staying in touch with the needs of staff and the issues faced.
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