Using Pulse Surveys to Engage Your Team: Team Follow-Up (web version)
Team pulse surveys are short, easy-to-complete sets of questions sent electronically on a regular basis to do a "pulse check" of employees in areas such as engagement, satisfaction, relationships, and the work environment. They are useful for getting feedback from your team members, monitoring team effectiveness, and identifying opportunities for improvement.
This eighth job aid in the series focuses on how to follow-up on team pulse survey results.
Importance of follow-up
Managing team expectations
Using pulse surveys to check in with your team and then following up on what you hear can contribute to engagement. However, listening but not following up on opportunities for improvement can have the opposite effect. The status quo gets reinforced and the team may become disengaged.
- Pulse surveys can measure workplace factors like engagement and the results point to opportunities for improvement.
- Pulse surveys require a commitment to follow-up on input from team members.
- While an immediate response may not be necessary (or possible) after every pulse survey, team expectations can build over time.
- Team members want to discuss results and be involved in follow-up planning.
- The absence of follow-up can jeopardize trust and engagement.
Follow-up planning pathway
Follow this seven-part pathway as a team to guide your team's follow-up plan:
- Identify opportunities for improvement
- Confirm during team meetings
- What opportunities do the results suggest?
- Prioritize identified opportunities
- Which of these opportunities, if any, warrant follow-up?
- Which are urgent? Which require less attention?
- Compile suggestions for follow-up activities
- Seek input of team members.
- Which activities may benefit the team?
- Prioritize suggested follow-up activities
- Prioritize activities based on urgency and potential positive effects.
- Consider implementation needs
- What human or financial resources are needed for each activity? Which other stakeholders should be involved?
- Timeline for each activity?
- Create and implement a follow-up plan
- Convert opportunities, activities, implementation needs and due dates into objectives.
- Promptly launch and communicate a follow-up plan.
- Measure and communicate progress
- Measure progress on activities, including using ongoing pulse surveys.
- Share progress with the team and adjust follow-up plan as needed.
Follow-up decision matrix
Use the traditional Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize team suggestions for improving the work experience based on impact and urgency:
||Activities to pursue right away that can make a positive difference
||Activities to be implemented over time
||Possible "easy win" activities that show early progress and commitment
||Activities with lower priority, or to consider abandoning
Ask yourself these questions when considering follow-up priorities:
- Impacts: Which activities could have a positive impact on the team's success?
- Priorities: Which activities demand priority attention, and which are less urgent?
- Stakeholders: Which stakeholders need to be involved in pursuing opportunities? How do you involve as many as possible in follow-up planning?
- Causality: Do you understand the reasons behind your team's answers? Are they responding to the correct issue?
- Precedents: What activities are other teams successfully pursuing that could be tried?
- Validation: Is the survey response rate adequate to draw wider conclusions from the responses? Do you need to dig deeper to validate a response prior to following up?
Setting SMART objectives
When developing the specific objectives for your follow-up plan, ensure that each is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART):
Specific – A clear statement of what is expected
Measurable – In terms of quality, quantity, cost and time
Attainable – Must be realistic, achievable and challenging
Relevant – Must relate to roles within the workplace
Time-bound – Must be a time limit on the expected result
For more information
Examples of SMART follow-up objectives to engage your team
- During the next fiscal year, invite the assistant deputy minister to join your monthly branch meeting to discuss priorities and answer questions, to build your organizational and strategic awareness.
- Schedule one hour every two weeks for your team to take an online course in a priority learning area, including a virtual meeting to discuss how to apply what you have learned.
- Over a six-month period, set up monthly 30-minute coffee chats with colleagues from other business lines to network and explore collaboration opportunities.
- Adopt a no-meeting Wednesdays policy to support increased personal productivity.
- Develop a team charter, over a period of four weeks, to validate your mission and vision, and to establish effective processes for communication, approvals, priority setting, and mutual support.
- Devote a portion of your monthly branch meetings to recognizing team and individual accomplishments.
Guidance on follow-up planning
Consider this advice when following up on survey results:
Involve leaders to show commitment; they alone can effect positive change in many areas.
Involve team members at all levels in setting priorities and follow-up planning.
Choose two or three top priorities for follow-up; concentrate efforts to produce faster results.
Stakeholders can offer personal support and help the team maintain focus.
Clarify the follow-up planning process to avoid any misunderstandings about inaction.
Be open about follow-up options over which there is no control, or that are impossible.
Take immediate steps where possible and move quickly to address other challenges; embrace ambitious timelines.
Develop a concrete plan to address longer-term follow-up, but emphasize responsiveness over creating the perfect plan.
Be accountable for pursuing follow-up plans and measuring progress, including with pulse surveys.
Communicate progress to the team and admit challenges or delays.
This series of ten job aids explains how to design and administer pulse surveys to support team engagement, positivity, and productivity in the workplace. Each job aid offers background information and covers the key steps in the process of developing team pulse surveys.