Charity Purley Park Trust, which employs 150 staff and provides care services to people with learning difficulties via eight care homes and a domiciliary agency, has moved away from using a staff satisfaction survey to monitor and measure employee engagement.
Larry Grady, chief executive, says: “They take forever to put together, send out and then get the responses back. The response rate was relatively disappointing, about 50%, so even when [we] were analysing the responses there was a nagging sense at the back of [our] mind of ‘is this representative?””
In March 2017, the Purley Park Trust moved to an employee survey programme, provided by Engagement Multiplier. The online programme is run on a more frequent basis than the original staff surveys, and results are returned quickly. “It has made it much easier to get [employees] involved,” explains Grady. “The fact it’s every 90 days and just takes five to 10 minutes to do makes it much more instant. The survey is open for a fortnight, the results come to managers, who then formulate an instant action plan: ‘we need to go out and do x, y or z’.”
Following the first assessment the organisation found that a couple of teams that were geographically further away appeared to be less engaged. “So we came up with a plan that was, essentially, simply to go out and spend some time with them,” says Grady. “By the time we did the second survey, we could see their scores were much higher and we were on the right track.”
The participation rate across the organisation is now around 70%, but the aim to increase this further, says Grady. “We have just done our third survey and for the first time included customised questions,” he says. “Staff can also now put forward their own ideas and suggestions for the trust directly to me. Ironically, what we’re finding is that, by using data more effectively and smarter, it’s helping managers to become less reliant on, and less tied to, data. They have more time to go out and speak to people, to understand them, to thank them and to show they are deserving of recognition.
“The real value of data, to my mind, is that it can prompt the right conversation. But it should never be replacing the conversation; it needs to be the story behind the conversation.”