For employee engagement programmes to be embraced they need to be built in a way which is aligned to the business context, speak directly to respondents about the issues they find important and provide meaningful insights for managers.
When ORC International took on the challenge of transforming the British Airways engagement programme it wasn’t delivering on these goals and only 20% of its widespread workforce was giving its opinion.
Feedback from respondents, managers and leaders, along with falling response rates and a lack of action, led British Airways to seek a new supplier. The timing of the employee engagement initiative also aligned with a large programme of work to help transform the BA customer experience under the headline “To fly, to serve”.
This presented a great opportunity to help BA to understand how they could be more customer centric and align their commitment to colleagues with their commitment to the customer.
We began our exciting BA journey with a complete transformation of the research programme in 2012. Since then we have continued to work with this British flagship brand to help transform understanding of employee engagement, create local conversation and action, and adapt to meet the changing business context.
Going onsite to conduct interviews and focus groups allowed us to truly understand how the survey was viewed within the business and to explore the barriers involved both in respondent completion and managerial action. It also gave us a great opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the complexities and specific challenges of a business employing 40,000 colleagues globally in roles as diverse as pilots, inflight customer experience, ramp, engineering, finance, strategy etc.
The insights gained here were then used to create a fully bespoke questionnaire, which delved into the issues facing BA colleagues across a wide range of roles and used a tone of voice that spoke to respondents, focusing on issues specific to them. A communication plan and an engagement champions program were established to announce the launch of the new, revamped and refreshed Speak Up.
To ensure that the results were going to be acted upon, we worked in partnership with the BA team to create an action planning strategy and developed a manager/leader focused reporting approach.
The new and improved Speak Up survey took place in October 2012 with 58% of colleagues participating – a significant increase on the previous survey.
The feedback from respondents, managers and leaders was positive: “It’s so quick and easy to complete” : “It feels like the survey has been fully built for us”.
Reports were designed to fit with the now strong survey brand, and incorporated a wide range of statistical analysis techniques along with infographics to help bring the results to life. The BA board and each of the 11 distinct business areas received their own insight presentation and these were delivered and facilitated by our employee engagement insight specialists.
We’re now about to embark on our 4th Speak Up survey. Since 2012 we’ve been looking at evolution rather than revolution, with minimal changes to a questionnaire which held up well under rigorous post-survey scrutiny and statistical testing. The reporting elements were developed further to meet the needs of more familiar managers and leaders and we are now working with the business to understand the link between engagement and the customer experience as well as building a financial business case for engagement.