Articles on: Action Planning

3 Post-Survey Action Planning Tactics

Building Better Buy-in from the Bottom Up

There’s no universal solution when it comes to post-survey action planning. Essentially tactics fall into three distinct categories. Many organizations have success mixing methods. Choosing the right approach depends on your organization’s corporate culture, leadership style, the abilities of your different managers and a compendium of other circumstances.

Strategic Breakthrough
Imagine yourself (read CEO) and your fellow gardeners (executive team) surveying the vegetable patch you’ve worked so hard to grow (the organization). You’ve been monitoring soil conditions, plant growth, where the sun falls and for how long from your different vantage points and decide it’s time for radical layout changes. The expectation is a better yield. Question is, what do you pull, leave or move?

The strategic breakthrough approach to post-survey action planning lies expressly with your organization’s top leaders, usually when a significant organizational transformation is in the wings. A sophisticated analysis of employee survey data identifies critical strategies likely to yield the greatest employee engagement impact on performance. Strategic breakthrough action planning serves as the catalyst for change.

Top Down
This time imagine yourself (again read CEO) with a watering can in hand standing above a garden plant (your organization). As you tip the can water cascades across the top leaves and branches (executive/senior management and their divisions). Droplets continue to trickle…down the stem of the plant…to other branches… blending one into the next (lower level management/departments) eventually reaching the roots (your front line).

Essentially top-down post-survey action planning originates from the perspective of senior leadership but encompasses participation from your entire organization. Action plans align with high-level strategic goals. Each level of the organization thereafter responds to the dribble-down from preceding management ranks, fine-tuning their own workgroup employee engagement action plans within the context of the broader organizational picture. Each decision and action trickles into the next, and so on.

Bottom Up
This time imagine placing a hose at the base of a tree. Water absorbs at the roots climbs up the trunk and onward to the tree top.

In the bottom-up approach, post-survey action planning originates from the front lines or grassroots of your organization – where employees interact with customers. Survey action plans are tailored to fit employee engagement touchpoints specific to each workgroup, department, and division, feeding across and up your organization.


Communicate at every turn so employees know they’ve been heard, understand their input is driving change and see concrete evidence of that input leading to positive results.

Make it clear your leadership team is committing resources and personal effort to see actionable items through to fruition
Provide details about the selected actions, resources, and timelines
Issue updates and outcomes that link back to survey results; employees need to see this connection to become more engaged
Showcase success stories: invite workgroup managers or designates to share their employee engagement survey initiatives at department meetings, in employee newsletter articles, intranet posts, and other forums. This small bit of fanfare can have a big impact, “as a powerful way to recognize staff and build a culture of improvement.”

Updated on: 11/18/2022

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