Influencing with Data: Driving Executive Buy-in for Engagement Initiatives

You have it down to a T: launch your annual engagement survey, analyze the results, and decide on the engagement initiatives you want to pursue. But when you present your recommended programs to leadership, they hesitate. They know you have a million other things to do — why should you revamp new hire onboarding or lead new manager trainings because of engagement survey results?

We’ve partnered with many HR leaders who are experienced in developing and managing people programs, but they report that influencing executives is still a challenge. We’ve discovered that making engagement data meaningful is the best way to drive buy-in for engagement initiatives. We’ve compiled best practices to effectively convey your insights to the rest of your leadership team and inspire real results. 

Remind leaders why they run engagement surveys

Engagement surveys take time and effort to manage. They also include detailed insights on how each team, office, and department feel about leadership and other important domains. Remind leaders that you don’t run surveys just to sit on the learnings; in fact, acting on them is the most important thing you can do to show employees that their voice matters. With employees having more mobility than ever before, it’s crucial to understand what is important to your workforce, and how to improve these key areas. By presenting a compelling narrative on what’s happening in your market and organization — and tying these trends to the importance of retaining great people — leadership will be much more likely to support your engagement initiatives.

…and then tell a story with benchmark data

While no one can perfectly predict the future, you’re well-equipped to forecast trends with your current engagement results and historic benchmark data. Ask your team: “Based on these data trends, what do you think would happen if we did nothing?” Chances are, if your engagement score is falling and you don’t take any action, engagement will continue to plummet. And this will impact your business’s bottom line. By crafting a story around your key metrics and sharing thought-provoking questions, leaders are more likely to listen — and act.

Interested in viewing our global benchmarks or importing historical benchmark data into Reflektive? Click here to learn more.

Own your survey comments

Many of the companies we partner with elicit hundreds or even thousands of comments from their engagement surveys. With all of this unstructured data, many HR leaders don’t know where to start. Fortunately, Reflektive’s new Comments Insights functionality enables you to identify more than 25 engagement themes, see which themes have the most comments, and drill down into the sentiment of those comments. With this approach, you can quickly and easily see what matters most to your employees — and how your company is performing in these crucial domains.

By presenting a comprehensive view of your engagement insights, including learnings from survey questions and comments, you can better position yourself as the subject matter expert on all things engagement and influence more effectively.

Prioritize one or two wildly important goals

If you’ve uncovered a lot of engagement hotspots, you probably want to launch many initiatives to tackle them. But listing out all of the things you want to do is a surefire way to drive resistance from the rest of the leadership team. Instead, focus on one or two wildly important goals (WIGs), per The 4 Disciplines of Execution, that will have the biggest impact on employee engagement. To help you prioritize, we recommend that you consider one or two initiatives that will:

  • Boost engagement for the greatest number of employees
  • Address what employees care most about
  • Move employees with a neutral sentiment to a positive sentiment (instead of focusing on detractors)
  • Encourage employees to recommend your company as a great place to work (i.e. improve your eNPS)

When you present your WIGs to the leadership team, share your rationale on why you selected them over other initiatives. Once you’ve decided on your WIGs and received buy-in from the leadership team, you can create action plans in Reflektive right from your favorite dashboards and reports. 

Ready to take employee engagement to the next level? Talk to an expert here.