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A guide to identifying and rewarding survey champions
Who is this guide for?
Account Admins, Survey Admins, Survey Creators
How to identify and select your Survey Champions
A good way to identify a Survey Champion is by seeing the role as a developmental opportunity for junior managers or high potential employees to get additional experience, that may support them stepping into a leadership role in the future. Research by consulting firm McKinsey & Co, found that organizations that assigned high-potential employees or managers to lead changes were 2.7 times more likely to say that their efforts were successful at both improving performance and sustaining improvement over time.
Culture Amp recommends survey champions volunteer for the role, so once you identify a suitable set of candidates, provide them information on the opportunity and ask if they’d like to take part. You can also use a nomination process, which works well with junior employees if it is used in the spirit of recognition for future potential/past success.
Either way, it’s important that the Champion is a willing participant. In the previous study, McKinsey found that positive transformations are much more likely to be successful if key roles are held by employees or managers that actively support the effort.
Ideally, a Survey Champion will be someone who:
has the time/capacity to do the role
Is motivated to take on new responsibilities and contribute to the organization
has a nurturing and teaching mindset that will help them facilitate sessions and provide support
has credibility within their team
has a practical understanding of business constraints (i.e. they won’t elevate the idea “Ferraris for everyone”, despite how fun that idea is).
has sufficient tenure so they know how to get things done (they don’t need to be highly tenured or senior, just not so new that they’re hampered in their ability to drive action).
How to support Survey Champions
Once selected you’ll want to set your Survey Champions up for success. The most important details are: that Survey Champion understands why you’re doing this (e.g. to explore the feedback or to drive action); that they’re connected to the vision of improving the organization, and they understand that the selected focuses have been chosen for a reason (i.e. because of employee feedback via the survey results).
Other things that can help Survey Champions are:
clearly defined roles so they don’t take on too much
a clear timeline from start to finish so they can make time in their calendar, and so they can volunteer clear eyed about the size of the commitment
practical Support Guides, e.g. if they are running a How-Might-We session providing them some suggested things to ask and tips on how to facilitate a group session
clear process on when, where and how they should document outcomes and actions
a basic understanding of the bigger picture process, such as when and how action is going to be implemented and measured
a basic understanding of the Survey itself, in case they get questions (e.g. confidentiality rules, how the survey design was chosen, participation rates of their business, and why the questions for action were selected).
consider if having your Survey Champions attend one of Culture Amp’s weekly group trainings would be appropriate and helpful for their role.
How to reward Survey Champions and close out your process
When the current process is complete, it’s important to recognize your Survey Champions for their involvement. Highlighting the outcomes that resulted from their effort is also a great way to ensure they get personal satisfaction from taking part.
If ‘contribution to the wider organization’ is a metric that is used in performance reviews, ensure that their manager/reviewer factors their involvement in the survey process into that metric.
Other more tangible options can be providing them a gift certificate or taking them out to lunch, or providing access to additional L&D opportunities if possible.
Lastly, when leadership communicate action plans or follow up messages, it is valuable for them to acknowledge and thank the Survey Champions for their involvement. It’s a powerful form of recognition for an employee to see their name in the CEO’s company-wide communications.
Additional Resources and Considerations
The First Step: The first thing you’ll need is to develop your overall Results to Action plan. Once you have a vision of what you want to do and achieve you’ll better placed to identify where and how a Survey Champion can support that plan.
Culture Amp’s Take Action Framework: The Culture Amp Platform has a built in Action Framework to facilitate action planning at each level of your business, and report building and report sharing functionality will help you expedite results to action. Consider how your Survey Champions can leverage this framework in addition to your managers and leaders.
Culture Amp Inspiration Engine: Within the Take Action Framework, Culture Amp has a list of Inspirations for the Engagement, D&I, and Manager Effectiveness surveys. The Inspiration Engine is a curated list of micro learnings - easy to digest ideas and actions that our customers and others in our People Geek community have used with their employees.
The Survey Champion may benefit from access to these inspirations because they ensure they’re not starting from scratch on idea generation when engaging with their business unit or team.
Availability Hours: Consider having a set time each week where the P&C team are available to speak with Survey Champions about their questions and progress.
Combining Survey Champion initiatives with other L&D programs: you may find the Survey Champion role is a great practical component to supplement theory-based L&D trainings.
Organizational Maturity: The Culture Amp P&C team employs Survey Champions to drive action because we believe it can and does greatly benefit the success of a survey; however, it’s important to be mindful of the risk of asking employees to take a lead on post-survey initiatives. If you select someone who ends up not being well suited to process, or if your organization is traditionally highly hierarchical then a Survey Champion may not be as effective as a centrally run action process. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re not sure about this.
One-Step-At-A-Time: Consider your action planning as a long term multi-year, multi-survey process, you don’t need to have a fully developed Survey Champion initiative the first time you launch a survey with Culture Amp. If you start with small, actionable initiatives, such as asking your Survey Champions to ensure employees make time to attend a HR-run results debrief , that will still benefit your overall process. From there you can look to expand the responsibility of the role in future surveys as the HR team, leaders, managers and employees become more familiar with the change through feedback process.