Following a period of sustained change in the business, the team at NAHL Group plc wanted to check in with staff engagement levels. Aiming for an open and honest conversation with colleagues, they chose a combination of an on-paper “OwnIt!” survey and face-to-face meetings in small groups to achieve an outstanding 95% completion rate.
Law Firms & Legal Services
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Employee recognition, employee benefits, employee wellbeing, employee communications
In 2018 and 2019, NAHL Group plc experienced a lot of changes. These included rebrands, a new vision, new strategies, new leaders and the launch of the group’s first wholly-owned law firm.
From research by Reward Gateway, the team knew that staff usually want to be actively involved in making their workplaces better. With these rapid changes affecting employees at all levels across the group, they felt it was important to make sure that staff were able to formally let them know how they thought the business was performing. To help, the team decided to carry out a survey that was delivered and executed entirely by the employees themselves.
The business based survey questions on a credible Engagement Survey from Gallup, and expanded the set with questions on wellbeing, reward and recognition, personal growth, communication and involvement.
The key aims were to achieve maximum engagement, and to communicate that the survey wasn’t an “HR” thing but an everyone thing. The team also wanted to provide opportunities for extended conversation on important issues and ensure that colleagues felt that they were listened to and were able to make a difference. Ultimately, they aimed to provide the business with a benchmark to show progress in engagement.
NAHL Group plc’s OwnIt! staff surveys were carried out by employees – known as OwnIt! Angels – as part of each division’s Brown Bag Lunch meetings (all-staff briefings over lunch). Employees could also attend catch-up meetings if they missed the Brown Bag Lunches to ensure that every member of staff had a voice.
The OwnIt! Angels presented the previous year's results to the participants prior to the survey being completed. The survey asked colleagues to read 30 statements and select which five were most important to them. They then scored the business against each of the statements on a scale of one to five. Employees could also add in further comments, letting the team collate qualitative and quantitative data.
Unusually, the survey was completed on paper. Staff had told the team that with longer surveys, they put more time and consideration into their responses when filling out hard copies than when clicking boxes online. Groups of staff completed the survey together, creating an atmosphere of collegiality and community.
Once the results were collated, they were presented to the OwnIt! Angels, who then arranged small group meetings with all their colleagues. At these meetings, the results were presented in detail, more feedback was gathered and any issues raised were discussed. From these meetings, the OwnIt! Angels fed back to the team, focussing on four strengths that the staff and business could celebrate together, two changes the staff would make to improve their working experience and two changes they would like the company to make.
The OwnIt! survey had an average completion rate of 95% and showed an engagement score of 79.5%. Results were calculated using averages of the scores staff allocated to each statement, and were separated by division, business within divisions, length of service and seniority, ensuring anonymity while providing a vigorous assessment that enabled the team to identify any pockets of low engagement and act quickly.
Staff at NAHL Group plc knew that the most important business messages are communicated to them face-to-face. This meant they understood that the feedback they were giving to the business in the group meetings was of equal importance.
Responding to survey feedback is important to the team. For example, last year’s results had told them that some staff felt a lack of training opportunities. To address this, they introduced a number of group-wide training events on a range of topics including strengths and self-confidence, and the latest survey scores for the statement on training increased by 27.9% from the previous year.
Following the action items from the survey, the business has seen a reduction in employee turnover of 29%. The survey showed that 96.2% of employees are clear about what the business is trying to achieve, and 97.5% are proud to work for their business. What’s more, the levels of satisfaction felt by the staff was pivotal to one of its businesses, National Accident Helpline, achieving 69th place in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For at first application.
reduction in employee turnover
overall engagement score