Organizational Effectiveness-Working at Iowa

Campus Address
121-51 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 51
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

Action Planning Principles

1. Open Sharing of Results

Leaders are encouraged to drive engagement by being open and transparent about survey results as soon as possible. Communicate early. The longer the lag time between when faculty/staff took the survey and your response about the survey, the harder it may be to link recognition and improvement efforts back to the survey. Another key point of this communication is to outline how your unit plans to respond.

2. Understanding the Data

Action planning is most effectively done through a dialogue process to further clarify the survey results. It is important to include all employee types in the dialogue. If only a few leaders interpret the data and select areas of focus, the organization misses the opportunity to further engage and understand the faculty/staff perceptions. Dialogue can help identify root causes of issues and deepen understanding of areas of strength. 

3. Results to Action

We recommend a 1-2-3 approach to action planning. After dialogue with faculty and staff, leadership selects one or two areas of focus, then determines what actions will impact those areas of focus. For example, an area of focus might be to increase faculty and staff understanding of unit goals. Action steps may include:

  1. Discussing unit goals at staff meetings or posting to an internal website
  2. Encouraging all faculty and staff to set performance goals that contribute to unit goals.
  3. Sharing progress towards unit goals regularly. Connect progress to the good work engaged employees are accomplishing, and reference Working at Iowa.

To help you build out, track, and/or visualize your action plan feel free to use or create your own response plan from this Working at Iowa Survey Response Plan template.

To help guide conversations around the three lowest scoring areas campuswide, please use the following worksheets: My unit distributes workloads fairly; UI recognizes accomplishments of faculty and staff; and There are opportunities for promotion at UI. To share individual departmental results with your organization, consider using this PowerPoint presentation template.

Everyone has a role in improving engagement. Senior Leaders at the University set the cultural tone and create a vision of University Success. Leaders and Supervisors also lead by example. They help employees understand how their work is connected to unit success, make sure employees have the training and resources to do the job and to grow, and they recognize employee effort. Employees also have a role with respect to engagement.  Employees can take advantage of developmental opportunities, invest their "heart and mind" in the work, and support and constructively exchange ideas with coworkers to foster a positive environment.

For more information or assistance with using your results to improve engagement and productivity, please email