Stroke Association - Understanding volunteer and employee experiences

Not-for-profits often have a mix of volunteers and paid staff, working in a wide range of different roles and settings. That makes it tricky to measure engagement accurately, as it involves analysing survey results by demographic. 

With a team of 3,200 – made up of 800 staff and 2,500 volunteers – Stroke Association are based across the UK, from roles in the community to multi-directorate office hubs. That means they can offer support to those affected by stroke throughout the country, but it does mean finding ways to stay agile, by understanding both volunteer and employee engagement.

As we looked to become more agile, understanding how our people felt became critical - feedback loops needed to be strengthened, and made more meaningful.

Kyla Lacey-Davidson

Associate Director of People Experience

The challenge: understanding employee and volunteer engagement

  • Measuring volunteer and employee engagement
  • Faster analysis of feedback to inform actions taken
  • Making sure their new strategy could be delivered

The charity wasn’t new to employee engagement, but had taken a traditional approach in the past by using internal surveys. They couldn’t view by demographic, and had to manually analyse the responses themselves – which delayed any next steps being taken.

After launching their new strategy in 2019, they needed to make sure their people stayed engaged to deliver it. That required rich, real-time feedback that would enable leaders and managers to make Stroke Association a great place to work, volunteer and grow – with increased motivation and engagement.

The solution: an engagement survey that offered deeper insights

  • Qlearsite Engage survey, as a managed service
  • Training to create and run future surveys in-house
  • Demographic breakdowns & Organisational Fitness overlay

We began a listening journey with the Stroke Association. Their focus was to provide an opportunity for staff and volunteers to share how they felt about working or volunteering at the Stroke Association, and collect data and insight on what worked and what needed to improve, including where and how their experiences differed.

In the first year, we ran an Engagement Survey – allowing Stroke to more easily understand both their volunteer and employee populations, thanks to the ability to separate out groups and demographics on our platform. This also gave them both a traditional ‘engagement’ score, and our Organisational Fitness overlay for a deeper understanding of overall resilience.

We wanted to focus on the rich narrative that open text questions give us, moving away from expecting numbers to speak for our people. But we needed the right technology to analyse that data quickly and cleverly

Kyla Lacey-Davidson

Associate Director of People Experience

The results: high engagement across teams

  • Engagement score: 84%
  • 3 core strengths: ‘Experience’, ‘Customer’, ‘Motivation’
  • Biggest driver: the Directorate
  • Key focus area: Innovation (change management)

Not only did the Stroke Association receive an overall engagement score of 84%, it also became clear that there was significant overlap between staff and volunteer experiences – so differentiating their approach didn’t need to be a focus.

Proactively uncovering the nature of their high engagement score meant the Stroke Association could continue nurturing their strengths – ‘Experience’, ‘Customer’, and ‘Motivation’ – and focus on opportunities to drive change, like ‘Innovation’. Having that sense of direction meant they could be effective in pushing towards becoming a more agile and empowered organisation.

The next steps: deep dive surveys on focus areas

  • 2 deep dive surveys, to follow up on initial insights
  • Understanding of topics across 4 subdimensions
  • Clear path to building on their strong engagement scores

Using our Organisational Fitness solution, the Stroke Association also underwent a deep dive into ‘Transparency and Communication’. Using our quickly delivered reports, they could understand their key strengths and opportunities for development – assessing this topic across four subdimensions, for a thorough awareness of what actions to take next.

After this deep dive and their first Qlearsite engagement survey, we offered the Stroke Association team training to run the next survey in-house – which they sent in the spring. Using our platform, they’re able to keep assessing their engagement levels – and gain the deeper insights they need to support their people to deliver their strategy and rebuild more lives after stroke.

It’s time to start the conversation

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