Creating a strategically-aligned survey programme


Pinpointing key signals to help improve engagement


Building a clear and evidence-based engagement strategy

Our conversations with Dywidag began in 2020. Their goal was to work with a trusted and experienced engagement partner with a track record of delivering global projects to diverse employee groups. Their organisation is made up of a blue- and white-collar population who between them speak nine different languages and are based in 21 countries across the globe.

The immediate need was to create a survey that would enable Dywidag to build a clear and evidence-based engagement strategy. Dywidag had gone through a period of change, including acquisitions, with a significant shift in how the business was structured and operated. A joined-up engagement strategy would be fundamental to its next phase of growth and success.

The strategy was to feature a range of actions and interventions, led by their global engagement lead, and supported by a global network of HR Business Partners and ETS. And the starting point was to gain a consistent, global baseline looking at the experience their people were having, and how this might have a bearing on the impact they could have on delivering their broader strategic goals.


Aligning the survey with their strategy

ETS first interviewed the CEO and Board to understand more about the strategic goals of the organisation, and what dials needed to be shifted, from a people perspective, to achieve those goals.

We also consulted with the Global VP of HR and their team, to learn more about the current employee proposition and where they believed we needed to capture evidence and insights to inform their ongoing delivery of the employee engagement strategy.  In survey one we set out to test:

• Overall levels of engagement, empowerment and enablement

• The extent to which people were supportive of the strategic goals.

• How well set up they felt to deliver on some of the newer, market leading initiatives.  

We created the survey using a combination of benchmark questions and custom questions created specifically for Dywidag, along with our EX3 model as the basis to give a measure of engagement, enablement and empowerment.

The first survey, delivered early in 2021, provided key insights for Dywidag.  Lots was working well:

• 93% of colleagues agreed Dywidag was committed to being ethical & responsible.

• 90% of colleagues agreed they could be open & honest with their manager.

• 93% of colleagues agreed they would feel comfortable challenging others on unsafe behaviours.

• 90% of colleagues agreed Dywidag take safety in the workplace seriously.

• 94% of colleagues agreed they could be their authentic self at work.

Whilst there was lots to celebrate, our extensive analysis of survey data allowed us to decipher three key ‘signals’, which would help them to improve the experience and impact of their people, even further.

1. Vision - to provide further clarity on their vision and the part that employees play in achieving that.

2. Innovation - to nurture a culture where employees are encouraged to speak up & share ideas to move forward and think differently.

3. Leadership - to work with their leaders to build confidence in the direction of travel and increase visibility.

Following survey one, we embarked on a journey to engage further with colleagues through a programme of 20+ listening groups, delivered globally in multiple languages.  The aim was to demonstrate that we’d heard their feedback and were keen to learn more about what change and action should look like.  The outcome of this qualitative work allowed us to identify some quick wins, as well as a bigger area of opportunity to support and engage their leaders at Board  -1 level.

Survey two took place early in 2022, and whilst once again there were items to celebrate, the difficult ongoing external environment, as well as the significant internal changes had resulted in only small gains being made on key focus areas.  After survey two, we redoubled our efforts with a programme of work that saw:

• ETS worked specifically with their level 2 leaders to engage, explore and co-create a set of behavioural standards that they believed would support the business transformation that was taking place.

• Dywidag’s HR team focus heavily on their line manager populations and how performance was discussed, managed and supported.  

Additionally, between surveys two and three there was a change in CEO and a reshaping of the operational restructure that had been already underway.

Katie Greenwood, Global HR Business Partner comments on the experience of partnering with ETS:

“ETS have been a trusted partner to work with. With a dedicated account and project manager assigned to our company, this makes the engagement survey a very easy and enjoyable process, and it feels more like working with colleagues rather than an external business.  I don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at ETS if I require support or inspiration on engagement topics as I know they will always make time and provide expert guidance.”

ETS provided us excellent support over the past three years during the full life cycle of the employee survey. From the initial launch of our first survey in 2021 to current day, they have continued to provide insights into the data and help the leadership address what will have the most impact on employees and the business. The hands-on focus groups were instrumental in understanding that leadership behaviours and actions were a driving force to improve employee engagement.

Christine George, Global VP of Human Resources

Evaluating progress

We can best assess outcomes so far by looking at the most recent ‘survey three’, delivered early in 2023. This showed more significant shifts in the ‘signals’ we had recommended Dywidag focus on.

Some highlights, comparing the 2022 survey scores to those captured in 2023 are shown in the impact list below.

Following extensive focus on the line manager population, and the delivery of a performance management process and tool, views on line managers also improved significantly. Examples include; +7 % points for managers giving the right level of support, +6 % points for managers showing appreciation and recognition for work done and +6 % points for managers giving meaningful and constructive feedback.


Business Impact

A significant increase in engagement (+5 % points)
A significant increase in enablement (+ 9% points)
A significant increase in ‘excitement about the future direction’ (+6 % points)