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As the saying goes: ‘a business is only as good as its people’.  

Since the start of the pandemic, workplaces across the UK have continued to adapt to the changes to models of working, with a greater focus on making sure that employees feel both valued and heard. 

In order to ensure continued success and the retention of high-quality talented people, Camelot, the operator of The National Lottery, prioritised acting on employee feedback to spark change, helping to achieve a 10% increase in employee engagement within a 12-month period. 

To build and maintain a positive workplace culture, the people team at Camelot pride themselves on being able to proactively use employee satisfaction surveys to identify how they can further promote a happy, engaged, and productive workforce. Camelot have partnered with People Insight for eight years to develop an agile pulse survey programme that supports and informs their culture. 

Niamh Macaskill, Head of People Experience, at Camelot, reveals how shifting to transparency and authenticity when it comes to surveys has led to improved employee satisfaction levels across the business. 

Watch the full video interview below: 

Q: What is Camelot’s approach to employee engagement? 

A: Engagement is something that's really important at Camelot, and it's felt by everybody in our business - all the way through from our chief executive to every individual. Engagement is something that we talk about all of the time -it's an important metric. 

So how do we do it? We have a rhythm of communication. So, for example, every quarter we run an ‘all hands’, or we will have a business update, and we will normally have a good cause in. And, I always say to the team, we like to cry together, laugh together, and it's a really important part of our culture that getting together. 

That as a huge strand of our engagement, and at that platform we will often talk about engagement, so will talk about the surveys in most of those ‘all hands’. 

We also pick moments throughout the year -we have a very active internal communications plan, and we will pick moments and things that are really important to our people. So, inclusion and ‘the place to be at Camelot’ is very important. Pride month, for example, is something that we would really dial up. 

Through our survey, we really monitor how engaged people are with our business in terms of their learning and development and their progression at Camelot. So, a learning and develop month, we will run a couple of times a year. We’ll often do that in September or January, as a bit of a New Year's resolution- “what's your development going to be?”. 

We have a big calendar of activities, and we also do surveys. Across everything we do, we have metrics, we set them, we review what we're doing and all across the business, everybody will know and understand what the engagement levels are in their department. 

We’re very transparent, we’re very authentic, and our leader is a very important part of that because as soon as we run a survey, he wants to know the next day how we’ve done. So, we’re all very passionate about it.

Niamh Macaskill

Head of People Experience, Camelot

Q: What do you think is the key to ensuring employees are satisfied at work? 

A: What's really key, is actually understanding what employees want. So why have they joined your company in the first place? Be super clear about what your value proposition is. 

For us, that's a mixture of perks and reward. It's also people doing great work, coming to a company where they can do their best work, and providing an environment that makes them be their true selves and be truly authentic. 

As well, it’s having an authentic leadership team who are looking at those employee engagement results and doing something about them. One of our questions is ‘do you truly believe that something will change as a result of this survey?’ And that's a really important metric for us. 

It’s about really listening, acting on the feedback and just being really clear about what your value proposition is. 

Q: What do you consider a good formula for satisfaction surveys? 

A: It’s all about rhythm and making sure you have regular surveys, so you are able to dip in and understand what people are doing at various points. 

We have an annual survey that we launch at the start of our financial year, and that's really good because it helps us set targets. Our managers would have it in their objectives for the year to increase engagement, or maintain engagement - because our levels are actually quite good. 

But I've seen the engagement really rise over the last five years. So, that formula of holding managers to account almost, is super important. 

Regularity, so that people can see how they're progressing against those objectives. So, we would run an annual survey in April and then we'd also run a couple of ‘pulses’. 

I think the other formula is to be agile, because we pick the moments when we run those surveys, and we'll have surveys planned for the year but sometimes, Covid comes along. Covid is a good example, where we had to think long and hard about “do we really want to run an annual survey when we've just sent everybody home?” 

But, we decided to do it because we want to know how people felt. And I think that's the magic formula to having surveys; you can get a moment in time as to how people feel and react. The formula is to respond accordingly to what people have said, as much as you possibly can, and be really authentic in your communications. 

Q: What advice would you give other businesses who are looking to improve their employee satisfaction levels? 

A: Lots of people run surveys and run them regularly, but I would say in order to make a difference and to move yourself into upper quartile, really unpick the lower scoring areas. 

Go out to those managers, set targets with them, and listen to the feedback. Surveys are a moment in time, they’re a day. We've had a really good example in our distribution centre where the service scores were low, but our people team got really involved with the management team, got everyone around the table, and really looked at what are the things that are going to make a difference to their day-to-day working.  

By changing those small, lower scoring areas, you can make quite a big difference. 

By changing those small, lower scoring areas, you can make quite a big difference.

Niamh Macaskill

Head of People Experience, Camelot

I think as well, just be really authentic in the communication of the survey results. We will go out very quickly with a note from our CEO on what the survey said, so people feel like their input has been valued, and I think that's really important. 

Download our ‘Employee satisfaction: building a happier workforce’ eBook for more information on how to increase employee satisfaction within your business. 

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