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Department of Energy & Climate Change
Employee Pulse Survey Case Study

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently conducted a comprehensive People Survey to gather feedback from across the organisation. Following on from this, the Director identified a need to collect further data on the managerial team: what they were doing well and where changes and improvements could be made.

People Vision were commissioned to design and conduct a Pulse Survey questionnaire to go out to all staff at the DECC, and People Vision associate Sheila McAlpine led on the project. Sheila is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and an executive coach with over 20 years’ experience.


Trust was the key with this project: it was essential that staff members should feel able to answer the questionnaire freely and openly for the data to have any validity, and it was important for Sheila to build a strong relationship with the Director so that he would be frank about the underlying issues and receptive to the recommendations of the project.

However, part-way through the process the Director announced he would be moving to the Cabinet Office. This resulted in concern amongst his team about the future direction of the Department and the role of the project within it.

The outgoing Director therefore agreed to facilitate a meeting between Sheila and the new Director to discuss the project and its outcomes.


After designing the pulse survey, Sheila made a presentation to the Department to explain the purpose of the project and to outline the measures in place to ensure confidentiality throughout the process.

Once the questionnaires had been completed, analysis of the results was carried out on a Section-by-Section basis, and then collated against the equivalent data from the People Survey.

Based on this, Sheila drew up a report which she presented to the new Director, along with her analysis and recommendations.



The responses to the questionnaires were very full and frank, indicating a high level of trust in the process.

The new Director approved Sheila’s recommendation to run four follow-up workshops, each for staff members of the same grade. The focus of the workshops was to explore:

  • How to encourage and manage two-way communication at meetings.

  • How to give, receive and request feedback more effectively.

It was necessary to adapt the workshops to take account of the changes taking place within the Department, so that the discussions remained relevant and purposeful.

Actions were identified by all of the groups attending the workshops to support managers and their teams in driving ongoing improvements, and based on the findings of the project a further People Survey was scheduled for later in the year, to measure the longer-term effects of implementing these actions.

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