Working with: Rufus Leonard

Understanding your employees with limited in-house data analysis skills

Rufus Leonard (Rufus) has a people-first mindset and know understanding their team is essential.

When they approached FWPXA, they were looking for an annual survey that asked the right questions and focused on the business issues that mattered to them. And it was important they were able to identify the biggest impacts on their teams. They needed robust, reliable data to support future business decisions and feedback they could act on.

Lynne partnered with them to review the surveys they’d run previously, suggesting changes and additions and making sure each question had a valid, actionable purpose. She used their HR platform to set up and monitor the survey, helping Rufus achieve a 78% response rate.

Finally, Lynne delivered a report highlighting actionable insights and making 64 recommendations for potential improvements within weeks of the survey closing.

Six-months on, a check-in with Rufus showed great progress. Many of the priority recommendations had been implemented and Rufus had even re-used some questions to gain ongoing feedback as part of their regular pulse surveys.  

The problem

Rufus knew the importance of getting employee feedback and acting on it and conducted an annual survey every December. But they ditched it in 2020 in favour of regular pulse surveys while they managed their way through the Covid-19 pandemic.

By the end of 2021, however, it was time to understand the impact of:

  • Making redundancies and hiring new people,
  • Introducing hybrid working, and
  • Managers having to learn how to manage remotely.

The Head of People and Culture was a realist – data analysis doesn’t make her happy. So engaging support was the best way to manage an annual survey, get real insight into how employees felt, and establish a benchmark for future years.

Applying a new mindset:
Communicate, Listen, Understand, Act mindset

The four fundamentals we live by: Communicate, Listen, Understand, Act


Reviving the annual survey and identifying key areas of focus

A 78% response rate on an annual survey doesn’t happen overnight. It takes the right questions and an effective communication plan.

The questions:

Rufus had a survey from prior years, but it needed to be updated to better reflect the current agency culture. They wanted to focus on three key areas:

  • Hybrid working: how it impacts employees, teams and the agency as a whole,
  • Management skills: understanding how well managers had adapted to the new working environment, and
  • Employee change: identifying the effects of recent people changes, including redundancies and new hires.

Using her experience, Lynne also proposed questions on:

  • Your Department: understanding the impact of Covid-19 and other changes on team spirit, communication and performance.
  • Training: diving deeper into issues raised during the 2019 survey.
  • Wellbeing: encouraging employees to share how well they felt Rufus looked out for their physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing.

Each question was reviewed to ensure it had relevance and purpose and any questions asked purely for interest were removed or re-worded. This ensured Rufus received survey responses they could act on.

The communication plan:

Rufus wanted to drive participation and be sure they were acting on as many employee views as possible. To help this, employees needed to understand the survey’s purpose, why it was important, and what to expect from the results. So Lynne supported them by providing:

  • A fully scripted communication plan for company meetings, email sequences and office posters, which could be used as required,
  • Survey set up and regular monitoring of completion rates, and
  • Targeted follow-up to encourage participation from each department.


Getting feedback and reviewing the top-level numbers

Once the survey was closed, Lynne provided the first phase of data analysis, giving Rufus high-level insight and basic data interpretation of their results. This identified such things as:

  • Hybrid working: Over 90% of employees felt hybrid working worked for them as an individual, but only two-thirds felt it worked well for clients.
  • Management skills: 81% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I feel recognised and appreciated for the work I do” at a company level. Yet an incredible 94% agreed or strongly agreed with the same statement at a department level.
  • Wellbeing: Around half all employees felt Rufus showed commitment to the financial wellbeing of employees; but a similar number were on the fence, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

But these numbers didn’t mean a great deal to Rufus without additional context.

Were the results positive or negative? Did they apply to all departments or did some teams buck the trend? And how did the responses compare to prior years? What was the trend they were seeing?


Drilling into the detail to get clarity on any issues and opportunities

Listening to the results gave Rufus a bird’s eye view, but it was digging deeper and really understanding those numbers that helped them take action. For that they needed:

  • Breakdowns of results by department,
  • Analysis by tenure (pre- and post-Covid hires), and
  • Trends compared with prior years.

The Head of People and Culture had neither the time or the inclination to trawl through the figures and all the qualitative comments, so Lynne provided easy-to-read reports within weeks of the survey closing.

She made observations such as:

  • Recognition: More than 75% of all staff felt recognised by their department or direct manager. Yet, recognition across the business was inconsistent with some departments feeling much more acknowledged by the company and their peers than others.
  • Hybrid working: Although 90% of employees reported hybrid was working well for them, several departments were much happier than their peers about hybrid working.
  • Training: Quality of the training provided saw a huge improvement compared to the 2019 survey. 72% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed training was good quality now, compared the disappointing 16% of employees who rated their training as above average in 2019.
  • Employee change: Employees working for Rufus pre-Covid felt more connected to colleagues than those who had joined post-Covid. And written comments from new joiners suggested building strong working relationships had been more challenging in a primarily remote environment.

So, Rufus had now run their survey (Communicate), got their top-level numbers (Listen), and dived deeper to get broad trends and detailed analysis of their results (Understand). But they wanted to go further. For them, the final step (Act) was the one they were really trying to get to.


Providing insight and support to implement changes.

Rufus didn’t want to stop at Understanding. They needed actionable recommendations which they could focus on and implement. So, Lynne’s report not only provided analysis of their data, but also presented suggestions using the employee’s qualitative comments, so the leadership team could review and refine them into actionable steps. For example:

  • Employee change: Employee feedback noted Rufus offered low holiday entitlement versus its competitors. Business conditions were putting pressure on finding great talent, so the survey results were used to support discussions around increasing their holiday allowance.
  • Training: Employees felt Rufus should do more to guide and support their development. This was a recurring issue from 2019, so Lynne recommended implementing individual training plans for all employees and communicating a clear process on who’s responsible for employee development, how to monitor activity etc.
  • Wellbeing: the impact of the last few years (Covid-19 pandemic etc). meant more people were struggling financially and weren’t sure what to do about it. Rufus introduced a programme of events centred around education and financial support to help employees build their knowledge and manage their own situations better.

Overall, Rufus reviewed 64 recommendations and used the data analysis from the Understand phase to help them see where the greatest opportunities were to influence employee experience and engagement.

What happened next?

Checking in to monitor impact.

Action isn’t immediate. It takes time to introduce new programmes or approve budgets and changes.

Six months after the survey was completed, Lynne caught up with the Head of People and Culture to see how much progress Rufus had made with their planned actions. There were lots of positives:

  • Increased holiday has been approved and employees are now benefitting from the change.
  • Employee recognition schemes have been re-introduced including the annual Awards event which celebrates business, team, and individual successes.
  • Social teams have been established and get-togethers have increased, helping to build better relationships throughout the business.
  • The CEO has taken all departments out for lunch to understand them and their experiences better.
  • Individual training plans are in place for all employees so they all have clearer support for their development.

While there were other areas that still need work, the survey findings and recommendations gave Rufus a clear plan of action, so they were clear about what to focus on for the remaining six months of the year.

Rufus has also taken questions from the annual survey and re-purposed them into a Wellbeing Survey which was rolled out during Mental Health Awareness week. This shows a real adoption of the CLUA mindset and has helped Rufus track their progress against key wellbeing measures before they conduct their next annual survey.


Understanding what’s really going on for our employees has always been at the heart of Rufus Leonard, so when we re-launched our annual survey, we wanted to be sure it would give us a true picture of what mattered to them. Partnering with Lynne was brilliant. She made sure we were asking the right questions and completed detailed analysis to give excellent insights and recommendations on what to prioritise for our employees. She literally saved me hours of crunching numbers and pouring over comments and helped us create a great foundation for the future.
Emily-Faye Duncan

Head of People and Culture, Rufus Leonard

Looking for some support?

Every agency has a unique set of employees, company culture and people experience. So you’ll have different challenges and need different questions to understand the specific issues and opportunities within your organisation. But the key to creating a great employee experience is having the right support. Support that helps you obtain relevant insight and turn it into recommendations you can act on.

To discover how to get to the heart of what matters most to your employees, let’s chat.

Wondering if FWPXA can help your people-first creative agency recruit and retain your ideal employees?