Badge-EngagememtHere we discover how this innovative organisation set about positive change thanks to some really interesting employee engagement survey results.

The challenge

The Head of People and Culture, Anna Hanisch, had previously undertaken employee research in-house via Survey Monkey. She had found the results helpful but was concerned that the process was not seen as confidential and that those responding were not being as open and candid as they could be with their feedback.  In addition, Anna wanted to make sure that going forward their engagement survey focused on validated key engagement drivers. She knew that by partnering with The Survey Initiative – an external organisation – this was going to be vital to get ‘real’ results to help move the company forward.

First Steps…

First of all The Survey Initiative met with Lions Festivals to really understand the business and any issues that were currently affecting the workplace. The Survey Initiative set-up a tailored survey covering key enablers, blockers to and outcomes of engagement whilst also ensuring the survey covered those key areas that were important to the organisation’s fast-paced, dynamic, yet supportive workplace. The anonymous survey was issued to all employees and the results were collated and analysed ready for the senior management team.


“We took the leadership team through the results and instigated a deep discussion into the survey findings. Lions Festivals’ CEO, Philip Thomas and the leadership team took the results very seriously and although the results were good, wanted to ensure that the organisation continued to improve in all areas,” said Gary Cattermole, Director, The Survey Initiative.

A Catalyst for Change

The leadership team at Lions Festivals was keen to act upon the results and share the data with all employees.

What did they do?

“We’ve undertaken a number of measures to improve on our performance in the areas of communications, development and recognition, and there’s been real support from the board to drive employee engagement forward, “remarked Anna Hanisch, Head of People and Culture, Lions Festivals. She continued: “We wanted to improve our communication systems through the organisation and we’re just about to launch our first intranet to ensure all employees no matter where in the world they work have access to information when they need it. We’ve also created regular team meetings so that everyone in the organisation can have open conversations and share up-dates on the business, where we’re headed and have a chance to offer feedback on key issues too.

“As part of our employee development programme we’ve also implemented fresh work shadowing programmes to improve career progression and personal development. We’ve invested in a range of training options for our people, everyone has their individual training budget and their needs are assessed with their manager at the start of each year. We’re also keen to push our young talent and have launched a ‘future’ Lions programme to nurture those with potential through the ranks. We’ve worked with a pop up agency to offer collaborative training for all employees to develop cross company understanding of all roles; this has proven very popular.”

Lions Festivals has also created company ‘houses’ to encourage cross-team group events and challenges. It’s also proven to be a fun way for everyone to get to know each other better and to work more as a cohesive unit.

The future…

Lions Festivals has now undertaken two employee surveys with The Survey Initiative and the employee engagement results have improved over a short space of time, which is unsurprising given the commitment to change the organisation made following its first survey.

In their latest survey Lions Festivals enjoyed a 94% response rate to the survey and an 89% employee engagement score, up 5% from their first survey.   They also excelled at leadership (93% positive), wellbeing (97% positive), trust in management (97% positive), staff enjoying their jobs, great team working and contribution (95% positive), and employees understanding what is expected of them (89% positive).  It is also worth noting that they saw significant increases around ‘employee voice’ with a 12% increase to 83% positive.

Lions Festivals are going to continue doing what they do best, as well as working on all other areas too  to create the most productive and supportive environment possible for their employees.

“We take our people’s views of what it’s like to work here very seriously, and you can’t improve what you can’t measure. The Survey Initiative has really helped us discover what we do well and where we need to improve in the workplace. They are a robust, data-driven and highly professional partner,” Philip Thomas CEO, Lions Festivals

To find out more about Lions Festivals, visit; and The Survey Initiative,

Lions Festivals is part of Ascential plc,





Gary Cattermole, Biography - Gary's initial grounding was in the areas of sales and marketing, in the mid nineties he joined Longman Software Publishing to head up the business development of SURVEYkits (the worlds first employee opinion survey toolkit). After spearheading its growth over an 18 month period, Gary joined EMPLOYeSURVEYS, the original developers of SURVEYkits, helping to establish EMPLOYeSURVEYS as a leading provider of employee surveys.
Following its successful growth, in 2006 employesurvey was bought by a leading consultancy group.

He has managed numerous employee research projects for a variety of organisations. He is a partner at The Survey Initiative (and enjoys sports, in particular table tennis and football).