action plan

4 Steps to Make Effective Action Plans 

Action planning is a useful method for converting actionable information into positive change. 

An organization can find great value by documenting the specific steps that an employee, team, department, or division should take to meet a particular objective.

An action plan not only helps ensure you’re on the right track to affect change, but it also keeps leadership, human resources, and employees on the same page. Plus, research indicates that employees who witness positive change are twice as likely to be highly engaged as those who do not (1).

Having a plan also provides expectations and accountability in terms of the pace and direction of the action response. This strengthens the connection between feedback and action. 

Action plans are well-suited for a host of scenarios, but here are just a few to give you some ideas: 

  • Outline the steps necessary to resolve a Health & Safety issue
  • Establish the course of action to resolve a conflict between employees
  • Create high-level plans for a department to meet its objectives

Here is a 4-step process for creating effective action plans:


Step 1 – Define the issue of interest 

Meet with your team and have an open dialogue about the issue of interest. Be specific about the objective you wish to achieve, but remember that your attitude will set the tone for the process. If possible, involve the team by encouraging feedback and candid discussion.

Employees will feel most motivated to implement the plan if they believe in it. Allow your team to provide their input to determine the best possible objective.

It is important to define the root cause of the issue of interest in order to effectively incite change. Focus on the most probable cause of the issue, rather than incidental elements. 


Step 2 – Determine who is involved

List all parties who are directly involved with the objective. This is important to determine who will take ownership of the tasks within the action plan.

Think about any people, groups, teams, and departments who played a role in the issue you hope to resolve, or who will be able to affect change. 


Step 3 – Decide what needs to be continued, stopped, and started to solve the issue or meet the objective

This three-part exercise enables you to quickly determine the actions that will help or hinder your progress toward your goal. Ask the team to discuss and write specific tasks and behaviors that need to be continued, stopped, and started to improve the issue.


Step 4 – Define the action plan steps

Now that you have a list of actionable strategies to achieve your objective, it’s time to formally decide on the action steps. These are the specific, measurable tasks and activities that individuals, departments, or divisions will complete to meet the goal.

Focus on the most probable cause of the issue and develop action steps, ownership, and timelines to complete the plan. Define the steps to reach the goal, how will you show improvement, the time limit, and the owners of each task.


Implementing the plan

Action plans are a valuable tool for driving business outcomes, solving complex problems, and boosting employee engagement. 

While this planning can be done manually, there are better ways to keep, track, monitor, and report on action plans that streamline the process significantly. Our latest functionality update allows Bullseye users to create action plans within their talent development portal, tying together all of their human capital management processes.

Our easy-to-use documentation system allows you to set deadlines and assign tasks that will keep your action plan on the right track. This keeps leadership, HR, and employees on the same page as your team works to resolve problems and meet goals.

Click here to get a free demo of Action Plans and our full suite of employee development solutions.




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