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Phase-change actuator ceramics directly couple electrical and mechanical energies through an electric-field-induced phase transformation. These materials are promising for the replacement of the most common electro-mechanical ceramic, lead zirconate titanate, which has environmental concerns. Here, we show that by compositional modification, we reduce the grain-scale heterogeneity of the electro-mechanical response by 40%. In the materials investigated, this leads to an increase in the achievable electric-field-induced strain of the bulk ceramic of 45%. Compositions of (100-x)Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3-(x)BaTiO3, which initially possess a pseudo-cubic symmetry, can be tuned to undergo phase transformations to combined lower symmetry phases, thus decreasing the anisotropy of the transformation strain. Further, modelling of transformation strains of individual grains shows that minimum grain-scale strain heterogeneity can be achieved by precise control of the lattice distortions and orientation distributions of the induced phases. The current results can be used to guide the design of next generation high-strain electro-mechanical ceramic actuator materials.