The Role of Feedback on Employee Engagement and Experience
In traditional organizations, performance management systems are used to measure the alignment of individual objectives and strategic business goals. Therefore, employees are engaged on their work based on this top-down system and at certain times pressured to achieve the agreed results. However, a different way of engagement is possible, which aims for their intrinsic motivation. By empowering employees with work that has a meaningful purpose, when they are subject to healthy peer pressure and when they receive continuous feedback from others, they are motivated to deliver great work.
“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” – Stephen R. Covey
Although people do not need management pressure to perform, they still need to know how they are performing. This is when the feedback that is constructive in nature is required to play a huge role. Though, feedback processes tend to fail in many organizations since feedback is given out of fear, judgement or separation. Nevertheless, employees are relational human beings that thrive when they are valued. This is the reason that the relationships sit at the center of being a great manager and leader. Managers that care personally about their employees and build connections with them, give honest feedback from empathy, acceptance, and love.
While they perform their responsibilities as a leader, they should also be able to challenge their employees directly saying what they think, so the employees perform at their very best and drive results in collaboration. These are the initial steps for creating a culture of feedback.
Employees’ Point of View
In the light of the fast-paced, competitive work environment, to retain especially the highly skilled employees, employers should invest in providing them with necessary learning and development opportunities. According to the Marketing Agency Growth Report 2018, the employers who provide educational resources and training are only at 53% while only 25% of them provide improved growth opportunities.
Another emerging differentiating factor to promote for current or potential employees appears to be a feedback driven company culture. According to a research by Gallup in 2014, only 13% of all employees are “highly engaged” and 26% are “actively disengaged.” To address this issue, forward looking organizations are putting an equal importance to both employees’ and managers’ feedback. Giving employees an authentic voice in a sincere manner, facilitates dialogue between managers and employees and promotes transparency inside the organization. Research shows that among millennials, transparency from leadership ranks among the most important drivers of engagement and company loyalty.
Consequently, companies need an instrument to obtain unbiased, actionable and real-time feedback. People always talk about what is working or not at their work and how it can be addressed but often people who need to take action are truly unaware of the all the value-adding feedback, so the company cannot progress to the better.
Tools to Collect and Act on Feedback
Today, pulse survey tools, employee sensing tools, sentiment monitoring tools enable employees to voice their thoughts and provide direct feedback to managers or peers. Different organizational goals are tackled with these software tools:
- Feedback management: collecting anonymous, real time, transparent feedback from metric or open-ended pulse questions to create actionable insights.
- Employee Alignment & Communication: Employees can view all the open-ended answers to the surveys and are able to vote or comment on them. This in turn let you rank large volumes of feedback and prioritize the ones to act first.
- Employee Social Recognition/Awards: Recognition wall or lists to thank and reward one another for their contributions at work. This increases employee retention by encouraging meaningful workplace relationships.
- Objective & Key Results: Tracking the status (on track, at risk, or behind) and the progress of individual, department, and company-wide objectives aligns employees and holds them accountable.
To conclude, it is important to recognize that including authentic employee input in key decisions fuels effective decision-making, increases employee engagement and creates a more meaningful work experience for all.