Category All, Best Practices Why Employee Feedback is a Gift Whether it’s improving products and services for customers, or how managers are leading their employees, feedback is the bridge between potential and outstanding results. April 6, 2023 By Ivo Jurcic Every experienced manager or HR head agrees that there is no improvement without feedback. According to an industry survey from Betterworks, companies that are able to adopt continuous performance feedback practices significantly outperform their competitors at a higher rate of 24%. Make no mistake, employee feedback is a gift and it might just be the most valuable thing an organization can get from a single worker, let alone from hundreds or thousands of employees. After reading this article, you’ll see feedback as a precious gift given by employees almost every day. 1. Feedback Reveals the state of engagement Employees’ willingness to lend feedback is indicative of how engaged they are with their work. When you’re passionate about something, you constantly think of ways to improve it. You become more critical of your own performance, your colleague’s performance, and how is work being distributed. By no means is this a bad thing. It actually proves one is dedicated to making the process better. On the other side of the spectrum, are disengaged employees. Sure, it’s impossible to have a completely engaged workforce, but when a significant share of all employees is detached from their work and the organization’s culture, productivity is bound to suffer. Gallup studied the state of U.S. employee engagement across over 110 000 business units and reported that 51% of employees are disengaged at their organizations and 13% are actively disengaged, meaning they feel truly miserable at work and their attitude has a negative impact on the rest of their co-workers. As you can imagine, this spells catastrophe. Forbes claims that disengaged employees cost their company $3400 for every $10000 they make, which rings an even louder alarm. The willingness to share feedback with your coworkers shows how engaged employees really are. It’s not reasonable to assume every employee will knock at their manager’s door whenever they have a bit of feedback. However, when it comes to employees answering engagement surveys, companies are right to set high expectations and do everything they can to reach them. Low engagement survey participation rates should ring alarm bells. Generally, there are 6 tiers of employee survey participation rates: >85% potentially overly encouraged participation 70-85% excellent participation 60-70% good participation 50-60% average participation <50% poor participation <30% ALARMINGLY LOW participation Depending on where on the spectrum a company lands, HR gets a clearer assessment of how engaged employees are. Knowing what are the roadblocks to high employee survey participation will clear out obstacles between precious employee feedback and improvement. 2.Feedback gives actionable insight into management processes When your organization is a global enterprise with a complex hierarchy structure, it can be difficult to understand how management is being viewed from the bottom up. It’s certainly true that large companies have suffered from a serious disconnect between higher-ups and ground-level employees. Perhaps the most contemporary example is the recent divide between Salesforce management and their workers followed by the subsequent layoff of 10% of the entire workforce. There is a gap between the upper layers of management and employees working on-sight. This is only realistic, given that everyday experiences and the scope of responsibility are much different. But things will get worse without an effort to improve all the management processes. The role of healthy internal communication is to keep the dialogue constantly going so that company leaders have a clear line of sight into employee experiences of every worker and create the best management system they can. As you can imagine, employee feedback is invaluable for achieving this goal. Without their input, organizations will have a hard time reviewing their management practices and ultimately getting the best out of their workforce. Gartner reported that in 2019, 81% of HR leaders are making changes to their performance management practices. Employee feedback is a gift because it gives first-person insight from employees that goes beyond data and metrics and can be put to use. Gathering actionable employee feedback about their managers is a well-known HR challenge. An employee feedback report from All Voices surveyed over 800 U.S. full-time employees and found that 21% did not share feedback because they did not have any, or felt that it wasn’t important, confidential, or simply feared repercussions. To make things worse, 44% of employees believe only incremental change will come from their feedback. Skepticism is getting in the way of actionable feedback that is critical for improving management processes. This is why organizations need to treat feedback like a gift, and not merely a mechanical improvement process. It takes genuine trust and effort to create an environment where employees feel comfortable giving feedback about management processes. In order to get the necessary actionable feedback, organizations have to empower employees to give feedback and actively seek it out. This requires both a cultural shift toward feedback and a proper digital solution that makes feedback non-invasive and protects privacy. And secondary, organizations need to prove that employee feedback is being heard and contributes to tangible change. By doing so, organizations are challenging the notion that giving feedback is merely formal. Let’s keep talking about the cultural aspect. 3. Feedback Builds a Culture of Communication Communication is without a doubt, a pillar of healthy company culture. Communication denotes how employees and their managers talk to one another. A great culture will nurture transparent, affirming, proactive and authentic communication. Sure, every large company has communication-centered values, but putting them to practice can be an uphill battle. In truth, building a culture of communication is an ongoing process that requires a combination of skills, practices, strategies, supportive leadership, and technology. According to research from Towers Watson, companies with effective communication strategies see a 47% higher total return to shareholders over a five-year period compared to companies with poor communication practices. Whenever employees communicate feedback and share it with their superiors, they practice the culture of open communication and encourage others to follow in their stead. This is often overlooked as a secondary gain from giving feedback. Leadership has to understand that giving feedback often means stepping out of a comfort zone and actively participating in culture-shaping. That’s why employees should be encouraged, supported, and highlighted every time they provide precious feedback that leads to improvement. A feedback attempt should never be disregarded. 4. Feedback sparks innovation When it comes to sparking innovation, employees are the firestarters that drive change. It’s no secret that companies dedicate massive budgets to innovation-centered departments to come up with critical improvements or new features for their product. More often than not, the next big idea comes from employees who have first-person experience and feedback to share. After all, they’re the ones spending time talking to the prospects. Perhaps the most famous example of employee-led innovation was Google’s Gmail launch in 2004. Gmail was started in 2001 by Paul Buchheit, who worked as a developer tasked to build an email personalization product. He relied on code from Google Groups to develop Gmail as an internal communication tool that was made publicly available. Today, Gmail is an essential digital tool for corporate entities and private users. By providing feedback, employees can help identify the areas for improvement that may not be so apparent to senior leaders. This can lead to substantial change. It’s hard to imagine Google today without the advent of Gmail. Just think about being handed a gift like that by your employees. Research from Adobe found that companies that are able to foster their creativity are 3.5 times more likely to have strong revenue growth and outdo their peers. In addition, 69% of companies that support creative practices receive employer-of-choice rewards. Having employee feedback collection practices gives companies a creative edge that propels innovation. The only questions are what are organizations doing to collect employee feedback and how are they using it to spark innovation? Establishing a regular employee feedback cadence is a lengthy process, especially for companies with large workforces dispersed across multiple regional or international locations. Failing to collect potentially game-changing feedback is a loss regardless of how you put it. It’s not idealistic to consider that many employees have valuable ideas for improvement disguised as feedback. When those employees leave, their product or service feedback leaves with them. This is why creating a channel for employee feedback is a central CHRO concern. Of course, such an endavour would’ve been made impossible without the HR solutions that empower companies to effectively solicit feedback from their employees, and silo it to determine which insights can be used to better the product and innovate. By doing so, leading companies ensure there’s a steady stream of employee feedback coming and that the process is non-disruptive, meaning that it’s not difficult for employees to send feedback and it complements their regular duties and responsibilities. 5. Feedback Safeguards Employee Retention The act of asking for employee feedback should never be a crude formality. In fact, asking somebody for pointers on what to improve shows genuine care for the other person’s opinion. When you never ask for feedback or do so in a confusing or overly formal way, chances are that the person you’re talking to won’t see the conversation as something the company values. Worse yet is when companies ask for employee feedback so infrequently that they never feel heard. According to research by Gallup, employees who feel engaged and heard are 59% less likely to look for a new job in the next year. Having a culture centered around listening to employees and actively pushing for change based on their opinion is a safeguard against employee turnover. Nobody wants to stay in a relationship where their opinion is disregarded and there is no tangible change. The same holds particularly true for employee-employer relationships. According to a survey from Insight22, people analytics teams are responsible for employee listening in 61% of companies. Furthermore, 69% of surveyed companies have a clear strategy in place with defined goals and responsibilities for employee listening that are tied to people analytics. Some of the most successful companies are masters of listening to their employees, be it with listening data or employee feedback. Collecting feedback for the sake of understanding your employee experience is an operational necessity for retention. It’s long understood that the talent market is becoming more and more competitive across all industries. The demand for skilled labor is at an all-time high. This is why companies have to actively pursue goals that lower employee turnover. Employee feedback is a gift that sustains a workforce, and when gratefully accepted, encourages employees to stay. When employees feel heard they know their place is with the company. The Right Solution Proves Feedback is a Gift By now, we can agree that employee feedback is a gift that keeps on giving. However, it’s difficult to capture the full value of employee feedback without the proper digital tools. It’s no secret that companies are deploying a plethora of communication solutions to collect and process employee feedback and ultimately receive a winning edge. Not all companies are successful in this pursuit, and the tool they use for soliciting employee feedback can make all the difference. The successful adoption of a feedback tool depends on many things, from the demanding integration needs with the company’s HCM system, to game-changing features for feedback and support throughout the change management and onboarding period. Additionally, the feedback solution has to complement the current tech stack, meaning that it works as an extension of the technology the company is already using, as opposed to a separate solution that requires reinventing entire feedback practices. It might sound like a tall order, but one amazing tool fits the bill. Feedback Programs empower enterprises to create instant feedback processes for various HR practices and send and receive employee feedback. This also includes peer-to-peer feedback that is necessary for teams to collaborate and grow. The solution is fully customizable to fit the specific needs of unique company cultures. When it comes to employee feedback, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. The solution has outstanding reporting capabilities, which include quick feedback and insight-rich reports. Nurture combines the data companies already have collected thanks to superior integration. This is invaluable because the implementation doesn’t disrupt existing processes, but rather, enhances them, so that HR gets more out of the processes and systems they already use, instead of making them more complex. For instance, SAP clients can use Feedback Programs alongside the rest of their SAP Cloud apps as a powerful engine for collecting and processing feedback from employees. Users can access them with a SSO for a secure and reliable login. See what our EX suite can do for your workforce and check out our program sampler below: Conclusion There’s no doubt that candid employee feedback is a gift that extends to managers, HR, the company, and other co-workers. It’s impossible to create the perfect Employee Experience without the feedback of employees. Like you learned from the article, employee feedback: Reveals the state of employee engagement Gives actionable insights into the success of management processes Sparks innovation in the company Helps create improvements that directly impact employee turnover Even though the process of collecting employee feedback may seem like a formality in some companies, great leaders should never lose sight of its value. Thankfully, there are outstanding HR solutions that transform feedback and deliver its full potential at the tips of HR’s fingers.