How to use feedback to influence employee experience
Toxic and inflexible work cultures have compromised employee experience for too many. If you don’t want to lose your best people, you’ll need to focus on creating an unleavable culture. But everyone experiences work differently, so how do you make work ‘work’ for your people?
But more importantly, it’s what you do with that feedback that has the biggest impact. You need to turn that feedback into action if you want to create meaningful and lasting change.
Employee experience is a catch-all term for everything your people go through as an employee. Their morning commute, daily responsibilities, long term prospects, and interactions with colleagues all form parts of a person’s experience at work. Because of that, it's an important lens to view your workplace culture through.
They’re distinct concepts but they play a key role in determining how engaged your people can be. So, let’s look at how feedback shapes great employee experience.
Why good feedback process matters
The importance of feedback boils down to three things.
Your people are an investment. If you want to make the most of employee performance, it’s in your best interest to help staff to improve their existing skills and learn new ones.
Ambitious employees value the feedback process. They want to know that their personal development matters to you. LinkedIn compiled some must-know facts about feedback:
- 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts were better recognised.
- 60% of employees want feedback on a daily or weekly basis, rising to 72% for those under thirty.
- Employees who receive strengths-based feedback show nearly 15% less attrition than employees who get no feedback.
- Managers given strengths-based feedback showed almost 9% higher profitability than managers who weren’t.
Feedback is about much more than self-improvement. It’s a way for your employees to speak out about the challenges they face at work. This is the most important way that feedback shapes employee experience.
Feedback is pointless unless you act on it
Feedback is about trust. And trust takes time to build. Your people must trust that their feedback will be heard, respected, and considered. If you ignore what they’re saying, you might as well not have done it at all.
If you don’t respond to their feedback, employees have no reason to be honest with you, making them feel that their feedback (and opinions) are worthless.
Remember though, the response doesn’t need to be positive. A manager can respond to say that their feedback was considered but won’t be implemented. Think to your own experience. What’s more frustrating? Getting a negative response or no response at all?
If you genuinely want to know how to improve employee experience, you need to turn their feedback into actionable insight.
- Use sentiment analysis tools to find the patterns in employee feedback.
- Involve employees in decisions by asking for their opinions. David Blackburn talks about the importance of asking before acting in this on-demand webinar.
- Keep checking in and monitoring the employee experience.
By connecting feedback to the actions that you take, your employees feel a sense of autonomy, and a personal stake in your workplace culture. Being actively involved in shaping where you work helps to deepen your emotional connection to it.
Employee experience is never static
Today’s employee experience is completely different to 10 or even two years ago. And that’s thanks to employees having a voice.
Remote work has seriously taken off. Hybrid business models are common, with many companies taking a remote-first approach. This gives people more control over their working lives, and opens up careers to applicants from a wider range of backgrounds and life stages.
Management isn’t for everybody. People might turn down management roles because they don’t want the responsibility, or because they’re emotionally invested in their current role. Knowledge specialist and individual contributor positions are now valued in organisations. On top of that, there are plenty of options for general upskilling, as well as secondments to provide new experiences.
Flexible working like four-day weeks, job sharing, part-time, contracting and dropping a 9-5 mentality is gaining traction. The 4-day-week trial in Iceland enabled most of Iceland’s working professionals to negotiate a four-day week or other form of job flexibility into their contracts. The trial has inspired similar experiments in other countries including Scotland.
Employee wellbeing is being prioritised through better time off policies. As a result, there’s been a variety of high-profile cases of employers making special allowances for time off to prevent employee burnout and boost morale. The dating app Bumble has given employees two collective week-long paid vacations a year.
How to collect feedback to improve employee experience
Running impromptu surveys can help you to collect anonymous or attributable feedback. This gives you a snapshot-in-time overview of how your people feel on that day.
If you really want to build a culture where employee experience is at the heart of your company then regular, transparent feedback is key. Honest feedback can’t happen without trust between an employee and their manager. And to do that takes time. That’s why regular employee check-ins make it easier to create lasting and impactful culture and employee experience changes.