We live and work in an age when collecting employee feedback is necessary to create employee engagement. Study after study demonstrates that up to 68% of the American workforce is disengaged. Approximately 50% are unengaged and an incredible 17% are actively disengaged.1 Yikes. Disengagement means lower levels of productivity, less revenue and higher incidents of weak culture. As noted by Gallup: Organizations with higher rates of “…engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability.”2 Disengagement is an illness that spreads rapidly when tolerated or left unaddressed.
Read on to learn how the cycle starts, perpetuates, and how to avoid this problem in your organization.
Others "pick up the slack"
People that “pick up the slack” and generate the work product compensating for the lack of production by the disengaged feel underappreciated. These employees are, essentially, punished for others being disengaged. Employees who make up for the productivity of their disengaged colleagues eventually become frustrated and, not unsurprisingly, tend to leave their employer. Losing disengaged people is one thing, losing hard-working go-getters is unacceptable for any organization.
Disengaged employees are permitted to continue such disengagement, thus repeating a
vicious cycle in which such behavior is supported, if not encouraged. Obviously, no
organization wants to see this happen and yet it does.
Frustration builds from the top down
Management and ownership experience increasing levels of frustration, anxiety and concern
over lower productivity, less revenue and higher levels of attrition. Eighty-one percent (81%) of companies
report that turnover is a “costly problem” and 63% say retaining employees is actually more
difficult than hiring people.3
Start Moving in the Right Direction
So, how can ownership stem the tide? How does an organization encourage and develop engagement?
One simple word: feedback. Gather employee feedback. Analyze feedback. Appreciate feedback. Employ feedback to make more effective and objective decisions. Feedback falls into three general categories – positive, negative and somewhere in between (often referred to as “constructive criticism”). Management and ownership might not like all the feedback (especially the negative) received, but the process of gathering, analyzing and utilizing feedback helps to strengthen workplace culture and improve rates of engagement.
A word of caution – if an organization is going through the valuable exercise of gathering meaningful feedback from their people, the organization must use it. It is also important to gather enough feedback to make it statistically relevant (no need to act immediately after first gathering feedback). When trends are identified in a given employee’s conduct and interaction with, or net impact on, others on a team or organization-wide level, action must be taken by management.
For an organization to preach the importance of feedback, stress participation in gathering feedback and then do nothing with the data collected can be more damaging than not caring about feedback at all.
Gathering and using feedback effectively can change the face of any organization. Give it a try!
When you’re ready to learn more about employee survey timelines, process and pricing, schedule a time to meet with one of our employer coaches. We'll get all your questions answered.
[i] Gallup poll results as discussed by Inc., September 20, 2017, https://www.inc.com/sonia-thompson/68-percent-of-employees-are-disengaged-but-there-i.html
[ii] Gallup, August 27, 2018, https://news.gallup.com/poll/241649/employee-engagement-rise.aspx
[iiI] Zenefits, July 8, 2019, https://www.zenefits.com/workest/employee-turnover-infographic/