Organisations failing to use employee feedback to drive strategic change
Organisations see the importance of listening to employees, but are failing to collect feedback often enough and are only using it tactically, rather than strategically with the vast majority carrying out employee surveys only one every one or two years
These are the headline findings of recent pan-European research carried out by enterprise feedback management software provider Questback, and released today.
70% of respondents said that employee feedback contributes to the delivery of business strategy and 82% believe the content of staff surveys is aligned with corporate priorities. At a time when most business sectors face continual business change, the insight staff provide is increasingly valuable, as recognised by the fact that 96% discuss it at senior management meetings.
However, the vast majority (90%) still carry out employee surveys annually (48%) or every two years (42%). This is far too infrequent given the fast-moving nature of business, and the desire of staff to give and receive more regular feedback. This is contributing to a realisation that simply running surveys annually is no longer frequent enough – 25% of managers surveyed felt that current timescales were insufficient, with a further 5% unsure on frequency.
Once it is collected, feedback is being used tactically, rather than to support strategic business goals. 81% used employee insight to improve the working environment, with 73% seeing it as a way to encourage dialogue between managers and employees. Under half (45%) used feedback to ensure that employees are aligned to strategic priorities and goals and just 48% applied staff feedback to improve business processes.
“When it comes to employee feedback, our research uncovered a gap between theory and practice,” said Frank Møllerop, Questback CEO. “On the positive side, senior management say they want to use the insight staff provide strategically – yet this is not translating into regular, integrated programmes that embed feedback into business decision making. Too many companies are stuck in annual survey cycles, rather than opening the two way, continuous dialogue with staff that is necessary in today’s business world. Now is the time to change if they want to bridge this gap and reap the rewards of listening to staff, and acting on their feedback.”
The tactical emphasis of many organisations was backed up by the other types of surveys they are carrying out with staff. The most popular areas were collecting feedback around training evaluation (64%) and exit surveys (60%).
Very few are monitoring the entire employee lifecycle, with just 18% conducting onboarding surveys and only 4% asking for feedback when there are major changes in the employee journey, such as around promotion, changing team, or being assigned a new manager.
Organisations are beginning to take a more holistic view of employee feedback, with nearly two thirds (65%) able to link data from different surveys together. This will make it easier to gain a complete picture of what their staff are saying, and shows a marked improvement on research carried out by Questback in 2014. This found that just 36% of companies were able to integrate employee and customer feedback, with many blaming technical issues for holding back their plans.
Questback surveyed 2,000 senior managers involved with employee feedback from organisations across the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The online research was carried out in the second half of 2015.