Are you growing the next generation of leaders at your company, or is your top talent walking out the door?
Eroding employer loyalty and weakening company culture means employees are less engaged than ever. Forty-four percent of employees are thinking about their careers in terms of months rather than years. The solution to this problem won’t come from the top down. Organizations need to go straight to the source—employees—and use their continuous feedback to catalyze true cultural change.
The link between employee engagement, culture & business success
Disengaged “quiet quitters” comprise 50% of the U.S. workforce. Put another way, at the average company, half the employees are doing the bare minimum–– is this the case at your company?
Unmotivated, disinterested and frustrated employees can have a ripple impact on organizations. It’s not just productivity that takes a hit. These employees weaken team morale, ultimately creating a toxic work environment that sends your top performers out the door.
A strong, cohesive company culture–one where employees feel ownership in their work and a deep connection to their organization’s purpose–does the opposite. According to Sherzod Odilov, Associate Client Partner, Culture, Change & Communications , “Employees are excited to do their best work, contribute ideas and innovate; driving business success. These professionals are also more loyal, helping your business to retain top performers.”
Increasingly, organizations recognize the link between employee engagement, company culture and business success. Nearly two-thirds of executives at the world’s most admired companies attribute 30% or more of their organization’s market value to culture—and one-third attribute 50% or more.
Building a strong company culture is a contemporary business imperative. But what senior leadership perceives as a thriving workplace environment may be different for employees. Understanding your employees’ daily experience of company culture is essential to maximizing its potential—and this starts with feedback.
3 steps to leverage feedback in the workplace for culture change
Here’s how the importance of feedback in the workplace should be used to build a stronger company culture—one where people thrive, feel connected to your organization’s purpose, and are excited to grow their career. It comes down to listening, acting and rewarding.
1 Actively listen
You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. Yet some businesses continue to rely on one-off surveys or end-of-year reviews to gauge employee sentiment. Limiting feedback to these interactions is a missed opportunity. To truly understand what your employees feel, think and need, leadership needs to listen actively throughout the year. Doing so boosts employee engagement and fosters a company culture that prioritizes innovation—two keys to business success.
“When we listen to what employees are saying, we create a feeling of psychological safety that supports creative thinking,” says Sarah Jensen Clayton, Senior Client Partner, Culture, Change & Communications. “They’re less likely to worry about what happens if an idea fails, and instead feel supported to experiment. They try new things, make mistakes, and try again—that’s how breakthroughs occur.”
To foster a culture of innovation at your company, start by building a continuous feedback loop between managers and direct reports. These face-to-face conversations can take place during daily chats and weekly one-on-ones. Asking open-ended questions encourages employees to share their perspectives and can help managers explore friction points in greater depth than a pulse survey.
Some organizations have assigned talent teams to assess whether team members feel aligned with company processes, mission, and goals. For example, on a recent Korn Ferry webinar, leaders from one of Fortune’s World's Most Admired Companies explained that they use a deliberate, global feedback approach. Questions like the following guide their process: What is important to employees from a value perspective? Is the workplace experience delivering the necessary elements to build an employee's best day with the company? What needs to be true for workers to bring their best potential to the job?