At BetterWorks, we think feedback is the bloodline of an organization. Feedback, whether negative or positive, motivates employees and keeps teams working toward broader company goals. As our white paper, “Performance Management and Goals” pointed out, in the modern workplace, all employees are considered valuable contributors to the enterprise, and they want to be treated that way.
That’s why we’re convinced outdated performance management systems are hurting employee engagement. As a recent Gallup survey revealed, less than one-third of U.S. employees were fully engaged in their jobs in 2014. So what can organizations do to counter these trends? We believe consistent feedback that is informed by interactive goal setting software is a major piece of the engagement puzzle.
It Starts with Management
Employee engagement in the workplace is largely driven by management. After all, managers are responsible for giving mid- and entry-level employees feedback on their work, inspiring teams and ensuring company goals are being achieved. However, research from Gallup showed managers are responsible for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement.
Often times, managers get stuck between executives who are too busy dealing with upper-level affairs and the demands of their teams to engage in valuable conversations about their performance and career growth. Beyond that, some executive-level leaders struggle to give constructive feedback to the managers who are leading their teams. This, in turn, can lead to underperforming, unengaged team leaders.
But Who is Most Engaged, Anyways?
While managers’ engagement levels certainly have an impact, it’s also important to consider who exactly among employees is most engaged. According to a study conducted by Leadership IQ, in 42 percent of organizations, low performers are actually more engaged in their work than high or middle performers.
“Low performers are actually more engaged in their work than high or middle performers.”
Of course, there are many factors that could lead to this discrepancy. However, at BetterWorks, we think roadblocks in giving consistent, regular feedback are a big part of the problem. Without systems in place for giving feedback regularly and holding low performers accountable, high performers feel their work is undervalued and lose the motivation to aspire to create great work.
The Power of Positive Feedback
However, the feedback issue as it relates to engagement isn’t just about accountability. High performers need to feel appreciated and be able to visualize a clear path to growth in their careers. According to an infographic by OfficeVibe, companies that implement regular employee feedback see 14.9 percent lower turnover rates, and 43 percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week. With the right tools in place, like goal setting software and a performance management model that relies on objectives and key results, companies can successfully counter issues of employee engagement in the workplace.