Why Are We Not Listening to Feedback at Work

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Why Are We Not Listening to Feedback at Work

Russel Lolacher . Episode 2 . 00:00

In episode two of Relationships at Work, I dig into an INC.com article on a study by Explorance and Wakefield Research to probe employees attitudes on workplace surveys in their hope to uncover the causes of employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction at work, and it’s possible linkage to employees leaving.

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  • 56% of executives say they never see the results of internal surveys.  67% say they only see certain results.
  • 70% of employees say they are eager to take surveys to share their honest feedback. And 38% say employee surveys are their preferred method of feedback, higher than any other platform.
  • 45% of employees don’t see their feedback actually changing anything.
  • Three ways not using internal surveys properly can hurt employee engagement.
  • Three things you can do in your organization when conducting a survey that will help build employee trust.

“Surveys should be tools, not checkboxes.”

Russel Lolacherf


You’re in it, you’re doing it, you’re listening to the relationships at work, employee engagement and workplace culture podcast, the sounds that you’re hearing is the voice of Russel Lolacher. That’s my broadcast training right there, you’re listening to the sounds of Russel Lolacher. That was this is coming up. Thankfully, I don’t ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, hopefully never talk like that. But what I do want to talk about is some research I came across. In this episode, it’s a solo episode, so you’re just gonna hear the tones of my voice. But in these episodes, I want to dig into articles or research that I’ve come across that I think will be enlightening, helpful, interesting, and not get the source figure some words out. In this episode, it’s gonna be about not listening to feedback, how well is feedback embraced in your organization? Is it lip service that you listen to it? Or is it actually well received, and actionable.

And that’s the thing, there’s a lot about listening. But there’s also about I heard you, and here’s what I’m gonna do about it. This piece of research, which I’m going to talk about in a moment, really dives into there a little bit more, and it’ll break your heart. It just Well, before we get into all that, I do want to remind you though, that this is a podcast, and podcast Need Your Love. If you could subscribe if you could provide feedback, a recommendation, a review on Apple podcasts. They don’t do that on Spotify, and they don’t do that on Google podcasts. So I ask that you find the buttons necessary to dig into leaving a bit of your feedback about the podcast what you think we’re early days. So early days means the more support we can get right out of the gate and grow, the better. So please, if you have some time, I’d love you to do that for me.

So what I’m talking about is this article that I came across on INC.com. And the gist of the article was, and it was called this, why are people really leaving their jobs. And the whole reason can be summed up in four words. And the four words they use and actually can only find the three was that feedback goes unheard. This is why people are leaving their jobs. That was the gist of the ink article. I will argue that the article does not do a great job about connecting, badly listened to feedback, equals people quit their jobs. But that’s why I dug even deeper and went actually into the research itself, which was actually conducted by EXPLORANCE, which is a company that’s all about employee experience management. And they commissioned a survey from WAKEFIELD RESEARCH. What they did was they talked to 2000 Americans who are part time and full time employees during the year of 2021. Most were in retail or health care of some sort. And those were split between 53% male and 46% female, and they identified 1% to non binary. Also 78% were Caucasian as well. So the point of the survey itself was it was going to probe employee attitudes on employer surveys. The point of the survey was to probe employee attitudes on employer surveys. In the survey, they claim that the surveys themselves are the main avenues for employees to provide feedback. So the point of this episode is talking about feedback, but it’s specifically around surveys themselves.

So here are the highlights. 70% of employees say they are eager to take surveys to share their honest feedback. And 38% say employee surveys are their preferred method of feedback, higher than any other platform. So this is why surveys are the focus here. Now why surveys?  68% feel like they have their voice and opinions heard through a survey. And 52% believe that it drives positive change. About half. It also means about half don’t.

The surveys, once they are completed by people… 56% of executives say they never see the results. That’s right organizations are serving their own employees. But most executives are not seeing those results at all. 67% say they only see certain results. So we’ve got business units, business organizations, whether it’s HR or whomever does an internal survey in an organization or then filtering out maybe the damning things. Maybe they didn’t want to hurt the executives feelings. That’s interesting to know. And why don’t people complete surveys? Well, 45% don’t see their feedback, actually changing anything. And 43% never see the results, or 28% see only certain results, we’re back to that censorship thing again. The other one I found funny was 21% of those surveys felt that the survey themselves don’t ever actually ask the right questions. So further into the research, they asked those people about surveys, but then they asked them if they were looking for new work, and 48% said they were and the highest of the demographics that they interviewed 53% of millennials. They were getting out of town, they were looking for new work. Now, how can this data this information, demonstrate how surveys can actually hurt? The employee engagement? Well, trust is a big one here, when I hear the results are being censored? What was the point of doing the survey to begin with what a fucking Sham, like you’re going out to tell people that you want to hear from them? But how are you building trust, if you don’t listen to them? Or that if you do provide results, they’re censored? It gets a little dicey here. Basically, they’re asking, please take some time for honest feedback. But don’t worry, you’ll never see the results. And we probably won’t do anything about it. But we’re gonna ask again, because it’s a box, we have to check. What the hell are we doing here? How else can it hurt? feeling valued. You can’t say that you value your employees, which is a nice little lip service thing to say. But one of the ways you do that is actually show that you’re listening empathically. And with follow up, it actually also makes people feel like they’re not really part of an organization. If people have ideas on how to make the workplace better, it’s because they give a crap about the workplace. Now, imagine if no one was interested in what you had to say, which the surveys are demonstrating. Why would employees ever stay engaged?

Now what can you do about it? Knowing that surveys are the most valued ways employees feel like they can be heard? Well, three ways you can look at this right now to improve workplace culture or the employee experience. You need to show the executives and the employees full results, warts, and all, you can’t get better. If you don’t know what’s wrong. Surveys should be tools, not checkboxes. No filters, people! It shows that you’ve listened, it shows transparency, it shows a want to do better. Now, the second thing you can do is tell your employees what you’re going to do and not do based on that feedback. It’s amazing what people will understand and be okay with, if you explain it to them. There’s a lot of people that think, well, you know, my idea you didn’t listen to me, you have to show that you listen to them, even if you’re not going to do their recommendation. Maybe perhaps explain why. For resourcing cost, logistics doesn’t really matter. As long as there’s context that builds trust and understanding with your employees. Surveys are an amazing tool for that if done well. And last but not least, I will say you need to communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate. You listened. What did you hear? What are you going to do about it? What are you doing about it now? Ooh, look, there’s another survey. How is that going to help? How is that going to build on the previous results? Oh, look, another survey? Are these the right questions? Can we change the questions? Communication, Collaboration, builds community, which builds a good workplace culture and employee experience. You’re supposed to all be on the same team. And a survey is an amazing tool to allow you to do that.

Because everybody then has a voice.

In the INC article, the original article, they concluded that the number one thing causing people to leave organizations is that their feedback was not being heard. Now, again, I don’t think this research demonstrated that it certainly can be a factor, but it’s not the key driver, or at least it wasn’t demonstrated from this research. But what it does show is what a broken culture can look like. So let’s do something about fixing that.

So that’ll do it for this episode of relationships at work. Thank you So much for listening. My name is Russel Lolacher And if you have any ideas, suggestions for future episodes, you can certainly email me at yourrelationshipsatwork@gmail.com. Of course, Instagram you can find us there relationships at work, or our group on Facebook relationships at work, see a theme. Well, I’m going to screw that up by telling you my twitter name is @RussLoL. Always open to talk about this stuff. I love it. Anyway, talk again soon. Take care


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