Employees say feedback is not up to scratch

Elissa Dennis
3rd November 2020
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Feedback at work is exactly like that. Knowing if you are doing well and where you can improve is the key to progression and development. Lacking this regular and timely input can feel like working in a bubble, removed from managers and peers, not knowing what they really think of what you’re doing. As the country prepares to move back into lockdown on November 5th, feedback will be even more crucial to those employees working remotely.

Our own research shows that most employees are fairly underwhelmed by the quality of feedback they currently get. We surveyed 2,000 workers from organisations with 50 employees or more and they only rated their feedback as 6.32 out of 10. This shows there is plenty of scope for this to improve.

Exploring the ratings further, 33% rated their feedback at 5 out of 10 or less, showing there are a significant number of employees who are very dissatisfied with what they are receiving. 10% of those surveyed said they never receive any feedback at all, which could be seriously hampering their develop and career progression. Only 9% gave their feedback full marks, rating it 10 out of 10.

All genders and generations feel the same

There was very little difference between the ratings given by male and female employees - men rated their feedback as 6.47 out of 10 and women, 6.2 out of 10. Given that the same research found that women were receiving significantly less feedback than men, it is perhaps surprising that there is not more of a disparity between the two scores.

There were also only minor variations between the different generations in the workplace. The oldest employees in the workforce, those aged 55 and above are the most dissatisfied with the feedback they are receiving. They rate it as only 6.15 out of 10 and 14% say they never receive any feedback at all. The youngest members of the workforce, those under the age of 25, rated their feedback most highly with a score of 6.49 out of 10, but this is far from a ringing endorsement.

The survey results show that employers are generally under performing when it comes to feedback and it is an area that needs close attention. This is especially relevant at time when large numbers of younger employees aged under 35, are reporting a lack of motivation.

Employees want feedback and appreciate the value of it. In the research, only 9% said they didn’t want to work in an organisation that embraces a feedback culture. Failing to provide them with useful, relevant, and timely feedback is a failure that could be very costly.

5 tips for improving feedback

We work with hundreds of organisations to help them build an effective feedback culture. From our experience, the following tips can really make a difference and help employers better meet their employees’ needs:

💡 Build feedback into other processes in your organisation. For example, when recruiting new employees, ensure that everyone involved in the process can give feedback on what worked well and what could be improved.

💡 Employees need support and guidelines to get it right. Provide practical training on how to both give and receive feedback, with examples that employees can follow and learn from.

💡 Make it as timely as possible. Feedback is most useful when it refers to something that is fresh in the memory. This will either help reinforce good practice or given the recipient an opportunity to amend their approach.

💡 Don’t give too much feedback at once. Work on the principle of “little and often”. This gives the recipient time to process and act upon it, rather than swamping them with too much information.

💡 Following up on feedback is an important part of the process. It is not just about giving it but making sure the recipient has understood and acknowledged it, and if necessary, acted upon it.

To read the full report on our research into feedback, How am I doing? including more practical tips on creating an inclusive feedback culture click here