Businesses 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.

These are the headline findings of recent pan-European research carried out by enterprise feedback management software provider Questback, and released today. It found that two-thirds (70 per cent) of respondents said that employee feedback contributes to the delivery of business strategy and 82 per cent believe the content of staff surveys is aligned with corporate priorities.

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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 per cent discuss it at senior management meetings.

Frank MølleropQuestback CEO: ““When it comes to employee feedback, our research uncovered a gap between theory and practice. 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.”

However, the vast majority (90 per cent) still carry out employee surveys annually with 42 per cent every two years. 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 per cent of managers surveyed felt that current timescales were insufficient.

Questback surveyed 2,000 senior managers involved with employee feedback from organisations across the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. It revealed that once feedback is collected, it is used tactically, rather than to support strategic business goals with 81 per cent using employee insight to improve the working environment, while 73 per cent seeing it as a way to encourage dialogue between managers and employees. Less than half used feedback into business strategies to ensure that employees are aligned to strategic priorities and goals.

Organisations are beginning to take a more holistic view of employee feedback. 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 per cent of companies were able to integrate employee and customer feedback, with many blaming technical issues for holding back their plans. 



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