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The state of work: Employees need feedback in order to be productive

Managers, as well as other employees, also need help.

A business professional going to work. Image © Tim Sandle
A business professional going to work. Image © Tim Sandle

There is often widespread disconnect between management and employees and seeking to contain it as best as possible should perhaps be near the top of the list for companies. A survey from the firm Betterworks looked at employees at every level to find where these gaps exist and how business leaders can close them.

The company has issued a State of Performance Enablement Report. This research exposes a common disconnect between organizational leaders, employees, and their managers. The results have been passed to Digital Journal for review.

The survey findings were gleaned from over 2,000 employees and organizational leaders in the U.S. and U.K. 

The disconnect that is central to the survey findings, can be broken down into different segments:

The perception gap

While 90 percent of leaders (including Human Resources) consider their performance management processes successful, only 55 percent of employees share this sentiment. This indicates there is a perception difference between different levels of the organisational strata.

This disparity can detrimentally impact employee empowerment, productivity levels, and perceived support for skills development.

1:1’s are critical 

Another finding is that 20 percent of employees lack access to one-on-one conversations with their managers, while 40 percent say they do not receive peer feedback.

Seven out of 10 employees report feeling highly productive when performance management is deemed successful, in contrast to five out of 10 when it is perceived as a failure.

Employees who receive feedback consistently are at least three times more likely to feel supported in their work, skills, and career development.

Middle managers need support

Managers, as well as other employees, also need help. The survey finds that two-thirds of managers express a need for greater clarity regarding their roles, increased support in delivering performance management, and assistance in guiding employees’ skills and career development.

Both employees and managers appear to lack adequate guidance to perform at their best, report feeling less enabled than leadership, and often do not have access to the right tools.

The skills squeeze 

While the vast majority of employees (86 percent) expressed the desire for career and skills development, along with coaching to support both, just over half (54 percent) see these processes as successful.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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