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The importance of feedback – 5 tips to turn employee data into action

from  February 22, 2024 | 3 min read

Unit4 has teamed up with UNLEASH to conduct extensive research into how organizations support their people managers to provide an exceptional employee experience and deliver a thriving workplace culture.

Understanding and nurturing employee experience involves listening to employee feedback and using data tools to optimize collecting, analyzing, and acting on the data. 

In this blog, we will explore what employee experience is, why it matters, and how it can be shaped by providing people managers with the right tools to gain key insights and take action.

Why does employee experience matter? 

Employee experience is a holistic view of an employee's entire journey with an organization, from the interview process to their eventual departure. 

An engaging and positive employee experience makes employees feel valued and appreciated, resulting in improved engagement and alignment with corporate goals.

On the other hand, a negative or poorly managed employee experience leads to disengagement, a drop in productivity, and a rise in turnover rates. 

Creating a positive employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle is a challenge - UNLEASH reports that 69% of organizations say line managers play either an ‘integral’ or ‘make or break’ role in developing a positive employee experience, yet only 25% feel sure line managers have the right tools to enhance employee experience.

UNLEASH makes clear that organizations are currently lacking the data insight or tools to optimize employee experience, which has become even more important as a result of ‘quiet quitting’ and global talent shortages.

Traditional work environments have changed and sparked a significant shift in what employees want and need from their role to feel ‘engaged’. 

Disenchanted employees continue to hold onto their positions but mentally check out – Gallup suggests that more than 50% of the global workforce do “the bare minimum.”

Both these trends underline the need for organizations to focus on their employee experience and revisit talent strategies as well as their methods for gathering and analyzing employee data.

The role of employee feedback

UNLEASH reports that a continuous feedback loop provides “the chance to strengthen employee-manager relationships and align management practices with the wider mission of the organization.”

UNLEASH report on the current ways in which feedback, and general employee data, are gathered by the organizations surveyed:

  • Exit Interviews (63%)
  • Pulse surveys (50%)
  • 1:1 sessions (50%)
  • 360 performance reviews (35%)

These worrying statistics demonstrate that people managers lack the data to proactively turn around employee engagement rates before an employee leaves an organization as most (63%) of organizations don’t get feedback until exit interviews.

The Unleash report found that only 54% of organizations provide people managers with employee listening and engagement data, which shows crucial feedback is being underutilized or completely missed.

When employees see that their feedback has been turned into action by their manager, they feel respected and more open to providing in-depth feedback, especially when feedback surveys are regular and personalized to different points in the employee cycle.

Click to read Unit4 HCM product brochure Gated 

5 tips to turn feedback into action

UNLEASH reports that only 31% of businesses maintain a continuous feedback loop with people managers, while 39% analyze the data against problem areas of the business – both indications that most organizations are missing out on opportunities to optimize their employee experience.

Here are 5 ways that data tools can provide managers the insight needed to take proactive action based on employee feedback.

1. Analysis

Managers must analyze and compare employee feedback to understand recurring themes. When managers have tools to analyze and gain visibility of data, they can much better address imbalances and understand where actions will have the most effect.

Real-time insights will allow your Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to make data-led and proactive decisions, whether there are development needs for particular people managers, cross-training opportunities, issues relating to the working environment, or maybe a lack of initiatives and frameworks to empower the employee.

2. Strategy

Organizations need a strategic action plan to ensure long-term changes to employee engagement rates. This could mean revamping an old policy, investing in professional development programs, or minor changes in daily operations. 

A continual feed of information will allow your SLT to be proactive in reviewing data, assessing trends, and getting ahead of the curve in deploying or amending initiatives, policies, and procedures to demonstrate your commitment to creating the optimal workplace culture.


New report: Empowering people managers to create a positive, engaged workforce

Learn more


3. Implementation

Implementation of feedback requires courageous leadership and direct communication with executives and stakeholders. When people managers are empowered with data, they can present the case for change easily and decision-makers can more clearly understand how implementation will lead to change.

On the other hand, when changes are implemented, they can be recorded succinctly and people managers can easily monitor change, positive and negative, and also easily report on increased engagement to stakeholders and executives.

Finally, when employees see that their feedback has been implemented, they are more likely to engage with HR processes in the future and more open in their feedback.

4. Diligence

Organizations must focus on ensuring review and feedback processes are not a yearly box-ticking exercise but a routine data-gathering process. Pulse surveys ensure feedback and discussion are encouraged throughout the employee cycle, all recorded in one place for both people managers and employees to refer to.

The Unleash report found that only 31% of businesses maintain a continuous feedback loop with people managers, while 39% analyze the data against problem areas of the business – both indications that most organizations are missing out on opportunities to optimize their employee experience and make better decisions informed by data.

5. Employee ownership

Microsoft reports that employees are 121% more likely to feel valued by their company when they have access to high-quality data experiences, including ownership and visibility of their performance data and documents.

When employees feel they have ownership of the performance management process and its subsequent documentation, they can have more open and honest discussions with managers, which ultimately creates more in-depth and valuable feedback.

The right tools will support feedback on several levels including internal feedback between peers and constructive suggestions for development or improvement. This encourages a collaborative culture, where individuals feel valued and supported by their peers as well as their managers.

How Unit4 can empower your people managers with data solutions

People managers can’t manage what they don’t have data on, and without real-time data insight and continuous feedback loops, managers will struggle to turn around employee engagement rates.

Unit4 Cloud-based solutions such as ERP, HCM, and FP&A work together to allow organizations to re-focus on their people. Particularly, the Talent Management module of our HCM solution is key in turning employee feedback into action.

You can learn how Unit4 can provide the data tools you need in this blog, or you can download the full Unleash report here

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