Two-thirds of UK companies don’t listen to their employees

28 per cent of companies retaliate against those who provide feedback

Two thirds of UK companies (66 per cent) aren’t good listeners and an incredible 28 per cent actively retaliate when employees give negative feedback. This is according to The O.C. Tanner Institute’s 2020 Global Culture Report which surveyed 20,000 employees and leaders across the world including almost 2,000 from the UK.

“Company leaders are poor at welcoming feedback, listening to what employees have to say and then implementing change to address concerns” says Robert Ordever, Managing Director of workplace culture specialist, O.C Tanner Europe. “The worst culprits even discourage employee feedback and then punish those who choose to give it!”

The report also reveals that 46 per cent of UK organisations only listen to employees when there is a problem, and just under a half of employees (49 per cent) feel that their ideas are taken seriously.

“Listening is far more than just asking for feedback” says Ordever. “It’s about communicating the results of feedback, acting on what you are hearing and broadcasting the changes widely. Sadly, too many organisations see ‘feedback’ as a tick box exercise involving an annual employee survey which is sent out by HR, looked at briefly and then filed. Asking for feedback just once a year means employees are left feeling ignored and undervalued.”

According to O.C. Tanner’s report, frequent active listening is a critical ingredient in daily employee experiences, helping employees to feel appreciated and motivated. Employees need to be listened to on a daily basis using a variety of different methods including pulse surveys, one-to-ones, focus groups, team meetings, dedicated suggestion boxes, social media platforms, exit interviews, internal communication and collaboration tools.

The workplace culture must also encourage employees to give their views freely. When employees feel like ‘outsiders’ and leaders fail to connect with their teams, few employees will have the confidence to ‘speak up’.

 “Employees will not voice their opinions or suggest new ideas if they fear retaliation or ridicule from the company, leaders or peers.”, says Ordever. “In fact, 20 per cent of ideas are never heard because employees are afraid to offer them up, and one-half of employees don’t speak their minds at work.”

Ordever adds, “Leaders must encourage a culture of trust, respect, inclusion and tolerance if employee feedback is to be freely given. And when leaders welcome feedback and then act upon it, companies see higher engagement, less burnout and greater innovation.”

Author: Editorial Team

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