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Knowing your business: Building a positive culture through staff feedback

Businesses aren’t static. As companies grow, the way the business operates needs to change, whether that involves hiring more people, working with more clients or customers or offering different services or products. As a result, everything from the structure of the organisation to the company culture must adapt to suit the needs of employees.

Engagement surveys are an effective way of consolidating these opinions in a single place, but often can be lower down the list of priorities for a business. Taking the time to review staff engagement can do a lot for your company. Recognising the benefits this practice brings – both for staff and leaders – is key to ensuring it’s a strategic focus for your business and your people.

Keeping your people on side

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At its core, understanding employees and their engagement with your business helps retention. If a business knows what challenges its people are facing, it can adjust its processes, establish improved ways of working, and respond to a specific issue before staff begin to feel demotivated, perform poorly and in extreme cases make the decision to leave.

While interactive feedback sessions such as focus groups or one-to-one catch ups are also important, they don’t always result in the clearest feedback, as it is usually anecdotal or specific to a situation, rather than something that you and your leadership team can action immediately. Equally, some employees may feel less comfortable airing their thoughts in a face-to-face setting, which not only means they’ll still feel frustrated afterwards, but also removes the opportunity to improve your business’ practices.

By contrast, with a more structured format like a survey, staff can provide feedback on your business anonymously, which will improve the overall honesty of the feedback. Plus, because they can respond at a time that’s convenient to them, employees are also likely to provide more detailed information, ensuring you can make improvements which staff will really appreciate. When put together in a considered way, a survey can provide your business with a more accurate image with which to improve processes, as well as ensuring staff remain motivated and on board.

Keeping your A-game strong

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Understanding how engaged staff are also ensures a business remains effective. Even if productivity is at an all-time high and the company has the greatest culture it could wish for, organisations can still gain a lot by collecting key insights from their staff almost in an attempt to bottle the source of their success.

For example, engagement surveys can often highlight challenges with people management. Communication is often at the root of these issues, so it could be advisable to create a physical space in the office to encourage improved conversations and transparency with employees. Alternatively, you may need to review how managers delegate and share feedback with their team members, ensuring that employees feel empowered and motivated in their jobs. Challenges like these can be resolved by investing in specific management training so that people in these roles are being set up for success. 

The views that employees provide will allow you to make enhancements, which will enable staff to maximise their performance. By understanding the direction your company, its culture and people are heading, you can make preparations accordingly –  from rolling out the latest technology to implementing a new working practice that will keep employees motivated, engaged and satisfied. As a result, you will see your team consistently achieving high results. Any developments or new initiatives the business implements will allow staff to continue producing great work as they’ll be doing their job in the way that makes them feel most productive.

Hearing the music

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But for business leaders, one of the most important benefits of understanding the sentiment and opinions of staff is that it gives senior management an opportunity to get honest feedback on their business. This can sometimes be hard to hear, but the best leaders are resilient leaders, so ensuring you and your senior team understand what needs improving – as well as what’s going well – is vital to maintaining a robust leadership team.

Receiving this feedback can be challenging – especially if you have felt that the organisation and its culture have been great up until now – but it’s an important opportunity for growth and development. Being open to this kind of feedback means that managers and leaders can obtain valuable insights on how certain practices are resonating with staff.

Of course, there are some occasions where a small minority of people in the business are not engaged and need to share challenging feedback. It’s here that you need to acknowledge that you can’t please everyone. Instead, focus on key themes that appeal to the overall culture and sentiment of people within your organisation, as this will make a positive impact on the business.

While engagement surveys can seem like an added effort to implement and then action, they have the potential to improve the way your company operates, to create a culture where feedback is seen as a positive way of working  and ultimately, nurture your company’s most important asset – its people.

About: Aliya Vigor-Robertson

Aliya started her HR career in 1996 and co-founded JourneyHR in 2010. Aliya works with Founders and business leaders in the creative industry and advises them on creating sustainable and creative cultures where their people can thrive and their businesses get great results.

Employee Engagement Survey for DBA Members

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Employee engagement goes beyond simple job satisfaction. It combines commitment to the organisation and its values with a willingness to go the extra mile for colleagues.

There is evidence to suggest that engaged employees are both more productive and more fulfilled than their less engaged counterparts. Engagement is therefore a key ingredient for organisational success and employee wellbeing.  

Show your employees their voices are valued and heard by taking part in our Employee Engagement Survey, open 6-20 September 2019. The survey will quickly and effectively provide your organisation with employee insights, and your results will be put in context using benchmark scores based on DBA members. The detailed report of findings containing commentary, charts and analysis by subgroup (such as company type, employee age group and so on) will show how engaged your employees are, as well as their views on key topics such as leadership, communications, retention and line management. 

Don’t miss out on this robust and cost-effective approach to employee engagement insights and benchmarking. If you have any questions please contact eleanor.singh@dba.org.uk | Eleanor Singh, Project Manager, DBA.

Image credits:

Federico Beccari from Unsplash
Luke Ow from Unsplash
Rodion Kutsaev from Unsplash
Matthew Kalapuch from Unsplash

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