July 13, 2021
As organisations increasingly struggle to retain their current workforce as well as hire fast enough to keep up with consumer demand, new research from The Workforce Institute at UKG exposes a troublesome gap between employee voice and employer action that — if left unresolved — can disengage workers, fuel turnover, and hinder business performance.
‘The Heard and the Heard-Nots’ report, claims the vast majority (83 percent) of UK employees feel people at their organisation are not heard fairly or equally — and nearly half (46 percent) say that underrepresented voices remain undervalued by employers. In particular, essential workers, younger workers, non-caregiving employees, and employees who identify with underserved races and ethnicities feel less heard than their workplace counterparts.
“There is troubling inequity in the feedback loop at organisations across the globe. Despite many employees feeling personally heard by their employer, the majority see significant disparities in which employees are — and not — heard,” said Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, executive director of The Workforce Institute at UKG.
“At a time when organisations are desperately vying to attract and retain top talent, people leaders must first listen and then act upon the voice of the employee in order to sustain long-term business stability and success.”
People leaders must listen to employees — or risk losing them
Nearly two in three (60 percent) UK employees feel their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer, which may have a devastating impact on retention: One in three (34 percent) of employees would rather quit or switch teams than voice their true concerns with management.
“People leaders must first listen and then act upon the voice of the employee”
“Employee engagement is an important part of the overall employee experience, and if employees don’t feel heard, then their engagement and sense of belonging at work suffers,” said Liam McNeill, vice president, EMEA at UKG.
“Organisations must take stock of employee needs and action them with prescriptive plans to continuously improve engagement and the overall employee experience. Why? Because the research clearly shows that employee happiness and wellbeing directly correlate to positive growth for the business and its customers. It’s not only the right thing to do — it makes good business sense.”
Feedback isn’t just good for culture — it’s good for business
Employees in the UK with very high senses of belonging and engagement (both 96 percent) are significantly more likely to feel heard than those with very low engagement (33 percent) or belonging (14 percent). This has a remarkable impact on the bottom line: Organisations are much more likely to perform well financially (88 percent) when their employees feel heard, engaged, and a sense of belonging.