Here’s a scenario: Imagine you’re sitting at a table, are given geometric shapes made of construction paper, and someone is sitting behind you. You’re then told you cannot talk and can only listen to the person behind you.
Now, the person sitting behind you is about to give you instructions on how to position your shapes in a way that it makes an object, let’s say it’s a house (but you don’t know that). You look at your shapes and have a trapezoid, two triangles that are different sizes, and a couple of squares. The person behind you begins telling you how to position the shapes, they’re telling you so quickly that you have no idea where to put everything, and you’re getting frustrated.
Remember you can’t give any feedback to them to let them know that you’re having trouble, so you have to just sit there and suffer to yourself.
This is called the linear-model of communication, and it is taught in most academic settings as what not to do when communicating. So why do we see linear communication in the work place if it doesn’t work?
Data from our study on the hourly worker indicates that companies aren’t asking for feedback enough or not communicating the value of that feedback to employees.
When asked, 70% of employees said they sometimes or rarely provide ideas or feedback to their company. Companies are risking employee satisfaction and retention by not getting feedback.
Even when companies do ask for feedback though, employees feel that it is undervalued. 49% of employees sometimes feel that their feedback is valued. What kind of message are companies sending to their employees when they don’t value feedback?
There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Employees told us what they want to feel valued and connected with their employer. This is where employers need to start bridging the gap with their employees.
Communication and employee satisfaction is key to a successful company. Conduct periodic formal and informal employee surveys, and share the results with employees. Let employees know how you are using the results, keep them updated of the status of improvements, and inform them why a suggestion may not be implemented.
Employees will appreciate the transparency and feel a stronger connection to the organization.
Editor’s Note: Profile of the Hourly Worker’s first report, Demographics Devices and Disconnection was released in November 2015. It is an independent survey conducted by Edison Research on behalf of Red e App to discover insights and details about the United States hourly workforce.