Why Feedback Is The Catalyst To Culture Change

Listen to, "What Culture Could Be," a Kazoo podcast

Is your employee engagement survey lying to you?

You could be missing out on vital feedback simply by asking the “easy” questions which can leave many of your employees feeling unheard and unnoticed and leaving you with skewed engagement results.

Creating opportunities for your employees to feel empowered to be honest and transparent about their needs and your shortfalls is a major step toward building a work culture where your employees thrive.

Thriving employees are eager to arrive at work.

Thriving employees will go the extra mile for your customers.

Thriving employees make your job as their leader so much easier.

We recently sat down with Lee Burbage, Chief People Officer at The Motley Fool, to talk about how his company utilized data-driven, honest engagement feedback as a culture-shifting, people-empowering catalyst.

Here are the highlights from what he had to say.

Creating A Culture That Benefits Both Company And Employee

Ever wondered what’s in the water at places like Google that make them such desirable long-term employers?

Hint: it’s not the compensation.

It’s their culture.

These are employers whose company culture meets the following criteria — a recipe for thriving employees, if you will:

  1. Employees are challenged every day
  2. Employees work with people they love
  3. Employees have autonomy
  4. Employees have a purpose they can believe in

Listen to episode 2 of "What Culture Could Be," a Kazoo podcast

Companies who are able to meet these culture criteria have employees willing and able to deliver and do great things for both the company and their customers.

They are companies where people want to work, want to stay, and clearly understand how their roles fulfil the greater purpose everyone is working toward.

How Employee Feedback Redefined The Fool Culture

After a series of glowing employee engagement surveys, Burbage and other managers at The Motley Fool felt something was missing and decided to dig a bit deeper to expand on the feedback they had already received from their employees.

They rolled out new engagement surveys with more data points to try to cast light on the few areas they thought needed more attention and immediately began to see where the company was falling short in taking care of its employees.

One of the biggest gaps in culture was a lack of autonomy and employees who didn’t feel a sense of empowerment in their roles.

Listen to episode two of "What Culture Could Be," a Kazoo podcast

From that honest and transparent feedback, The Motley Fool decided to do away with performance reviews, boosting worker autonomy, while helping employees better understand how their roles served the company purpose.

It took time, but this massive change was the catalyst the company needed to begin shifting their culture to one that valued and embraced the individual’s role to autonomously deliver on the company purpose.

Why Your Employees Should Be Asking You For A Raise

The Motley Fool recently rolled out “Ask For A Raise Day”, giving every employee in the business a chance to make their case for why they should be making more money. Every person who asks gets at least a small increase, regardless of how compelling their argument is.

The initiative created was after employee feedback indicated people felt like the company culture discouraged discussions on compensation between employees and their managers.

While it might seem counterproductive to just give out the extra cash, what they’ve found is the practice is empowering their employees to evaluate how their work is delivering on the greater purpose of the company (to help boost their argument and, hopefully, their salary).

It’s another intentional step The Motley Fool have taken towards shifting their company culture — one which they expect to see a high return on investment.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Lee Burbage from The Motley Fool. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to What Culture Could Be: Cracking the Company Culture Code.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.