Using Employee Feedback Data to Train the Next Generation of Management

Employee Experience 3 min read

In the wake of today’s talent challenges, having an engaged employee base is critical to success in any industry. As Baby Boomers retire, the need to shape younger workers to fill available management roles grows stronger. Function area leaders in HR and recruiting are subsequently looking to analyze employee feedback data to identify and act on trends in training and retention.

What is Employee Feedback Data?

Employee feedback data helps to retain top talent by keeping stakeholders engaged, happy and productive, and also plays a role in shaping the professional development of young workers looking to ascend the corporate ladder through continuous feedback.

Employees crave ongoing positive, constructive feedback—in fact, 98% of employees will fail to be engaged without adequate recognition and feedback from an employer. Further, companies that implement a regular feedback program have a decreased rate of voluntary turnover of nearly 15%. This means that deploying a thoughtful, cohesive engagement plan is a key part of any retention strategy.

Key Metrics

Analyzing qualitative data can be difficult if you aren’t sure which aspects to emphasize. Depending on the needs of your business, as well as the industry, these metrics can vary, but they should all focus on the happiness and engagement of your workforce. Common benchmarks include:

  • Personal and Professional Growth – Growth, in all its forms (salary, title, recognition), is an intrinsic motivator for the majority of people. Tracking and measuring growth for each individual should be at the center of any employee management program since it helps establish a career trajectory and keeps a finger on the pulse in terms of retention.
  • Value Alignment – It’s important for businesses to hire and retain employees who share their values. Employees who authentically believe what you do, and understand and support your mission, are worth their weight in gold in workplace culture.
  • Ambassadorship – Alignment is the first step, but are your employees willing to be advocates for your brand? Are they excited to come to work, and equally as excited to talk about what they do to potential clients and future employees? If the answer is yes, then your company has achieved a level of trust and satisfaction with your employees to the degree that they feel comfortable serving as its ambassadors.
  • Relationship with Peers and Management – Collaboration is key. Successfully gauging the relationship an employee has with their peers has real-time project and client implications; it’s indicates a team’s level of cohesiveness and probability of success and retention over time. Additionally, having an open and honest relationship as a manager is important. You want your direct reports to feel comfortable using you as a sounding board, receiving criticism and bringing up concerns.
  • Satisfaction – An amalgam of factors including the above, employee satisfaction can be the hardest but most critical metric to consider. A company can more directly quantify this by measuring employee happiness with different aspects of the job including compensation, workplace environment and role clarity.
  • Recognition – A 2015 poll of more than 200,000 global employees showed that workers placed appreciation for their work at the top of a list of the 10 most important job factors –   including base pay, which ranked towards the bottom of the list. In the years since, the idea has been seconded by organizational psychologists and HR pros. Employees need to be paid a fair wage, sure, but they more often than not value appreciation and recognition amongst their peers above all else.

Measurement Methodology

As stated, subjective metrics are notoriously difficult to aggregate, but professionals have a variety of methods at their disposal in order to collect the most actionable information possible from their employees.

  • Goal Management – Goal setting is a useful method because of its iterative nature; you can work with employees to set personal, time-specific goals that reflect their professional aspirations, help them measure their efforts against it, and then ultimately re-evaluate and re-set their markers for success.
  • 1:1 Check-ins – Employees value one-on-one interactions because it’s a way to get constructive feedback and positive reinforcement from a respected manager. He or she knows that the company is personally investing time into hearing their concerns and offering support in a private setting.
  • Surveys and Polls – Surveys are a great way to collect a larger amount of feedback data at one time. In certain cases, anonymity is beneficial in that employees might feel more comfortable providing more transparent feedback.
  • Recognition and Rewards – Employees value recognition over other forms of gratification, including base compensation. Publicly recognizing top performers, as well as rewarding them commensurately – be it in a title change, incentive or another type of reward – will keep employees positively engaged and satisfied.

HR professionals are moving towards enterprise-level performance management software to tie all these disparate aspects of employee engagement together in one place. Using a comprehensive software platform can also help predict future trends impacting retention, training, and development.

Application for a Younger Workforce

Employee feedback data is one of the best ways to collect and analyze employee sentiments about workplace culture and their role in it, which in turn will help you build a growth plan reflective of younger employees’s diverse needs. Quantifying employee experience also offers the opportunity for continuous growth and has the added benefit of scalability as your company itself grows and adapts to a changing demographic. Leveraging technology like a performance management platform helps to train a critical eye to parse data and isolate key metrics to set young workers on a clear path of professional growth and success.

Maddie Davis is the Co-Founder & Editor for Enlightened-Digital. An avid amateur website designer, she writes primarily on how tech and society intersect, and responsible technology usage in an increasingly digital world.