POSTED BY: | February 6, 2018

With so much investment and effort being made into office environments, culture, incentives, and perks these days…should we also be working harder on developing management?

Many companies offer top-down reviews of the company, but what about bottom-up reviews? Are your managers receiving honest feedback on their performance from the employees they serve?

Here are few reasons why honest feedback for managers is vital for culture:

      1. Bosses have the single greatest impact on employee job satisfaction 

        A study of 35,000 employees revealed that someone’s boss is the strongest predictor of job satisfaction. So why aren’t we asking employees to review their bosses on a more routine basis? And by review, I mean, a real review. Not having the boss ask the direct report “what I can do to improve?” and hope for an honest answer.

      2. Culture begins with leadership 

        People often ask how SMARI’s culture was created and how we got to be the #2 Best Place to Work in Indiana. It is easy to say all the tangible aspects that were purposely done, but that is all honestly just speaking to what elements contribute to culture, not what created it. Culture is mimicked from leadership. It is setting the example for those who are watching. The tone, the actions, the authenticity are the intangible factors set by leadership that show employees what it is to be a team member. So, are you sure your managers are setting these intangible examples?

      3. A valued employee is associated with high engagement 

        Asking for an employee’s opinion and offering the opportunity for two-way feedback helps prove that not only do you care to listen, but that they are valued. We all have seen studies about the cost of disengagement to a company. However, most companies won’t even have the opportunity in the current war for talent to see disengagement before that employee has jumped ship. So instead of continuously watching employees walk through the revolving door, see if the root problem is really coming from management.

It seems that some companies are picking up on this. SMARI, as a market research company, typically feels the trends of the market early. Lately, SMARI has been asked to help obtain honest feedback from employees in a slightly different manner and much more frequently.

Instead of the typical employee opinion survey, SMARI has been conducting (in research speak) a “moderated in-depth interview”. What does this looks like? A 30-minute phone discussion, led by an unbiased 3rd party moderator, is conducted with an employee to ask questions that are normally never asked by leadership. This provides a safe environment and contextual qualitative information that can’t be understood through a survey.

The personalized feedback, unbiased perspective, and third-party anonymity all combine to provide a true glimpse of what is going on behind the scenes.

So, when looking at cultural improvements and planning for human resource investments, before dropping the capital on a complete office makeover, take a look at leadership first. Listen to what really matters and what is really contributing to performance. Hint, hint: this is also a great way to understand how to improve before employees take that “Best Places to Work” survey.


Image courtesy Thought Catalog: