Encourage an Authentic Voice

HuffPost Business sheds light on the vacuum of bottom-up employee feedback in this article highlighting the critical nature of feedback to the success of organizations in the knowledge economy.

Research by Bain and Co. emphasizes the disengagement at lower levels of hierarchical organizations:

"Not only are the majority of us disengaged at work, engagement drops significantly with each organizational layer away from the CEO. The least engaged workers are front-line workers -- those who interact directly with customers."

Surveys struggle to make an impact, falling short of their mission to provide insight into organizational behavior and priorities.  Additionally, they are largely incapable of facilitating a transparent dialogue between leaders and employees:

"What's missing is a transparent dialogue between leaders and employees about what's most important to us as individual workers and collectively to our organizations and a conversation around the inevitable competing priorities. Our current methods for sourcing feedback -- annual engagement surveys and survey technologies like SurveyMonkey -- feel more like research tools designed to dissect, deconstruct and test a series of assumptions rather than a way to empathetically understand what people really think and leverage their engagement to move our organizations forward. Additionally, because of the design, build, deploy, analyze and report-out cycles required of our current feedback processes, leaders are slow to take action -- it takes 3-6 months on average to move from data collection to action planning on a typical annual employee survey. There is no wonder why more than half of companies don't even get to developing action plans and organizational trust is eroding rapidly."
There are solutions to this problem:

"It takes a progressive and forward-looking leader to spot this trend toward organizations needing to adapt to more real-time feedback processes. The good news is that there are resources available to help steer you and manage the shift. Josh Bersin, the Deloitte analyst, maps the trend and core players in his recent Forbes article: "Quantified Self: Meet Quantified Employee." The bad news is that our organizational feedback processes are entrenched by habit and woven into the fabric of core business processes. You have to be courageous to try something new."
Read the full Huff Post article here.