Credit: Flickr user Phil Dolby

Lessons for Employee Feedback from Brexit

Varun 1 year and 4 months ago
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This sounds weird, right? I was surprised to find a connection here, and I just *had* to share this example with you.

tl;dr: people need a constructive outlet for their feedback, and they need to feel like they are being heard. If you don’t give them an outlet, they will find their own, and you probably won’t like the results.

Why feedback matters

Getting accurate feedback should matter to you. As a manager, good feedback is critical to understanding your team and their experiences at work. You use it to assess the state of the workplace and make improvements for your people’s productivity and happiness.

It feels good to be heard. Encourage and solicit regular feedback from your employees, and use what they’re telling you. Not only will you make things better, but employees will feel better just knowing that they’re being heard.

You can’t ignore it

pressure builds up Credit: Oliver Spalt

Pressure can build up. You must provide adequate opportunities for people to be heard. Your employees have things to say. Healthy feedback channels will allow for a steady stream of communication. If you don’t provide such channels internally, the pressure will build; feedback will be shared in non-productive channels: both internal (bitter peer-to-peer conversations) and external (Glassdoor reviews).

It goes without saying that these possibilities are bad for company culture, productivity, and recruiting. That’s why you can’t ignore feedback.

How to deal with it

The key here is to regularly solicit casual feedback from people: always be listening, and manage by walking around. Disqovery customers use our software to take care of this process. Again, the emphasis has to be on lightweight, in-the-moment, regular feedback. Employee annual surveys just don’t cut the mustard.

What about Brexit?

Whether you agree with it or not, the Brexit is happening. It is an historic period in the history of the UK and the EU, and we will watch the events unfold. Those who voted against the EU (to “leave”) did so for many reasons, but one reason in particular stood out to me, as quoted:

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah © The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

There were some people who knew exactly what they were voting for. And they didn’t necessarily want Britain to leave the EU, but they just felt that the vote was the only way to express their frustration. - Trevor Noah, The Daily Show (video)

Meanwhile, others were more isolated protest voters who simply wished to register some displeasure with the EU… - Katherine Cross, Rolling Stone

Do you see the commonality? Some Britons felt that they were not being heard by the governments managing their country. They had no accessible channels for feedback, and took advantage of a referendum vote to voice their opinions. The pressure was released in a way that many citizens and government officials have now come to regret.

Don’t ignore feedback

It’s not just a tool for making things better. It’s how you keep your culture strong.