How To Create A Culture Of Employee Feedback

Steve Bennetts

Employee feedback culture giving support a thumb's up

Organisations embarking on an employee engagement program often start by soliciting employee feedback. However, without the right culture and expectations in place, employee feedback may not yield accurate, honest results that lead to actions that deliver a return on investment.

Qualtrics research found that employees who say their company responds to their feedback extremely well are five times more likely to stay in their roles than even those who say they respond moderately well. They’re also 12 times more likely to recommend their company to friends and family as a place to work. Therefore, a critical component of any employee engagement program is to develop a culture of employee feedback.

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Most businesses now know that they will achieve stronger overall performance if their employees are deeply engaged. This is because engaged employees tend to be more productive and effective. Creating a culture of employee feedback is the most reliable way to get the information leaders need to make meaningful changes.

A culture of employee feedback is when employees want to participate in surveys and it’s not seen as an administrative exercise for them. Managers crave the information from surveys because they know it will help them be better in their roles. Executives have bought into the business value that employee insights can bring. And the organisation as a whole sees employee feedback as a critical aspect of effectiveness, so it’s woven into the fibre of daily activities.

Changing an organisation’s culture goes beyond altering organisational structures, processes, tools, or behaviours. These are merely the visible artefacts of culture. It’s also essential to modify the values, strategies, goals and philosophies within the organisation, as well as the underlying assumptions that form the foundation of these values.

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Therefore, changing the culture to one of employee feedback takes time and proactive effort. It’s essential to start by onboarding stakeholders and understanding each group’s perspectives, motivations, and needs, then tailoring the approach accordingly.

Here are three key factors that contribute to developing a culture of employee feedback:

1. Getting executive alignment

It’s important to identify the business challenge that will be addressed through employee feedback, create urgency around it, and tie it to strategic initiatives. Critically, the conversation needs to move beyond engagement scores. A focus on scores leads to behaviours that are explicitly designed to influence or even manipulate those scores, rather than focusing on the desired outcomes of engagement. These outcomes should demonstrate clear business value and include quick wins that can help build executive alignment.

2. Measuring employee lifetime value

Employees deliver greater value over their lifetime with the organisation when successful engagement programs are in place. Some of the key outcomes include the ability to hire better people faster, reduce ramp-up time, increase the ceiling of employee contribution, and support longevity. It’s important to link these outcomes with improvements in business results to demonstrate tangible return on investment.

3. Fostering employee trust and action

There are four key elements that can help foster employee trust and action:

  1. Transparency: leaders must share all results, good or bad, and share action plans and their impacts.
  2. Trust: leaders should clearly and repeatedly communicate confidentiality or anonymity, and share results as soon as possible to avoid the perception of manipulation or obfuscation.
  3. Accountability: leaders should clearly define employee responsibility around feedback sessions, action planning, and responsibility for personal engagement. They should encourage participation without forcing it and avoid using response rates as a measure of success.
  4. Empowerment: keeping the program simple and empowering employees to come up with action plan ideas creates buy-in.

Organisations looking to compete successfully depend on the quality of their people. Regardless of the organisation’s maturity in terms of employee engagement programs, it’s possible to move the needle toward a culture of employee feedback. Doing so can deliver tangible results that contribute to the business’s bottom line, so it’s worth investing time and resources into it.


About Qualtrics

Qualtrics is a rapidly growing software-as-a-service company and the leader in experience management. More than 8,500 enterprises worldwide, including more than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 U.S. business schools, rely on Qualtrics. Our solutions make it easy to measure, prioritise, and optimize the experiences organisations provide across the four foundations of business: customer, product, employee and brand experiences. To learn more, and to request a demo, please visit


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