What provokes an employee to leave a negative review on Glassdoor or a thinly veiled takedown of their company on LinkedIn? In most instances, it’s low employee engagement. The rise of external feedback forums from Twitter to Reddit has ushered in a new age of employee feedback, one where employees can easily find a platform with global reach to voice their concerns with a workplace, past or present. As organizations continue to feel the impacts of the “Great Resignation,” they must take these criticisms seriously.
One particular example; a subreddit forum on Reddit called “Anti-Work” recently made headlines due to its rapidly growing popularity. With over 1.9 million members sharing anecdotes of toxic workplace practices and memes outlining inequalities within corporate structures, it stands as a clear sign that employees are actively looking for venues to voice their frustrations. That’s why promoting a strong internal feedback process is so important.
Workday’s Lauryn Bissell, senior business psychologist, and Gabriel Dizon, manager of customer success, recently joined a podcast with Nick Ciavatta at Argyle Insider to discuss the drivers motivating employees to share negative feedback externally. They further discuss the parallels between markers of engagement and the actions businesses can take to promote a more open and inclusive culture.
Below are a few highlights from the conversation, edited for clarity.
“A big question we always ask leaders is: ‘How do we create an outstanding experience for employees that makes them want to share positive stories in these external avenues?’ Because the reality is employees will go to these outlets.” —Gabriel Dizon
“The first step is to have an internal listening strategy. And not only an internal listening strategy, but one that is safe and inspires confidence in terms of: Does an employee believe that their responses are confidential? We also want to make sure they’re being listened to, that their feedback is being listened to. If we want to quell this need to go external and share discontent, we must have an internal outlet where they can do that.” —Gabriel Dizon
“A core component of a healthy culture is psychological safety. That’s the capacity to share your voice without fear of negative consequences to your self-image, to your status, or your career. Companies must create an environment that actively encourages people to give feedback, share their ideas, be creative, and not have to worry about negative consequences.” —Lauryn Bissell
“My advice to these organizations is to take your engagement seriously. If you value what you do as a company, the product you provide to the public, and ultimately the experience you’re trying to give to your employees, then you need to focus on engagement because it's at the top of their minds. If they’re disengaged enough to leave, you’re going to lose talent, and ultimately, it’s going to impact your brand in the public space.” —Gabriel Dizon
“Our work defines a crucial part of how we see ourselves, our self-esteem, our self-efficacy. It really gives us the opportunity to satisfy those needs when we’re in a culture that is strong and healthy and is developing us.” —Lauryn Bissell