Employee Feedback

How (and Why) Employee Feedback Drives Engagement

April 11, 2022
November 7, 2023
Sydney Triggs
Lattice Team

Employee feedback doesn’t get talked about enough.

Many people think of it as a given, but all teams should be intentional about making it an integral part of their day-to-day operations. This is because employee feedback doesn’t just encourage professional development and spur richer communications, it can have a powerful effect on employee engagement levels and workplace culture as a whole.

In fact, a Zippia study found that:

  • 85% of employees take more initiative when they receive feedback in the workplace
  • 73% of employees are better collaborators when they receive feedback in the workplace
  • 48% of employees care more about their work when they receive feedback in the workplace

If you want to boost your company’s employee engagement with feedback, keep reading. We’ll cover when you should collect employee feedback and outline four concrete reasons why it positively affects engagement.

We’ve also got an eBook on why integrating performance management and engagement is a winning strategy for people-first businesses. Download it here.

Why Employee Feedback Matters

Employee feedback is written and verbal feedback that’s exchanged between colleagues. It can be exchanged either between team members or colleagues with different seniority levels. 

Employee feedback should always be constructive, but it can be positive, negative, or neutral depending on the circumstances. It can also relate to anything from general employee performance to specific incidents and tasks.

When to Ask for Employee Feedback

There’s no wrong time to collect employee feedback. In fact, collecting frequent feedback in a variety of different scenarios can lead to higher employee engagement.

As Pinfra Managing Director David Adler puts it: “A manager who provides daily feedback to their employee is more likely to make her/his employee more engaged than a manager who provides one piece of feedback every year.”

With this in mind, there are various types of employee feedback, and they align with different contexts and professional situations. Here are a few examples:

  • Formal feedback: Employee feedback is traditionally exchanged in formal settings like performance reviews, monthly check-ins, human resources meetings, and one-on-one chats with management. These are great environments to provide honest feedback and have private conversations in.
  • Informal feedback: To collect regular feedback, you’ll need to rely on informal contexts just as much as formal ones. Providing informal feedback is also key if you want to boost employee engagement, because it creates a feedback-rich company culture. Some great examples of informal employee feedback include posts in messenger apps like Slack, pulse surveys, team meetings, and suggestion boxes.
  • Specific feedback: Concrete events, initiatives, or circumstances often call for actionable feedback. For instance, when your team has finished a highly successful product launch, that’s a great time to exchange positive feedback. 
  • General feedback: General feedback overlaps with informal feedback, but it deserves its own entry. Constructive feedback doesn’t need to happen because of anything or at any specific time. Providing quick, general comments here and there are important parts of any feedback loop.

4 Reasons Why Employee Feedback Increases Engagement

There’s an undeniable connection between effective employee feedback and employee engagement

  1. Feedback provides great informal recognition opportunities
  2. Feedback shows commitment to other employees’ growth and long-term careers
  3. Feedback fosters a candid, authentic company culture
  4. Feedback boosts employee motivation

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

1. Feedback provides great informal recognition opportunities.

Recognition has a huge impact on both employee engagement and satisfaction. Tellingly, a Bonusly report found that 71% of highly engaged organisations regularly recognise their employees for their hard work.

Only 41% of less engaged organizations do the same.

The relationship between employee recognition and engagement is logical. When people feel appreciated, they’re more likely to feel enthusiastic, connected, and dedicated to their workplace.

Providing regular feedback is an easy way to informally recognise employees who are doing a great job. There’s no need to rely on formal settings and annual appraisals to offer praise, so why not give employee engagement a regular boost with informal positive feedback?

2. Feedback shows commitment to other employees’ growth and careers.

The rise of remote work and distributed global teams have resulted in a wealth of professional opportunities. It’s not enough to simply pay your employees a salary and call it a day. Workers want to feel passionate about what they do and assured that their employer is invested in their personal growth and professional future.

If employees don’t feel like their employers care about their career trajectory, they’ll likely have one foot out of the door and can suffer from low engagement. As many as 82% of employees in a CareerAddict study reported that they’d quit their job if they didn’t have any career growth opportunities.

So, providing employees with regular feedback is a fantastic way to demonstrate that you want them to perform well and continue moving up the ranks in your company. Even when you’re offering constructive criticism, remind employees that you’re doing so because you believe in them and want to see them flourish.

Essenvia VP of Product & Growth Daivat Dholakia believes fostering employee loyalty is just as important as fostering customer loyalty. He says:

“Just as it’s easier to keep existing customers loyal, it’s also infinitely easier to keep existing employees vs. having to go through the hiring process… You want to do everything in your power to keep your existing employees happy and satisfied in their current position so that you can successfully stay out of the Great Resignation.”

3. Feedback fosters a candid, authentic company culture.

A rich, close-knit company culture is essential to the long-term success of any business. This is even more important for remote teams who don’t get to see each other face-to-face very often. 

People are at the core of any business. So, the better your employees work together and actually enjoy doing so, the more they’ll be able to get things done and produce high-quality results.

If you make employee feedback a regular part of your business’s day-to-day operations, employees will get used to being candid and transparent with each other. Rather than feeling shy or hesitant to bring up their thoughts and ideas, they’ll increasingly feel comfortable communicating and making sure everyone is working towards a common goal.

This kind of authentic company culture makes for a highly engaged workforce.

Digital Marketing Strategist Gerrid Smith is a strong advocate for fostering open communication between employees. “If you don’t foster a culture of openness in your workplace, your employees will be reluctant to share their thoughts and ideas,” he warns. “A good place to begin is with an open-door policy. If you want to set an example, you must be available for assistance and feedback at all times.”

4. Feedback boosts employee motivation.

When people are motivated, they’re generally happier and work more effectively. Companies should be doing everything in their power to ensure that their employees get excited about their work, day-in and day-out. One of the best ways to do that is by exchanging feedback.

At the end of the day, human beings are simple creatures. We love receiving positive feedback. When we accomplish something and receive praise for it, we feel motivated to try and replicate the same situation in the future.

Motivation can also be generated from negative feedback and constructive criticism. If we care about something and don’t get ideal results on our first attempt, we want to work hard and do better next time.

Another key element to motivation is making employees feel heard. Asking them about their general thoughts, perspectives, and concerns makes it clear that they’re valued within their workplace.

According to Insurance Geek and Fat Agent CEO Brad Cummins: “Employees feel valued and respected when they're asked for feedback on how things are going or what they think could be improved. They feel like they're contributing to change and improvement, rather than being told what to do by management. This leads to increased engagement and motivation as staff feel empowered by the opportunity to provide valuable input.”

Overall, employee motivation and engagement go hand-in-hand and offering regular employee feedback can help give both of them a boost.

Building Engaged Workplaces With Employee Feedback

If you want your company to reap the benefits of a highly engaged workforce, having your employees exchange regular, high-quality feedback is paramount.

Doing so provides fantastic employee recognition opportunities, shows commitment to career growth, fosters authentic company culture, and boosts employee motivation. 

Who knew that employee feedback could be such a valuable tool?

If you want to dive deeper into employee engagement and discover how to pair it with performance management, download our eBook: Performance and Engagement- Better Together.