Taking the temperature of the UK workplace: new survey

With September often heralding the post-summer holiday return-to-work blues, new data gives a snapshot into employee experience in the UK.

Image of man in office next to fan holding his head
Perkbox, an employee engagement platform, aggregated insights from all its clients’ employee pulse feedback surveys to show what’s most on the mind of employees today when it comes to ten key workplace drivers: 
  1. Quality of Life
  2. Meaningful Work
  3. Managers
  4. Strategy & Leadership
  5. Learning & Development
  6. Reward & Recognition
  7. Career Opportunities
  8. Teamwork
  9. Culture & Diversity
  10. Communication

Employee engagement and the role of managers

The impact of having a manager who listens to and acts on feedback has been shown to be a key aspect of positive employee engagement and overall employee experience.As Dr Linda Holbeche outlined at the Festival of Global People, trust – and good management – is critical in workplaces for productivity and performance.Good relationships are particularly important during times of change, with how employers treat their employees also being a key factor in the degree of trust customers put in a company or supplier. It’s therefore positive that among the 4,174 employers using the Perkbox’s Insight tool report higher satisfaction with Manager Performance. It ranked highest out of all ten measures at 4.08 out of 5 in July 2019.

Are uncertainty and economic pressures spilling over to employee engagement?

However, other indicators were less rosy. Perhaps reflecting wider economic uncertainty and economic pressures, the results for Reward & Recognition worsened, ranking last out of all ten Insights drivers in July. The majority of open-ended feedback received for this driver was “negative” (27%) or “very negative” (21%).Communication also ranked poorly, either last or second to last all year around. It was also the driver that received the most open-ended feedback by users. The majority of this feedback was “neutral” (32%) although only 9.21% of it was “very positive”.Quality of Life was yet another that returned slightly concerning results, says Perkbox, particularly given recent talks around burnout turning into a real workplace issue.Quality of Life ranked highest in Q2 2018 (4.33) and then decreased gradually throughout the year. Last month’s average was 3.71, meaning it has indeed decreased quite significantly. The majority of the open-ended feedback for this driver has been negative too (24%).

The importance of listening to and acting on feedback for employee engagement

Christopher Manning, Director of Product Management at Perkbox, says: “To accomplish workplace goals, it's important to listen and take action on meaningful feedback.“Burnout for example, is a direct result of not listening properly to warning signs from our employees. However, without tools like Insights, it’s impossible to even attempt this ‘listening’ – there is too much going on in everyone’s everyday working lives to proactively attempt to investigate everyone’s cases individually.“It’s for this reason that every one of the results is really useful, no matter how negative the scores may look at first glance.”

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