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Bringing The Feedback Economy To The Workplace
As clients, we produce vast amounts of feedback every day, across a variety of channels (YouTube, TripAdvisor, Uber, Ebay…). This feedback is very useful to companies, but how often do companies look to their employees for feedback? Wouldn’t it be useful for companies to know how their employees are doing and what they are thinking?
The “ratings economy” described by Josh Bersin, is at the heart of Zest’s concept. This “ratings economy” or feedback economy as many others have proclaimed, is the illustration of a profound transformation of our everyday lives and of the economy. An imperceptible transformation has led us to produce and share content and experiences all the time without even paying attention, be it on Uber, YouTube, TripAdvisor or Ebay. However, these household names are not the only ones to generate vast amounts of feedback: feedback is even entering other spheres of our lives, such as education, health or employment. Perhaps you have heard of Glassdoor, a growing database of more than 8 million company reviews and 30 million users, CEO approval ratings, interview reviews and salary reports.
Barclays produced an in-depth study of the importance of feedback in the lives of British consumers. Among many other interesting statistics, Barclays found that 200 new contributions are posted on Tripadvisor.co.uk every minute and that Yelp features more than 102 million reviews. This study also insisted upon seeing feedback as a growing trend: “59% of UK consumers state that reading other people’s reviews plays an important role in helping them decide where to visit or stay.” These numbers go to show that consumers willingly produce feedback and actively seek it. This is where the deepest change in mindset has taken place: in this self-motivation to share and review our personal opinions.
But it would also be very restrictive to think that feedback is exclusively sparked by and sought after by consumers. Many businesses actually strongly value and encourage feedback, because consistent and honest customer feedback is a way to attract new customers, improve business reputation, increase awareness of problems in the business and also improve employee morale.
At Zest, we have come to realize the mutual benefits of feedback, for customers as well as businesses. But there seems to be something missing: why do businesses value customer satisfaction and feedback and yet overlook these aspects for their own employees? Could the benefits of the feedback culture be transferred to the workplace? How useful would it be for a CHRO to have an instant view of his/her company’s mood and be able to spot organizational and/or personal difficulties? How can feedback cure some of the problems in the workplace? These are some of the questions we have strived to answer by creating the Zest app.
A major difficulty in the workplace is the lack of engagement of employees. Gallup’s study, among so many others, even went to proclaim that 85% of employees are “not engaged” in their workplace, meaning that they do not fully identify with their company, that they would not recommend their current position to a friend, or that they do not envision staying in the same business definitely. But other difficulties in the workplace are also important, such as the lack of bottom up and horizontal communication, the lack of creativity that employees are able to bring to the table, or the lack of recognition received by employees, which collectively lead them to become disengaged.
85% of employees are “not engaged” in their workplace.
We firmly believe that encouraging regular and productive feedback is a great way to address most of these issues. But not only having instant access to what various teams are thinking and feeling is also without a doubt a way to improve management at an individual level, but also from a corporate perspective. Communication and productive feedback are crucial in every business and enabling employees to voice their ideas and perceptions will in turn increase their sense of recognition and engagement in the business.