Australian workers crave consistent feedback to improve leadership capability and job performance

Australian workers crave consistent feedback to improve leadership capability and job performance

Strong leadership is crucial in any organisation because culture tends to follow the leader’s example. A positive leader with good instincts will attract like-minded people, while negative leaders can damage morale and make it difficult for talented staff to do their best work. A recent global survey conducted by Qualtrics found that consistent and regular feedback is crucial to developing strong leaders.

The survey included more than 300 Australian employees and revealed that, despite a historical reputation for being dismissive of authority, Australian workers prefer to receive regular feedback from both managers and co-workers. It also revealed that Australian workers see a strong correlation between their own performance and the quality of their manager’s performance.

Bill McMurray, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics, said, “Managers that listen to their staff and show them that they’re valued are most likely to get top-level performance from their teams. When people feel heard and understood, they’re more likely to go the extra mile for their employer or manager. That’s what strong leadership looks like: fostering a group of people who want to perform at their best to contribute to the growth of their organisation and in turn, their careers.”

Results from the recent Qualtrics survey reinforce this view. Some of the key findings are:

  • Most people believed their managers were at least somewhat effective in helping them perform well. More than half (57 per cent) said their managers were ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ effective. Only five per cent said they weren’t effective at all.
  • Half (50 per cent) of respondents said their manager was ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ effective at helping them advance their career.
  • When it comes to being upfront with managers, 39 per cent said they could candidly tell managers what they think about work issues most of the time. A third (33 per cent) said they could always be candid with managers and 23 per cent said they could be candid about half the time or sometimes. Only five per cent said they could never be candid.
  • 65 per cent of people said their manager sincerely considers their opinions on work issues ‘always’ or ‘most’ of the time, demonstrating that leaders are listening to their staff.
  • 34 per cent of employees said their employer was very dedicated to giving them development opportunities to advance their careers. Just 16 per cent said their employer wasn’t dedicated at all.

The survey also demonstrated the value of performance reviews and 360-degree feedback for workers, most of whom want to receive regular feedback to improve in their job. This process lets companies identify potential future leaders, then encourage their development in that direction.

Bill McMurray said, “Capturing feedback across the entire employee lifecycle encourages a culture of long-term personal and career development, open communication, and engagement. Listening and acting on employee feedback develops strong bonds between the employees and the company through their leader. It is well proven that highly engaged employees provide superior service and experiences to customers and this in turn creates higher customer satisfaction, loyalty and propensity to spend. This demonstrates the clear linkage between effective employee engagement strategies and the impact on revenue growth.”

The study revealed that performance reviews are considered invaluable:

  • Two thirds of respondents said performance reviews were ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ important to helping them improve their job. Less than 15 per cent said they were only ‘slightly’ or ‘not at all’ important.
  • 37 per cent said feedback from performance reviews had been very helpful for career advancement; 40 per cent said that feedback was somewhat helpful.

The study also revealed that most employees want to know what their co-workers think of their performance:

  • Most respondents receive 360-degree feedback from co-workers more than once per year: 12 per cent annually, 13 per cent half-yearly, 16 per cent quarterly, 18 per cent monthly, and 9 per cent weekly.
  • 71 per cent said 360-degree feedback from co-workers was ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important in helping them to improve at their job. Just 3 per cent said it wasn’t at all important.
  • 79 per cent said 360-degree feedback from co-workers was ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ helpful to their career advancement.

Nearly one-third (32 per cent) of respondents said that feedback from co-workers and performance reviews from managers were equally helpful in terms of job performance.

Bill McMurray said, “Running regular 360-degree surveys, performance reviews, and pulse surveys doesn’t just help identify strengths and weaknesses; it also helps employees feel valued. Contrary to popular belief, Australian workers don’t see constant input as stifling or overbearing. They crave that input so they can improve the way they do their jobs. Therefore, companies looking to develop strong leaders must start by managing employee engagement and performance effectively through consistent feedback.”