Identifying Employee Needs in 2020: Highlights from Reflektive’s New Survey

By Carrie Vick, Director of Customer Success, Reflektive

How, where and when we work may have changed, but one thing has remained constant during this unprecedented year — the need for performance programs. According to Scott Darby, Operating Vice President at TPG, “Many companies are now making thoughtful decisions on workforce planning and investing in a culture that seeks to attract, retain and develop great talent for the long term. These investments will enable them to grow their businesses at scale when the conditions are right and focus on human capital as they enter this new phase of growth(Identifying Employee).”

Surveying 445 HR professionals and business leaders and 622 employees, our 2020 Performance Management Benchmark Report captures the current state of work, how performance programs have changed since 2018, and how business leaders, HR teams and employees feel about “the new normal.”

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Employees share how best to support them

The number of remote employees has jumped 2X, to 42% of the US labor force. Given this change, we asked employees what would be most helpful for them right now. The most helpful benefits cited by employees were an improved work-from-home setup, better medical coverage, and 401k matching. For staying engaged, ongoing communication from leadership and colleagues, along with virtual all-hands, were top of mind. Lastly, for workers to feel secure in their job, they recommended that managers provide regular recognition and feedback on performance and check in on mental health.

Employees desire more coaching and feedback

The survey revealed employees want more from their performance programs, particularly when it comes to coaching, feedback and recognition. Since 2018, there’s been a 3.2X increase in the percentage of employees who desire recognition and an 89% increase in employees who desire formal feedback conversations monthly or more frequently.

Companies should revisit their performance programs to ensure they address the needs of today’s remote workforce. Feedback and coaching may have happened informally, such as during 1:1s and after team meetings. As workers stay remote into 2021 or even indefinitely, manager training on how to ask important questions and provide valuable, regular feedback will be beneficial in addressing employee needs.

Employees are unsure of feedback processes

One discrepancy between leaders and employees was sentiment around initiating feedback conversations. Thirty percent of employees felt that they weren’t empowered to request feedback — and only 14% of HR professionals and business leaders had similar sentiment on employee feedback processes. It’s clear that HR teams are overestimating how comfortable employees are with initiating feedback conversation. Also, we found that 25% of employees don’t know how to request feedback. Performance management technology – including feedback prompts and 1:1 tools — can help prompt these discussions.

Employees are optimistic for the future

Despite tighter budgets, many business and HR leaders remain optimistic and anticipate more investment in technology (35% of respondents) and more efforts to boost engagement and retain employees (29% of respondents).

Employees also retain a sense of optimism, with 26% of employees expecting to have learned new skills and 25% believing they’ll feel proud of their accomplishments. This unprecedented time presents a unique opportunity for managers and employees to build deeper relationships, as we are all united in the same struggle.

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