A silenced workforce: Four in five employees feel colleagues aren’t heard equally
Liam McNeill, vice president, EMEA at UKG
Like all sectors, the retail industry is facing an increasing struggle to retain its current workforce and hire fast enough to keep up with surges in consumer demand. Recent global research from The Workforce Institute at UKG has exposed a troublesome gap between employee voice and employer action – suggesting that unless these issues are addressed, the retail sector could find itself in the midst of a disengaged workforce, high staff turnover, and ultimately hinder businesses performance.
The research finds that the vast majority (83%) of U.K. employees feel that people within their organisation are not heard fairly or equally — and nearly half (46%) have stated that underrepresented voices continue to remain undervalued by employers. In particular, essential workers, younger workers, non-caregiving employees, and employees who identify with underserved races and ethnicities feel less heard than their workplace counterparts.
Despite many employees feeling personally heard by their employer, the majority see significant disparities in which employees are — and not — heard. At a time when retail organisations are desperately vying to attract and retain top talent, people leaders must consider the voice of their employees as a main path to employee engagement in order to sustain long-term business stability and success.
Digging deeper into the problem, nearly two in three (60%) U.K. employees feel that their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer, which may have a devastating impact on retention. And one in three (34%) of employees would rather quit or switch teams than voice their true concerns with management.
When employees don’t feel heard or feel their needs aren’t met, they are less likely to maximise their talents and experience at their workplace — and more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. The research suggests that feeling heard drives a sense of purpose and belonging. By implementing employee feedback, people leaders can create an organisational culture of psychological safety and trust that thrives, when its people thrive.
Employees with a very high sense of belonging (95%) and engagement (92%) are significantly more likely to feel heard than those with very low belonging (25%) or engagement (30%). Ensuring that employees feel valued and listened to isn’t just good for culture, it’s good for retail business too. Organisations are much more likely to perform well financially (88%) when their employees feel heard, engaged, and a sense of belonging.
To learn more about these findings and why investing in the voices of employees should be a strategic business imperative, read The Heard and the Heard-Nots executive report from The Workforce Institute at UKG.
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