We’ve all received them. Those inappropriate, ill-conceived or lacklustre Christmas presents that leave you wondering, just what in Santa’s name were they thinking? Last year Australians received almost 20 million unwanted gifts, according to the online classifieds, Gumtree. Which means many of us have become practised at hiding our reactions to loved ones about whether we like our presents. Were they not listening to the not-too-subtle hints we provided?

Much in the same way, a leader or organisation doesn’t always pick up on the hints left by their employees and this can have a detrimental effect on the climate created. Not having an effective system to gather employee sentiment and feedback prevents leaders from meeting expectations and responding appropriately to organisation and market challenges.

The Multiplier Effect: how acting on employee feedback can be impactful for business

Leaders know that keeping their teams motivated, engaged and driven to succeed is an ever demanding task. In today’s world leaders have to keep their people engaged while responding to disruptive changes in how we work and what we care about in the workplace. This is a big challenge but as Elders showed us in our recent employee engagement webinar, it pays dividends to actively listen. You can watch the Elders presentation below.

The Elders Challenge

The backdrop to the Elder’s story was one of a company that has been through significant change – having recently completed a ‘profound’ turnaround they went from survival to growth mode. Elders collected employee feedback during the survival mode and learnt that their people were on board with the new strategy but they were looking for a greater connection to bringing the business to their desired future. In addition, perceptions of having a high performance culture were low.


In most turnaround situations, the transition team don’t give people issues the priority they deserve. But this was not the case at Elders. The company put a number of initiatives in place to tackle the feedback they received, starting with a 90-day plan to respond.

RESULT – Focus led to impact

Elders ran the survey for a second time to get a sense of traction and the results showed that Engagement and Enablement levels rose across the business. Focused efforts around Performance Management and Development had a real impact with scores across these areas climbing dramatically. Alignment to strategy also increased further. Other metrics in the business indicated that the number of conversations with leaders moved from a low base of approximately 40 per cent to 95 per cent. More importantly, the business has stabilised and is now experiencing a continued growth period.

So my questions for you are:

  • How well have you listened to your workforce this year?
  • Have you collected formal and informal feedback?
  • Have you created an action plan to respond to the issues highlighted by your employees?

As we get ready for the New Year it is good to remind ourselves that listening to our people may prove to be the best gift we can give our organisations in 2016!

 Watch the recording of the Elders story in our recent webinar: 

People perform to their best when they feel good about their work, and have the tools they need to get the job done. Our employee surveys help organizations measure employee engagement. They help you work out what’s holding people back, and show them what they need to do to have maximum impact.

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About Contributor

Chris Mayler is a Senior Client Director for Korn Ferry Advisory, Australia. For the last 15 years, Chris helped organisations maximise the potential of their workforce to drive business performance.

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