New survey indicates small business managers are less communicative than their enterprise counterparts; 42% of small business employees say they never receive feedback or evaluations.
More than 40% of small business employees say they receive no feedback from their company and its managers, even though clear and consistent performance evaluation is considered by human resources experts to be one of the most important qualities of a manager. This lack of feedback is having a negative impact on the enthusiasm of small business employees, according to a new survey by Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews site.
Half of small business employees who said they don’t receive accurate and consistent evaluation also said they were “unfulfilled” in their jobs. Whereas, of those employees who do receive evaluations, only 18% said they were unfulfilled.
Enterprise companies (5,000+ employees), rather than small businesses (1-50 employees), appear to be more consistent and accurate when it comes to providing feedback to their employees. In the Clutch survey, only 15% of enterprise employees said they receive no feedback.
Several types of feedback are used by both small businesses and enterprises, and were included in the survey. Verbal feedback is, unsurprisingly, the most commonly provided feedback type among enterprises (57%) and small businesses (35%). Although many experts consider formalized or scheduled feedback a thing of the past, only 37% of enterprises and 16% of small businesses currently provide the more ‘trendy’ informal and/or ad-hoc feedback.
Enterprises often have more resources allowing them to provide more robust feedback. “With an enterprise there is more rigor and structure of organization,” said Joe Carella, Assistant Dean at Eller College of Management, University of Arizona. “There’s more emphasis on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), clarity around the organizational structure, clarity around roles, and also better established HR practices and DHR compliance.”
Not only do small businesses offer minimal, if any, feedback to employees, small business managers are also less likely to provide high quality performance evaluations. Half of small business employees gave a neutral or negative rating of their manager’s ability to accurately and consistently evaluate their performance. Among enterprise employees, 35% rated their managers’ evaluation skills as neutral or negative.
“It’s the responsibility of the company to offer manager training,” advises Morgan Chaney, Head of Marketing for BlueBoard. “Training creates a culture of giving feedback and a culture of recognition so that managers feel comfortable, are trained, and are set up for success to recognize performance effectively.”
While there are many factors that determine employee engagement and happiness, Clutch recommends that companies take the time to reevaluate their feedback practices as a first step towards increasing employee fulfillment.
“Recognition is very easy to turn on. It can be verbal in a moment; it can be putting a rewards system in place within a matter of weeks. It’s a missed opportunity if [companies are] not doing it because it's usually so easy and it goes such a long way,” said Morgan Chaney.
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