Diversity And Autonomy Are Key Factors In Employee’s Experience

February 8, 2023

By The HR Observer Staff

Dr. Gary Pheiffer, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai tells The HR Observer what does a meaning feedback would mean within organisations.  He adds that a diverse workforce impacts people’s experience. Nonetheless, encouraging people to take initiatives and be autonomous.

Dr Gary Pheiffer (picture sent by Heriot-Watt University)

What does meaningful feedback mean? 

Meaningful feedback is feedback that can help improve the overall quality of work. It allows for giving and receiving feedback in a constructive manner, which could boost employee morale. Some of the ways to give meaningful feedback is to critique the work, rather than the person doing it. This helps employees focus on areas of improvement instead of perceiving themselves negatively, which could adversely impact their performance. Another way of giving meaningful feedback is to give specific feedback. For example, instead of telling the person to be more organized, managers should instead focus on how their employees can be more organized. Finally, using “I” statements instead of “you” statements could help the person feel more supported and shifts the focus away from the person, which promotes receptiveness to feedback.

How can employers ensure the growth of their employees? 

Business leaders can nurture employee growth in several ways. The key is the nature of work itself and the quality of relationships in the organisation. Research has shown that an organisational culture and leadership style that created positive relationships tends to increase individuals’ growth and performance. This could be done by providing ongoing positive and constructive feedback. A study by Wakefield Research, a market research consultancy, has shown that 90% of employees would benefit from having feedback in real-time as opposed to during their annual reviews or on a quarterly basis. This importance of positive relationships and feedback is supported by substantial research and from what is called self-determination theory, which states that we need to create work conditions for autonomous motivation. In the workplace, meeting three psychological needs namely competence, autonomy, and relatedness increases employees’ abilities, including high-quality learning, flexible thinking, and problem solving. These are critical to employee growth, satisfaction, and organisational performance.

What can employers do to enhance the employees’ experience?

Creating a positive environment by promoting flexibility, inclusivity and diversity is key to increasing productivity and job satisfaction. According to Russell and Reynolds Associates, a leading executive search and leadership advisory firm, the presence of a diverse workforce directly improved human capital outcome through fostering greater wellbeing, increased employee engagement and increased creativity. Additionally, transparent, and open communication from top management fosters a sense of community and helps employees feel included in decision-making. Finally, encouraging employee autonomy and providing them with the tools to reach their goals has shown to increase employee retention and trust in management. It is also important to focus on employees’ experiences by capturing their feedback from onboarding and throughout their experience by using tools such performance management and feedback surveys.

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