A silenced workforce: Four in five employees feel colleagues aren’t heard equally, says research from The Workforce Institute at UKG

Embrace feedback, avoid attrition: One in three employees in the UK would rather quit than voice their concerns
12 July, 2021, LONDON, U.K.

As organisations increasingly struggle to retain their current workforce as well as hire fast enough to keep up with consumer demand, Global research1 from The Workforce Institute at UKG exposes a troublesome gap between employee voice and employer action that — if left unresolved — can disengage workers, fuel turnover, and hinder business performance.

Not all employee voices heard
The vast majority (83%) of U.K. employees feel people at their organisation are not heard fairly or equally — and nearly half (46%) say that underrepresented voices 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.

“There is troubling inequity in the feedback loop at organisations across the globe. Despite many employees feeling personally heard by their employer, the majority see significant disparities in which employees are — and not — heard,” said Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, executive director of The Workforce Institute at UKG. “At a time when organisations are desperately vying to attract and retain top talent, people leaders must first listen and then act upon the voice of the employee in order to sustain long-term business stability and success.”

People leaders must listen to employees — or risk losing them
Nearly two in three (60%) U.K. employees feel their voice has been ignored in some way by their manager or employer, which may have a devastating impact on retention: One in three (34%) of employees would rather quit or switch teams than voice their true concerns with management.

“Employee engagement is an important part of the overall employee experience, and if employees don’t feel heard, then their engagement and sense of belonging at work suffers,” said Liam McNeill, vice president, EMEA at UKG. “Organisations must take stock of employee needs and action them with prescriptive plans to continuously improve engagement and the overall employee experience. Why? Because the research clearly shows that employee happiness and wellbeing directly correlate to positive growth for the business and its customers. It’s not only the right thing to do — it makes good business sense.”

Feedback isn’t just good for culture — it’s good for business
Employees in the U.K. with very high senses of belonging and engagement (both 96%) are significantly more likely to feel heard than those with very low engagement (33%) or belonging (14%). This has a remarkable impact on the bottom line: Organisations are much more likely to perform well financially (88%) when their employees feel heard, engaged, and a sense of belonging.

To dive deeper into the data and learn why investing in the voices of employees should be a strategic business imperative, read The Heard and the Heard-Nots executive report.

Supporting resources

About The Workforce Institute at UKG

The Workforce Institute at UKG provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organisations worldwide. By bringing together a global consortium of HR and workforce management thought leaders, the think tank is uniquely positioned to empower organisations with practical ideas for optimising the 21st century workplace while also providing an important voice for employees, including frontline and hourly workers. Founded in 2007, a hallmark of The Workforce Institute's research and education—including books, podcasts, surveys, blogs, and its annual list of workplace predictions—is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the interests of organisations in order to manage absenteeism, fight burnout, develop equitable work schedules, and build strong leaders, all to drive inspired performance. For additional information, visit www.workforceinstitute.org and join the conversation at @WF_Institute.

About UKG

At UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), our purpose is people. Built from a merger that created one of the largest cloud companies in the world, UKG believes organisations succeed when they focus on their people. As a leading global provider of HCM, payroll, HR service delivery, and workforce management solutions, UKG delivers award-winning Pro, Dimensions, and Ready solutions to help tens of thousands of organisations across geographies and in every industry drive better business outcomes, improve HR effectiveness, streamline the payroll process, and help make work a better, more connected experience for everyone. UKG has 13,000 employees around the globe and is known for an inclusive workplace culture. The company has earned numerous awards for culture, products, and services, including consecutive years on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. To learn more, visit ukg.com.


Footnote 1: Survey methodology
Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Savanta, Inc. across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland May 7–11, 2021. For this survey, 4,049 full-time and part-time employees were asked general questions around how employees communicate their views to their managers and/or employer in an effort to influence matters, both large and small, that affect them at work. The study targeted full-time and part-time working employees who are 16+ years of age. Respondents were recruited through a number of different mechanisms, via different sources, to join the panels and participate in market research surveys. All panelists have passed a double opt-in process and complete on average 300 profiling data points prior to taking part in surveys. Respondents are invited to take part via email and are provided with a small monetary incentive for doing so. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary +/- by more than 1.5 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Copyright 2021 UKG Inc. All rights reserved. For a full list of UKG trademarks, please visit ukg.com/trademarks. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners. All specifications are subject to change.