Why Your Top Management Needs Good Employee and Customer Feed-Back

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In his study – called the “Iceberg of Ignorance” – consultant Sidney Yoshida concluded that organizations succeed or fail on what they don’t know. He found:

  • Top management knows only 4% of an organization’s frontline problems – which, of course, means that top management is completely unaware of an astounding 96% of the problems being handled by the front line.

Further, he reports that:

  • Employees know 100% of frontline problems,
  • Supervisors know 74% of front line problems (26% are unknown), and
  • Middle management knows 9% of frontline problems (91% are unknown).

Do you see the pattern? Top Management sits on an iceberg, but they think they are sitting on a hill. There may be many reasons why Top Management is only seeing “the tip of the iceberg.” Politics, personality, corporate culture, and organizational structure can prohibit the flow of needed information.

Companies who measure both Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty have a built-in advantage: you have already established vehicles for collecting information from employees and customers about their beliefs, opinions, and perceptions of the business. Turning these surveys into feedback loops and action steps involve the following:

  1. What’s Driving Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction? Using a key driver analysis, identify what elements are most important in creating engaged employees and satisfied customers. And then look at the overlap: those factors that are important in driving both Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction.
  2. What’s Your Performance on these Drivers? For each driver of either Employee Engagement or Customer Satisfaction, how are you doing? Keep in mind that Employee Engagement, Customer Satisfaction, and business performance are all intrinsically linked to one another.
  3. Where do you need to improve? By understanding what drivers Impact Employee Engagement, Customer Satisfaction, or both, you can then determine what elements need to change.
  4. Give the Team Feedback. If your team doesn’t know if their actions are moving the needle, it will be difficult to sustain those actions. Implementing a Transaction Tracking Program will provide feedback to your team as well as allow them to implement corrective actions as needed.
  5. Reassess the Drivers of Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction. We all know that change isn’t going away and, probably, the rate of change will continue to increase. Staying the same is not an option for businesses. Your market is dynamic, customers change, existing competitors adapt, and new competitors emerge. Periodic (typically, annual) reassessment of the key drivers of Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction will make sure that you continue to focus on what’s most important in moving the needle.

Asking for and receiving feedback is often not easy – at any level of the organization. Like any muscle, your ability to give and receive feedback grows stronger the more you use it. So commit yourself to knowing 100% of what your employees know about your business. Avoiding that iceberg is critical to your success!


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Lenni Moore

Lenni Moore is the Director of Operations at Infosurv. She’s always been passionate about fostering strong professional relationships. It’s precisely these relationships that allow her to exceed her clients’ expectations because she knows exactly what they want and then leverages her experience to get it for them.