Hybrid work may have prompted employers to worry about workers’ productivity away from the office — but they should be wary of tracking “trivial metrics to assuage their angst,” according to a Sept. 22 blog post from Microsoft’s corporate vice president for modern work, reflecting new research from the company.
While 87% of employees surveyed by Microsoft said they are productive at work, 85% of leaders said they struggle to have confidence that their workers are productive. That disconnect may reflect a deeper listening problem, Microsoft said; 57% of companies surveyed are “rarely, if ever, collecting employee feedback.”
Notably, calls to return to the office to ensure productivity may go unheeded, the survey said. Nearly three-fourths of workers surveyed said they need “a better reason to go into the office besides company expectations,” but 84% would be motivated to go in if they could see co-workers.
While remote monitoring generally is legal, heavy surveillance could damage morale, one report published in 2021 said. Excessive monitoring could lead to employee resistance, low job satisfaction, increased stress, decreased organizational commitment and increased potential for turnover.
Instead, soliciting and responding to employee feedback may be a retention imperative, especially in a tight talent market. Companies that act on feedback are 11 times more likely to have high retention compared to companies that don’t, a Perceptyx study from April suggested.
A sea change has also occurred in recent years regarding employee feedback; in 2014, Perceptyx said, one study found that only 18% of employers surveyed their workers more than once a year. But in 2022, more than 60% of employers said they surveyed workers “at least quarterly.”