Every year, we survey as many employees & leaders as we can at organisations in various industries to figure out what it means to have a great culture in the workplace. The year of 2020 saw some radical challenges we hadn’t faced in our lifetime before: a pandemic, political chaos in so-called “first world” countries and a world-wide exodus to remote work.
In 2020 we received a good response, which indicates that companies are more interested in culture than ever before. We hope these results will give you a glimpse into what keeps employees & leaders motivated in the workplace, even in the face of immense challenges and uncertainty.
We're pleased to publish this set of data specific to the manager and employee experience — we hope you find it informative and insightful.
Before we dip into data, though, we’d like to acknowledge the people who helped put all of this together:
Linda Roos (ooba Group Head: Human Capital, CHRO Nominee 2020, Certified Clifton Strengths Coach), George Gabriel (Social Anthropologist, Organisational Consultant and Process Facilitator, Administrator at Michael Oak Waldorf School), Bailey Kropman (Head of People: Omni-channel Division at The Foschini Group), Gary Willmott (Chief Appreciation Officer at Hi5), Sharné McDonald (People Data Expert at Hi5).
Overall, we’ve received 1500+ responses (~400 responses in 2020) across various industries, including: Marketing & Advertising (26%), Construction & Engineering (22%), Financial Services (15%), Food & Beverages (7%), E-Learning & Education (5%), Retail & Consumer Goods (5%), Hospitality (2%), IT (2%), etc.
Participants include great organisations like M&C Saatchi Abel, ooba Home Loans, The Really Great Brand Company, forgood, Outsourced CFO, Cognician, Valiant Agency, Oasis Water Holdings, Graham Beck Enterprises & Mama Money.
The majority of Culture at Work survey respondents in 2020 were Millennial women, with Millennials comprising 68% of the total. However, we’ve seen an increase in GenZ participants compared to 2019.
Below are some of our insights across all participating industries and companies in 2020.
In 2019, only 16% of the Millennial employees and 18% of the Baby Boomer employees who took the survey said that they felt heard, with GenZ (26%) feeling the most listened to at work. In 2020, the minority Baby Boomers said they felt most listened to overall.
Truly giving people a sense of being heard and valued is more than the glib “anyone have any thoughts?” at the end of a rushed meeting. It takes time and incisive questioning. As people practitioners, we know how to help people think for themselves and articulate their thoughts into words. It’s up to us to teach our leaders how to do that well, too. - Linda Roos
57% of employees at Small companies (0 - 10 employees) gave an “Awesome” company culture rating, compared to only 29% of employees at larger companies (101 - 500 employees).
Company values are not just a list of noble words. Leadership must demonstrate those values in all daily interactions. Then everyone can learn to emulate the behaviours that underpin those values, in turn building a culture that truly lives those values. And don’t forget to measure them on a regular basis! - George Gabriel
In 2020, a higher percentage of leaders & managers compared to employees said they give recognition Often (weekly). Last year, the opposite was true.
Driving a culture of recognition requires recognition for both the giver and receiver (traditionally, we celebrate only the latter). Change only happens when we act our way into new ways of thinking. The act of recognising others often and publicly normalises this in the organisation’s culture. Just once, make only the recognition givers eligible for the employee-of-the-month award and see what happens! - Linda Roos
48% of “Awesome” culture ratings were given in companies where recognition takes place Often (at least once a week). This is an increase of 20% from 2019.
Employees in the Financial Services industry rate their company cultures much more positively compared to other industries. It’s interesting to note that employees in the Financial Services industry also felt that they receive recognition more regularly at work, compared to their peers in other industries. - Gary Willmott
Most people receive feedback at work Regularly (once a month). Those who receive feedback more regularly feel that they have more opportunities for growth and learn something new every day at work.
Although most people receive feedback Regularly (at least once a month), it must be noted that there is a low percentage of people who receive feedback Often (at least once a week). The General Insights of this survey show that there is a direct correlation between frequency of feedback and opportunities for growth. - Sharné McDonald