New research indicates a growing communication gap between employers and their staff, with over four in five workers believing that people at their firm are not heard equally. 

Global research from The Workforce Institute at UKG suggests that staff do not feel equally heard whilst at the workplace. The study warns this risks disengaging workers, fuelling turnover, and hindering business performance.

The vast majority (83 per cent) of UK employees feel people at their organisation are not heard fairly or equally — and nearly half (46 per cent) say that underrepresented voices remain undervalued by employers.

This includes staff such as essential workers, younger workers, non-caregiving employees, and employees who identify with underserved races and ethnicities. This also threatens progression being made linked to diversity and inclusion which is occurring in workplaces.

In addition, almost two-thirds of workers in the UK (60 per cent) 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 per cent) of employees would rather quit or switch teams than voice their true concerns with management, showing a worrying lack of connection between employers and staff.

Liam McNeill, vice president, EMEA at UKG, commented on this, calling employee engagement an “important part of the overall employee experience”.

As such, Liam urges organisations to “take stock of employee needs and action them with prescriptive plans to continuously improve engagement and the overall employee experience”. This, he adds, will directly correlate to positive growth for the business and its customers.

Conversely, employees with very high senses of belonging and engagement (both 96 per cent) are significantly more likely to feel heard than those with very low engagement (33 per cent) or belonging (14 per cent).

This has a significant impact on the bottom line – organisations are much more likely to perform well financially (88 per cent) when their employees feel heard, engaged, and a sense of belonging.

Chris Mullen, Executive Director of The Workforce Institute at UKG, stated:

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.

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.


*These findings have been documented in the ‘The Heard and the Heard-Nots” report by The Workforce Institute at UKG and Workplace Intelligence. To obtain these results, 4,049 full-time and part-time employees were surveyed across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland between May 7–11, 2021.