Blog | Supporting leaders to deliver the right employee experience
We asked Kate Pritchard, Questback’s new Head of Engagement and Leadership, to tell us more about herself.
- Tell us a little bit about your experience before joining Questback.
I have worked in the field of employee research and consultancy for over 20 years and have been fortunate to work with many leading organisations, helping them to measure, understand and improve employee engagement. Employee research is still a fascinating area to me. People spend so long at work, it is important that they enjoy it and feel that they can play a part in improving their own experience. It is very rewarding to work with organisations to help them understand the employee experience. Over the last couple of years I have also focused on leadership coaching, directly helping managers to improve their own experience of work and that of their team.
- What is your role at Questback and what are your priorities?
I am leading on delivering our leadership development solutions to clients, as well as being heavily involved in our broader employee experience solutions. Ultimately we are here to help our clients to improve the employee experience, and improving management effectiveness is a big part of this. We provide managers with the tools and insights they need to improve the employee experience.
Our aim is to empower managers to drive change and improvement by putting employee insight into their hands, along with the best practices they need. Rather than all improvements to the employee experience sitting at the top of an organisation, we are keen to democratise feedback. It is all about taking a more agile approach – helping managers – and individual employees - realise that there are things they can change that will make them happier at work.
- What are some of the things that attracted you to joining Questback?
I already knew about Questback’s employee feedback platform, but what particularly excited me was the range of new solutions being developed relating to pulse surveys, leadership development and team effectiveness. Their philosophy of democratising feedback and putting insight into the hands of all managers and employees really resonated with me.
Questback itself has a feedback culture, and I have already seen how powerful its pulse survey solutions are. You know that when you take part in a weekly “vibe” survey that your feedback is going to be listened to and acted on. All of this helps you have informed conversations with clients because you can see the power of what we deliver.
I was also attracted by the team here. We have a very strong international team with a real depth of experience – everyone is of the same mindset. There is a great culture and a focus on nurturing strong relationships with clients and helping them to improve the employee experience.
And we have some great clients, including major brands such as John Lewis and the AA. We are a market leader within the field of employee engagement so that’s also exciting and attractive.
- What are some of the important trends you see in the leadership market in 2020 and how should business be preparing?
The amount of change in organisations today is huge, and the pace is ever-increasing. Organisational structures are also changing to become flatter, and there is beginning to be less focus on hierarchy. This brings a greater requirement to collaborate in and across smaller teams. Flatter and more fluid organisations require people to build their own networks and to work together in different ways. All this means that it is important for all employees to be informed, and to act as leaders, rather than a leader being only someone in a senior role.
Secondly, workforces are more diverse than ever. There are several generations in the workplace and all have slightly different needs and aspirations. More generally there is an increasing focus on inclusion with more understanding of the importance of valuing people from different backgrounds and a greater recognition that everybody brings different talents and experiences. This requires leaders to think more carefully about how they attract, motivate and retain the best talent.
And thirdly, topics such as health and wellbeing and meaning and purpose are gaining increasing importance. This relates partly to the rise in an always-on culture brought by technology, but also a more general realisation of the importance of balance and a meaningful work experience for overall wellbeing. Employers need to be mindful of the importance of this and find ways to improve the overall employee experience.
Whilst these trends are generally recognised, many organisations have been slow to realise the impact that they have on leadership behaviours and what it takes to be a successful leader in 2020.
Managers are often promoted into their jobs because of their technical expertise. They are then expected to be able to manage people and take on many new responsibilities but are not necessarily given any support or training in those areas. With all these changes in the world of work, there is a need for an increased focus on leadership at all levels, and I think Questback is perfectly positioned to support companies in achieving this.