Low-Quality Feedback Drives Underrepresented Workers to Look for New Jobs

Women and people of color report getting less helpful performance reviews than White men

(Bloomberg) — Women and people of color consistently report getting less helpful feedback in performance reviews than White men, and it’s making them more likely to start looking for a new job. 

Just 54% of Asian workers said they understand what their manager expects from them to earn a promotion, compared to 80% of White workers, according to new research from Textio, a firm that analyzes job ads to help businesses create unbiased listings. About 70% of Black and Latinx workers as well as women, trans and non-binary people felt the same way, the data show. 

Of those who received low-quality feedback — including unactionable suggestions or critiques based on their personality — 40% said they plan to leave their employer in the next 12 months. The figure was just 22% among those who got high-quality performance reviews. 

“Losing employees is costly and problematic for organizations that have invested in them,” said Kieran Snyder, chief executive officer of Textio. Focusing on more equitable feedback would help companies narrow the attrition gap for minority groups, she said. 

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The study, which analyzed more than 13,000 performance reviews and surveyed 533 workers across the US, found that 17% of people specifically cited insufficient feedback as a key reason that they’re looking for a new role. The top reason they gave was a lack of advancement and growth opportunities. 

Black employees were the most likely to get feedback that wasn’t actionable, the research shows, despite only getting 79% as much feedback overall as their White and Asian colleagues. They were also most likely to be called “passionate” in a performance review and least likely to be called “ambitious.”

“It’s tempting to think equitable feedback isn’t an effort you have to put in,” said Snyder. “But if you don’t do it, people don’t continue to work for you.”

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