Remote workers have needs – beyond a working laptop with video capability for Zoom or other virtual meetings.

Think feedback, managers.

Results of one national survey suggest a disconnect between employees’ need for performance feedback and how much feedback they receive. About half of workers (48%) report they only receive feedback annually or semiannually and 8% say they never receive feedback on their work, according to new research from Eagle Hill Consulting.

Sixty-three percent of employees want more immediate “in the moment” feedback on their work performance. That sentiment is higher for younger workers (74% for those ages 18 to 34) as compared to mid-career and older workers (57%).

When it comes to remote work, those employees working in fully remote and hybrid environments are more likely to say getting constructive feedback is a challenge, according to Eagle Hill, which is based in Arlington, Virginia, and has two other U.S. locations. More than a third (38%) of hybrid workers said getting feedback was a challenge, while 21% of fully remote and 19% of in-person workers reported feedback as a challenge.

Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill, calls it problematic that just under half of employees surveyed indicated they receive feedback only once or twice a year.

“The key to better feedback for employers is to set up more frequent formal mechanisms for feedback and to foster a culture that embraces and promotes more “in the moment” conversations about performance,” Jezior said in a statement about the survey results.

The findings released last week are based on The Eagle Hill Performance Management and Feedback Survey 2022, conducted May 10-12 by Ipsos. The nationally representative survey included 1,001 U.S. age 18 and older who are employed full time or part time.

Other highlights:

• 82% of workers say they feel valued when someone takes time to provide feedback

• 79% of workers say feedback is important to their professional development

• 67% of workers say they receive the same level of feedback during the past two years despite proliferation of hybrid/remote work

• During discussions with managers, employees say it is helpful to align on realistic goals/priorities (46%); review performance as it relates to promotion (21%); set goals (19%); and discuss career development (14%).

Measuring happiness

Dan Lerner believes there’s truth in the cliché that money can’t buy happiness.

A clinical instructor at New York University, he cites research from one study that suggests 60% of doctors would not recommend the career and that many “always or often” experience burnout. And while lawyers represent a top-earnings profession, many in that field reported depression and other ills such as alcohol abuse.

“The way that we define success and how it relates to happiness is a really challenging relationship,” Lerner said, during a webinar last week.

The webinar, “Bringing Your Work to Life: Do What You Love, and Love What You Do,” was part of a “Work Happy Series” by Zoom, focusing on elevating people and productivity.

Lerner has studied and has a graduate degree in positive psychology – the science of positive emotion. He has a background in the music industry and with talent management. Years ago, Lerner was on a mission to answer the question about whether success and happiness co-exist.

He cited Kanye West, a rapper and entrepreneur who has shoes branded with his name, but has faced several challenges with his mental health. In contrast, Lerner referenced the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, whom he said grew up “without a silver spoon in her mouth,” but seemed at peace. Happy, if you will.

Happiness and success “come together beautifully,” Lerner said, with passion. But you have to have the right type.

Harmonious passion is when you do what you do because you love it, it’s part of your life and you value the process – not just the victory, he said. A pianist in a competition, for example, may not win but enjoys the process and experience.

Obsessive passion is what you want to be wary of. That’s when you do what you do for others, for status, for glory or for money with little thought to others or the greater good.

Obsessive people have a faulty mindset that suggests “you are the best, … or you are nothing,” Lerner said. You never unplug or stop working. “It’s your whole life.”

The problem is that leaves room for nothing else, including family or cultivating and maintaining relationships with people who can help get you through the rough times in life or work when they come.

And they will.

Lerner suggests people explore and develop multiple interests, discovering contentment that can help them manage when work or another area of life brings disappointment.

Yes, Lerner says, happiness and success can co-exist.

Managing Editor

Managing Editor Lisa Green has more than 35 years of experience at newspapers in Illinois and Indiana. She has worked at The Journal Gazette since 2000, initially as business editor. She has a biweekly leadership column/blog called "Lead On."