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Ask your peers or take a read at industry publications, and you’ll notice a growing, unwavering trend: a dramatic shortage of skilled workers who won’t tolerate jobs where they aren’t challenged, valued and fulfilled. Try to curb their voice or shortchange their feedback and they’ll jump ship faster than you can say “engagement.”

A new article by Forbes reports that new research by the MRI network shows “90% of recruiters surveyed believe that ‘candidates are now in charge’ — the highest this metric has been in five years.”

Keep people happy, they say, or else: unhappy employees will leave or (worse) stay and undermine you, swaying other employees and posing a bigger problem than those who leave.

Part of them problem, covered by yet another Forbes piece, is that we live in 2015 and work in 1970. Outside of work, we “control the technologies and devices we want to use, build and shape communities, share and collaborate with who we want, where we want… and have the freedom and flexibility to live how we want.”

By contrast, when we go to work, our communications, collaboration and technology all revert back to the 70’s. Plus, we sit under “a command and control hierarchy, feel like a cog, and need to get approvals for buying a $100 office chair.”

The solution, backed by research, is simple: employee feedback.

“Just as customer feedback has transformed the customer experience, employee feedback is transforming the employee experience.”

The concept of employees being in charge can strike fear in the hearts of managers and administrators. “Of course it is [scary],” concedes the author. “But that horse has left the barn.”

Your employees will not be silenced. At this very moment they’re sharing information about their workplace with their friends and on a variety of online sites — social media, forums, review sites and others. If your work environment isn’t one that inspires engagement, word will get out. Good luck attracting and retaining top talent.

Employee feedback isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that desperately needs a makeover.

For it to work, employee feedback needs to be easy, timely and safe. It needs to be acknowledged and acted on. Finally, it must be technology-enabled and easily accessible, because that’s how all of us live our lives in 2015.

Are you cultivating employee feedback effectively today? You can’t have engagement and performance improvements without it.

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