One in Four Employees is Not Being Genuine with their Employer

Employees have to hide who they really are from employers - does this also mean they are faking engagement? What are the factors driving them to behave this way? How can we foster genuine engagement? 

Ask yourself, are your employees really being honest about how they are doing? During a time when more people are working remotely than ever before in history, being confident that your workforce is engaged becomes extra important. It’s one thing to see a happy and productive team everyday at the office, but in this new world of not being in the physical presence of employees, how can you be sure they are being themselves? 

A recent survey from global talent mobility company Topia revealed 1 in 4 employees are hiding parts of who they are in order to fit in at work. This means they are afraid of being genuine out of fear that they won’t be accepted or respected by their colleagues. Worse yet they aren't being themselves around management. 

The survey also went on to indicate some other unexpected data: 

  • Less than 1 in 5 (17%) of employees give their company an exceptional rating for giving them a positive employee experience
  • 58% of employees define a great employee experience as being empowered and trusted
  • 48% of employees say a great experience is about training, job rotation, or international assignments
  • Only 19% said office space and perks, like free meals and games, make a difference

These discoveries bring up some serious issues when it comes to maintaining a good experience that keeps employees engaged. If employees are essentially “faking it” about who they are, what other things are they hiding? How can an employer know that they are providing the best experience, particularly when things have shifted too rapidly increasing numbers of employees working remotely? 

Focus on what’s working

The most conscientious employers have taken the time to seek feedback from their employees long before the pandemic. They use real-time employee engagement software from Thymometrics to stay ahead of their employees’ concerns and maintain open communication at all times. This works well because it’s an anonymous space where employees can freely express themselves and not have to hide behind office politics or worry that the boss will retaliate. 

(If you have not already implemented our employee engagement product, you can try it for free here!)

Find out what employees need

Unless you have a way to ask directly, how can you know what your employees need -- particularly if they are remote working? Using a non-threatening strategy will work the best. Find out how current happenings are impacting employees by scheduling some community talks which are easy to arrange across your team using remote technology. Host this and provide each employee a chance to express concerns, but also keep things light. Share some funny or unusual things that have happened. If employees can see the human in you they can be more human and themselves. 

You can spice things up with a themed event and invite employees to take a quick poll at the end (with some incentives and prizes thrown in for good measure). 

Ask yourself how your experience has changed

If you as a manager or business owner have had to pivot a lot, imagine how this is for your employees. They’ve likely had to arrange for daycare, switch up their normal routines, made arrangements to protect their homes and finances, and more. They are worried about their job security and if things will ever get back to some semblance of normal again. Be compassionate and keep this on your mind as you interact with your team. Express some empathy and ask how the company can make things better. 

Get to the crux by asking questions

A lot of companies will make assumptions about how their employees feel about this unique disruption to their lives. This is a dangerous approach and quite possibly entirely off the mark. The best way to find out is it trust your employees by asking them through an anonymous feedback channel – simple! It avoids getting plans and strategies embarrassingly wrong, empowers your employees and allows them to be genuine.

So, why not run a short survey as the catalyst to starting this conversation. Start with a short pulse survey with questions that cover main themes around how the pandemic is affecting them, their work/life balance, their concerns, home working issues, communication, relationship with their manager & peers, etc. Then use the output of this survey to dig deeper into areas that are shown to be of concern. You may be surprised by what is revealed. 

Through this anonymous and honest feedback, you can start to group those who feel a certain way about any factor and drill down further to ask follow-up questions and thereby offering comfort, advice or suggestions to those that need it the most while maintaining a consistent company message.


Thymometrics provides tools that improve employee engagement whether in the office or working remotely. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, productivity and profitability.

For more information, please call 01223 750251, email or visit

Photo Chris Yang by on Unsplash