Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Manish Dudharejia – Founder & CEO of E2M Solutions. His opinions are his own.
Employee feedback is one of the most powerful resources that businesses have to improve and grow – yet it is extremely under-utilized. According to a report from Qualtrics, 60% of businesses gather feedback from their employees on a regular basis. However, only about 30% of these organizations actually act on this information or apply any suggestions.
Taking the time to listen to what your employees have to say and hearing their ideas is extremely important for several key reasons. First of all, it has been shown to significantly improve the employee experience. Furthermore, Qualtric’s report also found that businesses that really paid attention to employee feedback had significantly lower employee turnover rates.
Listening to your employees can help your leaders get a true finger on the pulse of the internal workings of your company. Although things may appear fine on the surface, there could be issues that managers are completely oblivious to. Employees may also have some great ideas on ways to improve productivity levels or suggest new approaches that will be more effective.
So, how can your company do more to lean in and effectively utilize employee feedback? Let’s discuss.
1. Pay Close Attention to Public Reviews
To determine how customers feel about a brand, reviews are typically the best place to go. The same goes for employee sentiment. Reviews from past and present team members are often used to determine how workers really feel about their employer.
Employer review sites, unfortunately, do seem to display the worst of the worst when disgruntled employees seek ways to vent their frustrations and warn future candidates away. While you certainly should not discredit their comments or try to get them removed (unless they are proven to be defamatory or fake), you should do your best to glean feedback and respond appropriately. Although a recently fired employee may be spewing insults to let off steam, there could be some truth behind their frustrations.
Be sure that you are paying close attention to the things that past employees are posting online, and be proactive. Reach out and respond, especially if an employee has something negative to share.
For example, a disgruntled employee left some fairly scathing feedback on these Trustpilot reviews via Glassdoor. The former worker was clearly frustrated about issues with management and leadership, and they also stated that the expectations that were set were simply impossible to meet.
The company did a great job of responding by thanking the person for sharing their opinion. They then promised to bring this information to the attention of the managers in order to find a better solution. Ultimately, a well-crafted response can do wonders to overshadow a bad review.
It is important to handle negative posts in the same manner that you would with a bad customer review. First of all, remember that it is not the end of the world to receive this kind of criticism. Look to see if there is any validity to their comments and see how this information can be helpful for making improvements. And, of course, remain professional by responding and thanking the person for sharing their honest opinion.
2. Go Over It One-on-One
The way that you gather and analyze your employee feedback is very important, as well. Simply sending out surveys or having your employees fill out a performance review sheet once a year is not going to cut it.
Now, this certainly does not mean that review tools are totally useless.
There are plenty of employee feedback programs. However, if you do use these systems, be sure to take the time to sit down with each employee and go over their thoughts and feelings one-on-one. If they are simply rating their experiences on a 1-10 scale, you aren’t really getting any deep insight on what their true feelings are. Instead, it may be better to ask leading questions and then discuss their answers in individual meetings.
For example, Google recently changed their employee review system by opting for a thirteen questions feedback survey that revolved around management.
Employees were asked to share their honest opinions about current management styles and discuss any ideas they had on ways leadership could improve. These surveys were gathered anonymously so employees could share their true sentiment confidentially. Leaders also met with employees one-on-one to talk about their experiences and opinions.
This not only makes each employee feel heard and important, it can also clear up any confusion and help leaders get a better finger on the pulse of the workplace.
3. Ask Questions
Again, your employees are one of the most powerful resources you have for new ideas that are practical and effective. They can see the direct result of current strategies, and they are the ones that know how to make things more efficient or successful.
Be sure that your review surveys are structured in such a way that employees are able to share their honest opinions and ideas. They probably have great suggestions for ways to make the workplace more pleasant, productive, or profitable.
Be sure to clearly ask them for advice or strategies that they think could be a good alternative to current practices. For instance:
- What are the likes and dislikes of current workflows?
- Are there any changes that could be made that would help them to be more productive?
- What systems are in place that are making things more difficult or time-consuming and what alternatives do they suggest?
Of course, not every suggestion can be acted on. However, it is important that employees are heard and able to share their thoughts and opinions freely. Further, while their suggestion may not be totally realistic or possible, it could inspire other propositions and alternatives that may do the trick.
In order to keep your employees happy, productive, and engaged, it is vital that your leaders are truly listening.
Internal feedback can shed a light on the weakest points of your business’s structure, and also make it possible to find practical solutions. Be sure that you are doing everything to glean the best feedback from your employees and find practical ways to apply their opinions.