employee feedbackHere’s a very common conversation we have with clients about gathering employee feedback:

Client: We’ve had some turnover recently. We think it’s because of {insert name} because they can be a bit of a jerk. We’ve also been told that employees don’t like the new software we’ve just implemented. One person left because they got a better job offer paying them more money. Can you help us develop a retention program so we don’t lose any more people?

Clear HR: If there are problems in the company that you are already aware of, you need to fix those first. A “retention” program isn’t a magic bullet to solve all your turnover issues. Have you ever asked employees what they like or don’t like about working here?

Client: No. We just do exit interviews when they leave.

Waiting until an employee leaves before you ask them for feedback about the company is too late. You’ve already lost them. It is essential to get feedback from employees about their experience working at your company, while they are still working there, so that you can try to make positive changes.

Employees want to feel valued and that their opinions matter. They want to know they can express their thoughts and viewpoints and can contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the organization. When employees don’t feel like they have a voice, that’s when it can have a negative impact on the company in terms of lower productivity, increased turnover or decreased employee morale.

Giving employees at all levels of the company a chance to give feedback and to express their thoughts on the direction the company is taking, or on other issues affecting them or company, sends a positive message, even if the feedback is negative. It reinforces to your staff that you are interested in their opinions and that they play a part in building the business. As a leader, it’s your job to engage employees, inspire their commitment to the company, and make them feel like they are contributing to the company’s success. Asking for their feedback is one easy way to help accomplish this goal.

The methods you choose to obtain feedback from your employees depends on your company culture and your business challenges.

The following guidelines will help you to gather valuable employee feedback:

1. Identify the areas on which you want employee feedback

  • Determine what feedback you want from your employees.
  • There are endless topic areas. Common ones include:
    • General feedback on work environment and culture
    • Specific comments on a particular policy, process, business challenge or initiative
    • Performance feedback for you, the management team, or other colleagues
    • Employee satisfaction levels
    • Improvement areas for the company

2. Determine how you are going to gather employee feedback

  • Finding the right opportunities and methods to elicit feedback from staff differs company to company.
  • Some common methods used to gather employee feedback include:
    • Asking for feedback directly at your one-on-one meetings
    • Employee staff meetings
    • Confidential employee surveys
    • Facilitated focus groups
    • Employee suggestion program
    • Stay interviews

3. Determine who will gather the employee feedback

  • Decide whether it will be the manager who gathers the feedback, someone else in the company, an independent 3rd party, or a confidential automated process.
  • The goal is to make sure that employees are comfortable giving open, honest feedback. If the option or person selected to gather feedback provides a safe opportunity to voice opinions, the better the feedback you will get.

4. Determine the frequency of obtaining regular employee feedback

  • The frequency depends on your business circumstances and the method of feedback chosen. For example, an employee satisfaction survey on an annual basis would be sufficient; however, asking for employee feedback on support they require should be done on a weekly basis or at each one-on-one meeting.

5. Keep employees informed

  • After gathering feedback, it is important to close the loop and let employees know what you will do with their feedback or what actions will be taken as a result.
  • While you do not need to take action on all feedback received, if there are common themes or if there are a few issues which make sense to address, then it is advisable to take some action. Don’t ask employees for feedback, unless you are willing to act on their comments. Otherwise, false expectations will be set or employees will become skeptical.
  • Communicating the impact and effect of their feedback will go a long way to ensuring that your employees feel valued and influential in how the company operates.

Make obtaining continuous employee feedback part of your company culture and part of your regular business practices. Involved and engaged employees are more productive and will lead to greater company success. Don’t wait until an employee resigns before asking them about what they thought about working for the company. The sooner you know, the sooner you can make improvements.

Copyright Clear HR Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.