Gathering feedback from employees benefits everyone in an organization. However, companies must use feedback systems carefully and with precision.
Here's what you need to know about are you collecting enough employee feedback, and often enough?:
- Employees feel more valued and appreciated when companies take an interest in their ideas and opinions.
- Anonymous surveys increase the likelihood of honest answers.
- Employees who can type feedback instead of voicing it may be more forthcoming and feel more comfortable sharing opinions.
The topic of employee feedback has become a common component of company agendas. Companies are struggling to keep workers from abandoning their posts in record numbers. Therefore, the need to find ways to keep employees on board longer is higher than ever.
Feedback is not a new concept. The employee survey has been a part of engagement strategies for decades. What has changed is the understanding that what employees have to say is more important than ever. Employees have a greater desire to share with employers their:
Today’s generation of workers expects companies to listen.
Gathering employee insights can be overwhelming for companies. They may wonder if they are asking for feedback too often or not often enough.
What’s the secret formula for success?
This post hopes to untangle some of the confusion. Keep reading to learn how companies can tailor feedback mechanisms to the needs of employees and organizations.
72% of employees feel recognition is an essential driver for helping them feel engaged at work.
Feedback and the feedback loop – why it matters
So, how important is employee feedback? According to a recent survey by Gallup, 72% of employees feel recognition is an essential driver for helping them feel engaged at work. Research points to employee engagement as a driver for increased productivity, worker satisfaction, and the ability to keep workers with a company long-term.
Employees feel more valued and appreciated when companies take an interest in their ideas and opinions. They will take more ownership of their work and become more invested in the company’s success.
It’s important to realize that gathering feedback doesn’t necessarily lead to improvements. Companies must have:
- A functional system in place to collect results
- Mechanisms to analyze and interpret the resulting information
- A commitment to take distinct action to implement changes using the results
This system is often referred to as a feedback loop. Companies who use it incorrectly, by not closing the loop with targeted action, may alienate employees. Studies have shown that the best companies have an effective feedback loop in place.
Gathering the right type of feedback at the right time
There are several ways in which an organization can gather feedback from employees. Below are a few examples of common methods and their best uses.
The onboarding survey is a way for companies to gauge employee expectations. It allows companies to get a feel for whether an employee is likely to fit with an organization’s culture. It can help companies better understand what is driving job seekers to their organization. This provides valuable feedback on the hiring process itself.
Employee experience survey
The employee experience survey is often used during performance evaluations. It is a comprehensive look into employee morale and opinions and may be longer and more in-depth than some other data gathering mechanisms.
Use these surveys infrequently at critical points during an employee’s career path.
Pulse surveys are shorter and more targeted than full-experience surveys. Use pulse surveys to judge an employee’s opinions on specific:
Pulse surveys provide an easy way for companies to “check in” with workers.
Using feedback surveys to include workers in the experience of implementing significant changes is not only useful but also critical.
Event change surveys
Change within an organization can be both stressful and scary for employees. Employees need to feel like they’re a part of the team and not at the mercy of executives. Using feedback surveys to include workers in the experience of implementing significant changes is not only useful but also critical.
Use surveys before, during, and after major changes in the organization. This is especially important if changes affect employees directly.
Confrontation feedback may sound, well, confrontational. However, when used correctly, this type of data is beneficial. Confrontation feedback is helpful when projects don’t go according to plan or performance is lacking in specific areas.
Rather than using the moment to scold or chastise employees for poor performance, managers can question employees about potential reasons that led to poor results. It may be that employees lack specific support or resources that would help them perform better in the future.
Informal feedback/micro feedback
Micro feedback creates an opportunity for open communication between employees and companies.
Companies can gather this type of information through short, one-on-one conversations or internal messaging platforms. Employees who can type feedback instead of voicing it may be more forthcoming and feel more comfortable sharing opinions.
The exit survey may be one of the most important feedback tools that companies use. When employees leave an organization for any reason, it requires attention from the company.
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The perfect frequency for feedback – and how not to “overdo it”
Gathering information from employees benefits everyone in an organization. However, companies must use feedback systems carefully and with precision. Messy, infrequent feedback systems create more harm than good.
So, how often is too often when it comes to asking for feedback? The truth is there may be no correct answer. Organizations vary in complexity, and each situation is different.
There are some basic guidelines that companies can follow to ensure they are optimizing feedback systems. We’ve listed a few of our best tips below.
Timing is everything
The timing and frequency of feedback requests directly relate to the type of feedback. The most important times to ask for feedback are:
- When change is happening within an organization
- To gauge employee opinions about specific topics or events
- During employee performance reviews
- Whenever an employee comes on board or leaves an organization
These are the times when companies should dig deep and ask for in-depth feedback. However, micro-feedback should be more frequent, and the company should provide responsive feedback with results and intended action. This prevents employees from feeling like feedback systems are only in place to offer lip service to workers.
Communicate and schedule feedback
Companies should let employees know ahead of time when they plan to distribute feedback surveys. This:
- Allows employees time to think about their responses
- Creates a better opportunity for open communication
- Facilitates more valuable conversations
Communicating results also helps employees understand their perceptions are valued.
Follow through on actions
Failure to follow through on actionable change is the biggest mistake companies make when asking for feedback. Employees will quickly tire of providing responses if companies continuously ask for employee opinions without using it constructively.
Failure to follow through on actionable change is the biggest mistake companies make when asking for feedback.
Keep it anonymous
Anonymous surveys increase the likelihood of honest answers. Employees may fear retaliation when they share opinions that cast a negative light on an organization or coworkers. Offering anonymous surveys ensures they will feel comfortable about sharing details and feelings.
The wrap-up – gathering employee feedback is vital, but only if you use it
The value of employee feedback systems is hard to measure. Employees who feel valued and included as a part of a team will reward their organizations by being more:
Companies benefit by accessing valuable feedback on employee morale and behaviors. They are better able to identify issues and concerns before they grow bigger.
Companies that gain the most from their feedback systems are those that use the information constructively. Knowledge without action changes very little.
Analytics and data-capture tools can help companies better use the information they gather. Using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation can help companies see the big picture portrayed by the information they’ve collected. This helps to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.
Companies are often focused on their bottom line, and that makes sense. But remember that employee satisfaction and engagement directly affect that bottom line. Companies must find ways to build toward that ever-present concept of “continuous improvement.” Gathering employee feedback and then using it constructively is an excellent way for organizations to work toward that goal.