The employee feedback loop is important. It enables employers to learn what’s really on their employees’ minds, and it gives the employees a chance to have some input on the way their workplace runs.
Unfortunately, employee feedback isn’t always easy to obtain, and it’s not always easy to assess.
That doesn’t mean you should stop getting feedback! It just means you need to learn how to make the most of the feedback you get.
1. Get Feedback Many Different Ways
It is important to get feedback in many different ways. A few ways to get employees to share what they’re really thinking include:
- Electronic surveys
- Annual employee reviews
- Employee Q&A sessions
- Suggestion boxes
Getting feedback using one method is better than using no method at all, but in order to get the most accurate feedback, you should ask for it in multiple ways. For example, you may want to send out a quick electronic survey a few times a year and build feedback questions into annual employee reviews.
The more ways you gather feedback, the more opportunities employees have to tell you what they’re thinking in a way that’s authentic to them.
2. Consolidate All Sources of Feedback
Getting feedback from multiple sources sounds great. That is until it’s time to review the data!
If you consolidate all employee feedback, it’s a lot easier to find patterns, pinpoint opportunities for change, and share the results with the rest of the team. The best way to consolidate feedback is to use technology. Specialized programs exist that enable you to send out surveys and input data in one easy-to-use platform. Based on the data that is collected, the program can provide you with personalized graphs and tables that enable you to see the feedback in easy-to-understand ways. A way forward may suddenly become clear that wasn’t clear when you were reviewing each source of feedback individually.
3. Focus on Listening Without Responding
One of the best ways to get feedback is simply to ask! Unfortunately, that is a lot easier said than done. Giving feedback directly to a manager or boss can be difficult for employees. Receiving feedback can be hard too!
The interaction will go much more pleasantly if you focus on listening without responding. Imagine yourself soaking up all the information they provide like a sponge without taking offense.
Employees may not be willing to be open and honest at first, but if you practice your listening skills, you can get them to open up. If they know they can say what’s really on their mind without you getting defensive or offended, you’ll find they have a lot to say!
Ways to practice your listening skills include:
- Ask questions about what they’re saying instead of providing answers
- Repeat what you heard, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification
- Always wait a second or two before responding to ensure they’re done speaking
4. Remember Every Interaction Is a Form of Feedback
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the only way you can get feedback from employees is to send out a survey or ask them directly. Employees are providing you with feedback all the time!
Every interaction is a form of feedback. Listen to their body language and facial expressions. If you tune into these cues, you can discover if someone isn’t getting enough sleep, or if someone is anxious about bringing a problem to your attention. Based on those cues, you can consider adjusting their work schedule with a later start time or creating a team-building exercise that makes everyone more comfortable with each other.
5. Share How Their Feedback Will Be Implemented
It sounds obvious that your employees would want to share their feedback. Unfortunately, most employees hate employee engagement surveys and feedback programs. That’s because they share their feedback and nothing changes!
Being transparent can be extremely helpful. Tell employees what you found after the latest round of surveys, and how you’re going to implement your findings. If you can’t do what the employees are suggesting, be open and honest about why you can’t. Knowing that you’re actually listening to what they’re saying, even if nothing changes, can encourage them to continue being open and honest with their feedback in the future.
Don’t just hand out a survey and say you’ll get to the results later! Make employee feedback a staple of your everyday operations. When you learn to make the most of the feedback you do get with the tips on this list, you’ll find that utilizing feedback is easier than you think.
For more great business tips, check out the other blogs on Career Geek!