Gathering Honest Feedback from Employees
[This article was written by Samuel Kaye.]
Smart people research their employer’s business reviews before applying for a job there. The better feedback you have, the better you will look for potential employees. No one wants to work for a company that is high stress and low reward, not unless there is nothing else available.
This article outlines four ways that you can get good feedback from your employees and how to earn it. But first, let’s talk about why you should get employee feedback and how it helps employees.
Why you should be attempting to get employee feedback
Feedback is a great way to find out your strengths and weaknesses as a company and what you need to improve on. No one likes hearing about what they are bad at, but sometimes it is the only way to grow.
“Employee feedback is especially critical during the early stages of starting a business” states Chris Deyer of Undergrads Moving. “The beginning stages are when a company has the potential to experience the most growth and suffer the least amount of losses as a result of this growth. This is why it is important to start gathering employee feedback from the start.”
Ask employees to provide anonymous testimonials. This can be done online through HR or a survey service like Survey Monkey. The important thing is that the feedback is anonymous. The key is to get honest feedback. Employees won’t give that to you if they think you can trace their feedback back to them.
These employee testimonials can be added to your website for other potential employees to see and know your work. You will, of course, post positive reviews on your website, but don’t ignore the bad ones. See what comments they have and if you spot a common theme or someone identifies a problem, try to solve it.
All feedback is good feedback. If it is negative, you can still use it to make positive changes.
Positive feedback makes you look better as a business.
Negative feedback helps you learn from possible mistakes.
Here are four tips on how to get accurate feedback from employees.
1 – Maintain strong employee communication
Be very attentive with your employees or, if you don’t see them regularly, make sure their point of contact is readily available.
Pro tip from business expert Wesley Ward, VP of Merchandising from an online faucet supplier;
“Employees want to feel like they are being seen and heard. When you make your employees feel valued, they are more likely to enjoy their work and as the manager, check with them regularly. Be that once a week or month, just so long as they know that you see them”.
If someone does let you know that they have a problem or difficulty, get back with promptly to let them know that you’ve either fixed the problem, if possible or will look into what you can do, then check back in with them later to update them on the status. The easier they feel their needs are being met, the better the relationship will be created. Even if you, in the end, can’t do something, at least you tried to help them and that you will do the same again for other problems.
Show Interest in them, ask about projects, challenges, what they enjoyed. Setting goals with your team is a great way to engage and foster open lines of communication. Share something about yourself as well. People always like to hear about people’s families or hobbies, as long as it is not too personal as it helps build connections.
2 – Don’t be defensive
If someone comes with a complaint, hear them out. With most problems, people just want to be heard. Let the person explain their problem or explain what is bothering them and try to fully understand the issue.
If it is about you do not immediately defend your actions. This will come across as defensive. Again, let the other person have their say and then explain what your decision-making system was.
Consider their feelings. When explaining a decision, stick to the facts, do not make it about the other person. Explain what your decision was based on and keep it at that.
Explain yourself with logic and respect to their side of the situation. If they feel that you have made the wrong decision or that it was not reached fairly, you can look at the decision again or have someone else look at it. This is where company policy or procedures can help, as it gives you a procedure to follow and guidelines to support your decisions.
3 – Take Responsibility
Even the CEO can make mistakes. Do not always point problems back to the employee. If a bad decision was reached or you can’t do anything different, you can always try to work with the person to find a workaround if possible.
Advice from real estate expert and founder of Source Capital; Sacha Ferrandi
“An employer or manager who admits to making a mistake when they make one and fixes it is usually looked up to by employees. They know what you will judge a situation fairly and will give you more benefit of the doubt in other situations”.
Own up to problems and communicate how you plan to develop solutions. This is where it is important to be receptive to employee suggestions as well. If a policy or procedure is not popular, but it has a good reason behind it, be open to suggestions on how to change it.
4 – Understand non-verbal communication
An employee can tell you they are doing fine, but look for cues that may say otherwise:
- if they are constantly late,
- using up chunks of their PTO,
- not attending team building events
- eating at their desk when they’re usually with the group, etc.
These signs and others may indicate that they feel otherwise. Check-in with the employee, but don’t push them, just let them know that you are aware that they are not doing alright and that they can come to you or someone in HR with any problems.
The goal is to stop issues before they start affecting performance.
Be the office where people want to work at, and your employees will tell others about you
Taking steps in the workplace to develop strong communication with employees and giving them the chance to say when something isn’t working is a great way to build trust with employees.
When they know that management is listening to them and working to resolve any issues that come up, they will feel that they are working in a supportive environment.
Ask for anonymous feedback every so often. Even if you think things are going great, there might be an issue under the surface that you don’t know about.
This will allow you to collect some great employee statements and to see if there are things in the office that need improving.
Samuel Kaye is a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips and writes about a variety of topics ranging from content marketing strategy to business development to help entrepreneurs and business owners grow their ventures.