Today’s job seekers want to work in an environment where they feel safe and cared for by employers that are prepared to listen to their concerns. Organizations that regularly solicit employee feedback and make it clear that they value it report lower rates of employee churn, increased productivity, and even reduced rates of workplace accidents and injury.
Yet, 36 percent of employees report that they are not aware of any avenues for providing feedback to their employers. Using a variety of employee feedback collection methods is an effective way to show how much you value your workers’ input.
Benefits of Employee Feedback
The best employee feedback programs drive organizational development and improvement. Frontline employees often have a better sense of what customers want from your services and products. You never know when an employee in your midst is sitting on a great idea that could lead to improved efficiency or a great new idea for product development — unless you ask them.
To foster an environment where employees feel safe giving you their honest feedback, you need to assure them that their feedback will be considered and acted upon. One of the best ways to convince your workforce of your commitment to employee feedback is to share the data you derive from all methods of employee data collection with them.
This means that data needs to be collected in ways that allow for easy-to-understand reporting on results, for example, you’re more likely to be alerted to potential problems and learn of possible workplace improvements if you provide a variety of employee feedback collection methods throughout the year.
Avenues to Report Potential Wrongdoing
The best work environments stay that way by providing employees with ways to report wrongdoing. This includes providing opportunities to alert leadership about issues ranging from unethical business practices to failures on issues like diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or gender-based harassment, which data suggests affects at least 50 percent of women in the workplace during any given year.
An effective whistleblower policy should include several ways for employees to come forward when they fear that something damaging is going on within your organization, including anonymous avenues to express concern. Another great way to take the internal pulse of your organization is to establish employee resource groups (ERGs). Also, referred to as affinity groups, these collections of employees meet independent of leadership to address crucial issues, such as wellness or DEI. ERGs are often tasked with collecting feedback from coworkers and presenting it to senior leadership.
Employee Feedback Collection Methods
New Employee Surveys
Early encouragement to give candid feedback sets the tone for newly hired employees, dispelling any hint that yours is a workplace that operates in secrecy, but rather one that encourages candor, transparency, and the open exchange of ideas without fear of penalty.
New employees have a unique vantage point within your company because they are less enmeshed in the culture and more likely to see things early on in their tenure that they would be likely to miss or take for granted once they become more integrated into your way of doing things.
One increasingly popular employee feedback collection method is pulse surveys, frequent short surveys typically on targeted topics. You can promote them as a way to break up the workday. Their frequency helps to foster a culture of feedback and reinforces your commitment to hearing from workers at all levels. You can also track how employee viewpoints on key issues evolve over time and share your findings with employees in newsletters and on your workplace website.
One-on-One Manager Meetings
Results from these employee feedback collection methods are likely to be more qualitative and narrative than quantitative, but you can still integrate yes-no and ranked answer questions into documentation for these meetings that will allow you to gather quantifiable data that can be analyzed across departments and over time to look for patterns and track feedback.
In addition to performance reviews, encourage managers to hold brief weekly or biweekly check-ins with their direct reports, where, in addition to determining status on work projects, they make sure to ask about issues of wellness and engagement.
Consider installing a prominent tab on your intranet to remind employees that they can make suggestions at any time. You may even want to work with IT to allow employees the option of either sending an anonymous suggestion or taking full credit for their ideas. Or you can go the more traditional route of placing boxes at multiple locations throughout your workplace, with plenty of pens and notepads nearby.
Make it clear to your management ranks that feedback is essential. This includes gathering feedback from across various management levels and assuring managers that this feedback will be seriously considered by senior leadership. Make sure that a key member of your leadership team takes ownership of gathering and acting on feedback to signal the importance of these initiatives at every level of your organization.
Stay and Exit Interviews
As disappointing as it is to learn that a valued employee is considering an offer from another employer, these situations can also present an opportunity for implementing candid, useful employee feedback collection methods.
When top performers express a desire to leave your company, set up stay interviews. Ask if there is anything you can provide that might make them consider remaining. You can also schedule stay interviews for long-valued employees to learn what aspects of your workplace are keeping them there, as well as any changes they’d like to see implemented to head them off from ever wanting to walk out the door.
If they cannot be persuaded to stay, these stay interviews can evolve into exit interviews and thus opportunities to speak candidly about elements of your workplace that might be improved upon for your remaining employees and future hires.
Learn How to Act on Employee Feedback to Improve Hiring and Retention
Once you institute a variety of employee feedback collection methods, learn more about how to implement the latest hiring and management methods to optimize your retention and recruitment strategies.