Your employees are the people responsible for making your business work. They’re the ones carrying out your direction and turning your vision of the business into a reality. It’s important to collect feedback from your employees regularly and use that feedback to make impactful changes to your business.
But how can you make sure the employee feedback you receive is valuable?
Why Is Employee Feedback Important?
First, let’s explain what makes employee feedback so important in the first place.
- The employee experience. Employee feedback tells you about the average employee experience (EX). Employee experience is the sum total of an employee’s interactions with your company, from getting hired to departing. It’s a barometer for the health of your workplace environment, and if you master it, your employee retention will skyrocket.
- Productivity improvement. Employees often suggest insights that allow you to make improvements to the workplace, various workflows, and even the course of communication. If you take action on these ideas, you can improve the productivity of the entire team.
- Morale improvement. Employee feedback is also a great way to learn about issues that might be affecting employee morale. For example, do your employees feel overworked? Are they frustrated with something about the workplace environment?
- Employee satisfaction. When employees express themselves, and they feel that they’re heard, they’ll be more satisfied with their jobs. They’ll feel like they belong in the organization and that they’re taken seriously. This can make employees more confident and much more likely to stick around.
How to Collect Better Feedback From Employees
“Better” employee feedback is more honest. It’s more consistent. It’s more reliable. And it’s more actionable as well.
What steps can you take to ensure the feedback you get is the highest possible quality?
- Use a variety of mediums and communication channels. Different people like to express themselves in different ways, so make sure to collect feedback using a variety of different mediums and communication channels. For example, you can talk to your employees as a group, talk to them individually, ask them for feedback via email, and still collect anonymous surveys. This way, everyone has a chance to express themselves—and you might find different types of feedback depending on how it’s collected.
- Collect anonymously. There are some pros and cons to using anonymous surveys, but for employee feedback, they’re especially beneficial. Some employees may feel like your request for feedback isn’t sincere—that you’re trying to sniff out people who aren’t loyal, or that you won’t take what they have to say seriously. These people will be much more likely to express their true thoughts and feelings if they know their words will be collected and read anonymously.
- Collect consistently. Collecting a single round of surveys isn’t going to do much for your organization. If you want to get the most out of your employee feedback and employee experience strategy, you have to collect consistently. For some brands, that means something minimal, like collecting feedback in annual evaluations. For others, it means sending out short surveys once a week. The important thing is that you remain consistent over a long period of time.
- Create an open, honest culture. Your company culture also matters. It’s important to cultivate an environment that emphasizes openness and honesty. You need to be transparent with your employees and reward them when they volunteer their honest thoughts—even if it’s not what you want to hear. Over time, you’ll build trust, and your employees will be much more likely to give you their real opinions.
- Ask the right questions. Consider the questions you ask carefully. You should be designing questions that help you achieve specific goals; for example, are you interested in improving workload balancing? If so, you’ll need to ask questions about employee workloads. It’s also important to phrase your questions in an unbiased way, or else the answers you get may be unreliable.
- Express humility and accountability. You can encourage employees to give more criticism and negative feedback if you consistently express humility and accountability as a leader. Admitting that you sometimes make mistakes and attempting to make up for those mistakes will make people comfortable talking to you.
- Make feedback feel impactful. Finally, take steps to show employees that their feedback actually matters. If many employees are expressing discontent about the same thing, it’s your mission to correct or improve it. If you do, your employees will feel more heard—and they’ll give you more honest feedback in the future.
Once you start collecting better employee feedback, you can make meaningful improvements to your business from the bottom up. In time, your employees will be happier and more productive, and your business will operate more efficiently.