Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Take care of your people and protect your business

Do you want to help your employees stay longer, be happier and feel valued? Inviting feedback in the right way can increase job satisfaction and help your leaders reach their goals.

What Is Employee Feedback?  

Employee feedback can take different forms depending on the type of questions asked by the leader or company. Do you know what your employees like most about working for your company and what aspects of working for the organization are most painful? Are you missing great ideas for improvement in processes because you aren’t asking for them? What benefits do your employees value the most? How do they experience the culture? All of these topics and many more are included in employee feedback.

Why Is Employee Feedback Important?

Without employee feedback, a company can miss key factors, changes in morale, and cultural issues. Employee feedback can provide a company with a competitive advantage and put the talents of your workforce to better use. Here are just a few ways in which employee feedback is a crucial resource for your company.

Engagement vs. Feedback

Employee engagement is the emotional attachment the individual feels at his or her place of work. Employee engagement may also include the level of enthusiasm and dedication an employee feels toward their position. Employee engagement can fuel a company and is an area of study in its own right.  

Types of Employee Feedback

There are many ways you can ask for feedback. It can occur informally, in quick questions over lunch or in the hall, as well as in formal surveys or meetings. Here are a few general types of feedback that can all be useful.

Suggestions

Asking for suggestions (such as in a survey or suggestion box) may not get to core issues, but it can alert you to concerns or issues as well as get great ideas for everything from how to celebrate holidays to efficiency improvements. 

Complaints

Complaining has a bad reputation, but instituting an open-door policy or office hours can help leaders understand people’s core concerns with workplace problems. Consider training managers in active listening so they can see complaints as an opportunity to learn more and get valuable insight. 

Ratings and Rankings

A rating and ranking system with numbers assigned to issues can help you track issues over time. For example, employees may rate their satisfaction with the company a 5 out of 10. That might seem bad until you compare it to last year’s score, which was 2 out of 10. Ratings or rankings are most helpful when combined with follow-up questions about why the employees chose the rating.

Observations

We all behave differently when we know we are being watched. Observing from a distance, however, can help leaders see problems within the organization. For instance, noticing that one highly productive individual does things differently from their peers can help leaders figure out improvements.

When to Gather Employee Feedback

Because it takes time to get feedback, it makes sense to focus on areas where it can do the most good. Here are a few categories of feedback you may want to focus on in your organization.

  • Improving things relevant to employees’ jobs. Getting ideas from a receptionist about improving the front-desk experience for customers makes sense while getting their ideas about meeting financial ratios probably does not. Employees may feel frustrated if they are asked to do someone else’s job.
  • Improving employee satisfaction. Employees are already thinking about how they can be happier at work. Asking directly about how HR can improve their work experience tells them the company cares.
  • Focusing on possible change. It is wise to focus on getting feedback where the organization can make a change in the short term. Executives will probably feel that suggestions to shut down the company aren’t helpful, and employees who make suggestions but see no change may feel discouraged.

What to Include When Gathering Employee Feedback

Requesting feedback can be tricky. People may fear backlash from leaders or not want to be seen as complainers, and may only comment on what they think leaders want to hear. Here are some creative ways to get people to open up about real issues in the company.

Create a Safe Space and Be Upfront About Feedback

Acknowledge the fact that not all feedback is feasible to be acted upon.  Explain why you value their opinions and that only their honest feedback will be useful. This upfront conversation will create a safe space and encourage employees to give relevant feedback.

Anonymous vs Identity Attached 

Be clear about when feedback is anonymous and when it is not. Make sure employees understand when their name, age, gender, or job role is documented with their feedback. Make sure to keep any promises about what will and won’t be shared about who is making each comment.

Allow People To Back Out

Trust and respect are more important for the long-term health of the company when compared to any feedback people might get. Show people respect by allowing them to opt-out of offering feedback. If someone gives feedback but asks the individual not to share it with anyone, it is wise to respect their wishes.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Focus on questions that allow people to explain things in their own words. Beware of telling people what to think by the way the questions are asked. For example, rather than asking, “How happy does working nine to five make you?” instead ask, “How do you feel about working nine to five?” It is always okay to ask follow-up questions that get more details. 

Be Grateful

Employees’ time is valuable, so thank them for their time and effort. Notify employees when a suggestion they made is changing the organization, and highlight progress on issues the employees raised. Employees who see that their feedback had an impact will be more likely to offer more input in the future.

How Do I Get Employee Feedback?

There are many sources of inviting and finding peoples’ opinions and desires about their workplaces. 

Conversations

People love to talk about their work and often have great ideas if asked about ways to improve work processes. Leaders can use these conversations to know what kinds of questions to ask in surveys.

Surveys

Surveys can be taken through one-on-one interviews, pulse surveys (frequent but short), group interviews, or online survey platforms like Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, or Google Forms. These pre-planned questions can use rankings as well as free-form feedback.

Anonymous Feedback

Creating an anonymous way to speak up gives employees a safe way to express their thoughts without the fear of retribution from leaders and managers. Employees may feel comfortable sharing ideas about how to improve the workplace or specific processes that the company couldn’t elicit in any other way. Anonymity can be offered in suggestion boxes or online links.

Exit Interviews

Employees who are leaving voluntarily or involuntarily are typically more likely to speak about sensitive topics and can be a great source of insight into how the organization can improve.

Public Information

Employees post reviews about current or former employers on many websites. Glassdoor.com, Monster.com and even Google reviews can help the organization get feedback on the company. Along with discussing salary and benefits, these reviews often discuss other aspects of work that are great or could be improved.

Employee Feedback Tools

Here are some tools you can use when trying to get employee feedback about your organization.

Questions

It is important to ask the right questions in non-biasing ways. If you need ideas, there are many online resources, including: 

Survey Tools

There are a number of survey tools that can help the company get feedback from employees and can ensure confidentiality.

Google Forms

  • Pro: Free version has full features. 
  • Con: Costs money for added privacy.

Qualtrics.com

  • Pros: Well-designed. Pre-packaged employee feedback questions.
  • Cons: Paywalls to get premium features. Complex for first-time users.

Outside Experts

Having outsiders collect feedback can be helpful. Employees may be more comfortable sharing sensitive information if they know the person asking has no history in the organization.

  • Student interns. Nearby colleges and universities likely have students in sociology, anthropology or business programs who have been trained to ask good questions and are looking for internships.
    • Pros: Low cost. Academic advisors can help. Not threatening to employees.
    • Con: Less experience.
  • Consultants. Many companies are happy to come in and help HR gather feedback.
    • Pro: Professional accountability. Big name offers legitimacy. Experience.
    • Con: High cost.

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Questions You’ve Asked Us About

Sometimes employees make suggestions that the organization just can’t act on. Even if the company can’t do everything that an employee might suggest, individual comments almost always highlight a core concern the company can respond to.

Human Resources are the gatekeepers and shepherds of personnel information. If HR promised the survey was anonymous, then it is an ethical and privacy issue, and HR can not break the trust or confidentiality of the employees taking the survey. Sharing this information would damage the ability to get good-quality ideas in the future. If it might help the person’s career, consider reaching out and asking if it is okay to share their name.

There are often good reasons not to do exactly what people suggest in the way that they suggest it. However, if you feel that good points were raised but are being ignored, consider gathering more information to help the leader see that many employees are saying similar things, or show evidence of a similar suggestion working in another company.

HR professional Matthew Wride recommends frequently measuring employer net promoter score (eNPS). “I believe [the most important surveys to send] are quarterly pulses (eNPS) that ask two questions. Would I recommend this organization as a great place to work? The other question: tell us about your experience. . . . What I love about this approach is the consistent feedback managers get at least quarterly, and the eNPS score really drives accountability.”

Eva helps committed business personnel in the business world improve their job performance and secure future career opportunities by advancing their communication and presentation skills in English. Eva never thought that she would teach because she is so introverted. This world has been changing and with the changes, she has discovered that individuals need help with improving their English as well as lifestyle to deal with that pandemic. So Eva has started a business to help those individuals achieve their goals.

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