How to Get Honest, Valuable Employee Feedback
If you're an HR manager, you may spend ample time trying to ensure employee satisfaction. And with job satisfaction, engagement, and retention heavily intertwined, there are plenty of good reasons for spending time making sure that your employees are truly happy. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell how your employees feel about their work or about the company as a whole. So, how do you go about getting honest feedback from your employees to help you increase overall satisfaction? Here are few strategies you may want to try:
- Start with anonymous feedback. Not everyone feels comfortable giving criticism to their managers or company leaders, and they may not trust that they won't be penalized for it. Anonymous feedback allows those who are hesitant to provide feedback to open up honestly without fear of repercussions.
- Ask the right questions. To get the most valuable feedback, make sure you're asking questions that will bring out the responses you're after. It's important to ask employees what's working and what isn't, but you might also ask for constructive criticism. As a manager, you might ask: What don't you like about my management style? How can I help you be more successful? What can we do to make this department more effective and reach its goals? Questions should prompt employees to consider their answers and provide insightful, actionable feedback.
- Ask for regular feedback, not just during reviews. Performance reviews might be a convenient time to sit employees down for a two-way feedback session, but if you want to gain the most value out of employee feedback, it has to happen regularly. Check in with employees during different seasons and projects to understand year-round satisfaction. If you've implemented a new policy or program, check in frequently to see if employees are comfortable with the initiative's progress. You may even offer employees a weekly survey check-in that allows them to anonymously answer a handful of questions that can help you track satisfaction over time.
- Act on it. Nothing deters employees from offering feedback than the feeling of not being heard. If your employees don't believe their feedback is being taken into account, they won't have much incentive to provide it in the future. Make an effort to act on feedback whenever possible and keep employees involved and informed. Show employees that their voices are heard and their opinions matter.
- Foster a culture of openness. The ultimate goal is to be able to give and receive feedback openly and honestly without concern. Organizations that prioritize openness will have an easier time getting valuable feedback from their employees. And for any organization, that openness needs to start with the company leadership. Leading by example can do wonders for a company's culture, so make sure that executives are the first to demonstrate the value of transparency.
Getting employee feedback doesn't have to be like pulling teeth. At the end of the day, employees want to be heard, and with the right approach, you can help your employees see honesty as an asset and not a risk.