Every Human Resource professional knows the value of employee feedback in helping to build a better organization. If you had a magic formula for getting your employees to tell you honestly what was on their minds, you could probably reduce absenteeism, reduce employee turnover, improve morale, improve employee productivity, well the list goes on.
So what are the best ways to obtain honest employee feedback that provides enough good information to allow you to deliver actionable results? Here are a few examples.
Anonymous Employee Surveys
This is one of the most commonly used tools to solicit feedback and in most organizations the only mechanism where employees feel free to be honest in their feedback. Unfortunately they are used most often during periods of change, and that can be a mistake. People, organizational objectives, and services all change frequently so it can be a real benefit to survey your employees on different issues several times during the year.
Also, you should make sure you survey everyone. Good ideas can come from any one in any department. The more inclusive you are, the more open your employees will feel about responding.
Finally, your survey needs to be delivered in a way that you can collect enough data so that it is useful for your purposes.
- Advertise the survey in advance so that employees are expecting it;
- If your organization has a “slow” period, use that time so that employees have the time to focus on their responses;
- Make sure you provide enough time for everyone to complete it – one to two weeks is typically the right amount of time for a multi-page survey;
- Let employees know that survey results will be acted upon
Surveys can be a wonderful way to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization, to contribute important information to leadership on where problems may be occurring, or to get new ideas for improvement.
Town Hall Meetings
Town Hall Meetings can be a place where employees are able to submit questions anonymously to the leadership; present new ideas for operational improvements; showcase new service offerings; bring up issues or provide updates on issues that were raised at the previous meeting.
Open discussions like these can spark engaging conversations and while not every suggestion will be adopted, it creates an environment of real team building and a sense that everyone’s voice matters.
While Employee Surveys are effective tools to use for an entire organization; group meetings are a great way to target one or more departments.
In order for these meetings to be successful and meaningful, there are several factors that need to be considered. First, if at all possible, have a professional facilitator plan and conduct the meeting. Meeting facilitators are professionals and if your goal is to have a meeting where the purpose is clear, the right people are present, and there is a systematic process in place to help the group achieve its goals in a timely and organized manner, then they are an essential part of the process.
A few other suggestions include:
- Have an established agenda that includes the meeting topic and questions that will be asked. This should be sent out prior to the meeting so that everyone understands the purpose and has time to collect their thoughts on the material to be covered.
- Whether you have a facilitator or not, it needs to be clear that there are no right or wrong answers and that honest feedback is essential. Your goal is to create an atmosphere of trust and that there will be no recriminations for anything said at the meeting.
- Have a scribe so that someone is accurately capturing the content.
The valuable feedback and insights you gain from any of these exercises will help you guide management and create a plan of implementation to successfully address some of the issues that have been raised. And, employees will value having their voices heard encouraging commitment to the organization.
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- 3 Steps to Actionable Employee Feedback
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- Asking Employees to do More Could be a Violation of FLSA
- Difficult Employee - Can This Employee Be Saved?
- Download the Employee Engagement eBook