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BY Judah Hirsch Clerkship
Steel sharpens steel. For your company to remain at the top, you need to get honest company feedback from your employees. In fact, research suggests that companies who get feedback actually perform better and are able to retain employees up to 14.9% better.
According to data, companies that actively engage their employees get 25% yearly increase in revenue compared to companies that do not. Additional profits can be a powerful enough motivation for entrepreneurs and managers.
Research also suggests that getting reviews can boost company morale. According to popular company review site glassdoor.com, 62% of employees state that their perception of a company improved after seeing a company incorporate their feedback into policy.
Getting company reviews from your employees is clearly important. However, getting company feedback can be a tedious task, not to mention you might not even be sure if the responses you get will be honest. Here are seven tips that might just be able to help you:
Although you might think that an anonymous suggestion box would be effective in gathering honest feedback, it sends the wrong message to employees. In a nutshell, it says that your company isn’t open to criticism and that people need to hide their identities in order to speak out.
Give your employees the option to be anonymous when giving feedback, but it should not be their main option. Create a culture of openness and understanding and you might just find that getting company feedback would be a lot easier. Anonymity communicates fear, and that is not something you want to foster in a successful company.
The biggest mistake you can do in getting company feedback is actually making a deal out of it. It almost guarantees that you will be getting responses that are not-so-honest. Ask your questions casually, and get feedback through informal conversations.
Feedback you get through informal conversations tend to be more candid and can give you a deeper insight into what’s going on with the company. Drop your questions in conversation. A simple “what’s up?” can get you the company feedback you want without having to make a thing out of it.
One important tip is to mingle with employees around the water cooler or break room. Don’t do it like a boss spying on employees, though. Make it a part of your culture. There should be spaces where employees can be free to express themselves without having you go into “boss mode” and chewing them out.
Learn how to read between the lines. Whenever employees have an issue with the company, it will manifest itself in conversations. Watch for casually dropped statements and try to get insight on what’s going on with your company.
Being insightful also means asking meaningful questions. Phrase your questions in such a way that you ask for your employee’s advice, rather than just getting their feedback. People will view you more as a leader if they know you consider their views in your decisions. Validate your employees and you will increase your engagement that much more.
In some cultures, asking for company feedback as a boss will only get you heaped with praises and forced smiles. If you assign someone else to gather feedback, your employees might be more responsive to that person. This can be especially useful if you are the sort of boss who wants to maintain a professional distance with employees.
The downside to this, of course, is that you might alienate yourself from the source of the company feedback. However, you have to think of the person you assign as a bridge. Assigning someone could be the key to opening up channels of communication.
If you can’t avoid making a thing out of getting company feedback, at least make it into a fun activity. Turn it into a bingo game and have employees look for other people with similar opinions about the company. This allows you to step back from the process and ensure that the company feedback you get is honest. Another benefit of this is you will be able to isolate common opinions and feedback on your company, enabling you to address pressing issues.
When you turn company feedback into a game instead of a task, you will also be able to introduce rewards. Rewarding honest company feedback will incentivize the activity and make it much easier for you to get insight in the future.
Body language, encouraging questions, and even the occasional “uh-uh” can make a conversation flow much more naturally. When you validate your employees’ feelings and thoughts on how your company is doing, you encourage them to come to you immediately when they think something is wrong. This gives you a better hold on your company and gives you a much better perspective of things to make better decisions.
Validation does not mean you always agree to their opinions. It simply shows that you acknowledge and understand a person’s feelings on a matter and that you are truly listening.
Validate your employees by following up on their feedback. The company feedback process should not end with one conversation. You need to incorporate your company feedback and then get back to your employees to see if they are satisfied.
Miscommunication does happen, so make sure to follow up often, even during the process of incorporating employee views into company policy. If you are successful in turning the process of gathering feedback into something casual and honest, it would be much easier to get help from employees when you implement their suggestions.
Gathering company feedback should not be a difficult task. Employees sometimes provide it unconsciously. All you have to do is be aware and ask the right questions at the right time. Don’t make too big a deal out of it, make the process fun and you’ll get much more honest responses.