Tips for Collecting Better Employee Feedback
We’ve all heard the various findings related to employee happiness. We’ve heard how happy employees are more productive; that they stay longer at their jobs, thereby reducing hiring costs; that they take fewer sick days; and that they can propel company-wide productivity and sales.
None of that is surprising.
But when it comes to actually finding out if their employees are happy, organizations have a hard time. And the issue gets worse the larger the company grows.
Sure, most companies evaluate their employees. But collecting feedback from employees is a completely different game.
Collecting employee feedback the right way needs to be systematic—built into your organizational processes in a way that makes every employee feel like they have a voice.
Here are a few tips to become a feedback-collecting machine, without breaking the bank or taking up too much time.
1. Bring back the suggestion box
Suggestion boxes are old school. No question about it. But they’re still one of the best ways to anonymously collect feedback from employees.
Anonymity itself is important. Some employees could face embarrassment or, even worse, retribution if what they say is undisguised.
And if you want to bring your suggestion box into the 21st century, you have options.
One way is to create a simple, anonymous online feedback form that employees can fill out at their leisure. You can customize it any way you like, but the foundation of a good suggestion form includes two important questions: “What is your suggestion?” and “What benefit would your suggestion bring?”
By keeping your questions relatively open, you can get an array of feedback, ranging from office decor improvements to high-level strategy. But you won’t know unless you build the suggestion box form.
2. Distribute in-depth employee satisfaction surveys
Sometimes it’s helpful to get feedback on very specific areas of the company, like processes and procedures, workplace environment, food and perks, management styles, supplies, and anything else that concerns your team.
But where the feedback form mentioned above as a suggestion tool is more qualitative, this should be more quantitative.
Assign number and scale ratings to your questions to glean broader insights into what your employees think about specific issues. For instance, say you survey a dozen employees and one of the questions asks them to rate the dress code on a level of one to 10. If you’re averaging a 3.8 out of 10, you now have the data to make improvements.
If you use the right mobile-forms platform, you can even quickly get your survey into the hands of employees who don’t always work behind a desk.
3. Conduct one-on-one meetings with employees
Meeting individually with all of your employees can prevent a lot of problems from ever occurring. They’re the best way to build rapport with employees and to give constructive feedback.
Face-to-face meetings are also one of the best ways to get employee feedback.
Ask casually about how they feel, how they think the company and culture could be improved, and what would make them happier. Brave managers can even ask their direct reports if they’re doing a good job managing them.
For a pro tip, consider doing your one-on-one meetings while going for a walk. It eases tensions and will elicit better conversation and, ultimately, better feedback.
4. Hold regular all-hands meetings
All-hands meetings are not just a terrific way to disseminate company information to the workforce. They’re also great forums to openly discuss employee suggestions.
Some people are more comfortable discussing improvements in a group setting, where fellow colleagues can support their suggestions. Especially if there are suggestions shared by groups of employees, all-hands meetings are a must.
Management can have blind spots. Don’t wait until exit interviews to learn about obvious areas to improve your company.
By implementing these simple, affordable tips for collecting feedback from employees, your company will have a chance to be more productive, fun, and profitable.
About the author
Chad Reid is the VP of communications at JotForm, a popular online form-building software based in San Francisco.