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Learn four essential tips that employers and HR departments should consider when trying to get honest input from their employees.

How do your employees feel about your recruiting and onboarding processes? Are they satisfied with the training they’re receiving? What about their work environment?

It would be best if you had honest feedback to be confident that your organization is doing what it takes to hire, onboard, train, and retain great professionals. The problem is that many employees don’t feel comfortable being forthcoming. A good HR team understands this and will use psychology, not to be manipulative, but to encourage honest feedback.

In this article, we’re going to look into four essential tips that employers and HR departments should consider when trying to get honest input from their employees.

Show that You will Follow Through

Asking your coworkers for feedback with no plan to implement it is a destructive practice that may end up harming your personnel’s morale. It’s much more important to act upon the feedback you receive from your employees, rather than choosing more intricate ways of collecting that information.

People care about being heard. If feedback sessions don’t lead to anything but platitudes, they have no reason to continue being open with you. Even if you won’t be able to satisfy an employee’s request, it’s imperative to provide a detailed explanation for why that decision was made.

It’s vital to follow up with a summary of the issues they voiced. By ensuring that your staff’s feedback is heard and addressed, you’ll be able to considerably improve employee engagement and build a corporate culture that honors commitments.

It’s also a good idea to have a set of follow-up questions to better calibrate the problem an employee is facing:

  • How do you think this issue can be resolved?
  • How do you think this will affect the company and its culture?
  • What can we do to avoid such issues in the future?
  • What can your managers do to better support you?
  • What do you recommend that your managers/peers keep doing?

Seek Feedback across Departments and Managerial Levels

An excellent practice for receiving detailed and honest feedback is employing the “skip-level” principle. Employees might find it uncomfortable to report to their immediate managers or supervisors, which can defeat the purpose of capturing honest opinions.

Allowing team members to instead deliver feedback to upper management will encourage them to be more open and honest while giving people higher up in the hierarchy a better understanding of problems the business may be facing. That is especially the case if the company has a vertical organizational structure, which may leave higher-ups oblivious to the issues of those two or three levels below. This also allows upper management to have an in-depth understanding of how their decisions impact everyone in the organization.

This approach has one crucial precondition — higher management needs to be approachable. Employees will be eager to share their honest opinion only if there’s a genuine interest that they can sense from their interviewers. It’s critical to create an open-door environment where workers aren’t intimidated or demotivated to communicate their feedback.

Create an Online System for Providing Quick Feedback

To have a holistic approach toward collecting feedback, it’s essential to ensure that employees can express their opinion on important matters at all times. Good feedback is ongoing, and employers need to provide a channel for it.

Instead of receiving feedback from your employees once or twice a year, consider creating an online system where they can (anonymously, if they feel the need to) provide you with input. An online system will allow you to address issues as they arise, acknowledge important problems that the organization is facing, and test new ideas forwarded by your workers. Is your skills assessment software effective in screening candidates, and does your onboarding process help new employees understand their day-to-day duties? The online system allows for gathering information quickly and acting on solving the problems right after they’ve arisen.

There are six different types of online employee feedback channels that businesses should consider. They range from short and ad-hoc to rigorous and lengthy:

  • Always-on
  • Ad hoc
  • Pulse surveys
  • Employee lifecycle
  • Multi-rater assessments
  • Census engagement surveys

If you’re looking to normalize and facilitate feedback exchange, you should consider integrating always-on and ad hoc surveys in your work design.

Be Honest about Your Struggles

There is a common trend among businesses to humanize their online presence. Organizations try hard to be as transparent and authentic as possible with their customers. There’s nothing wrong with doing the same with your employees.

Being honest with your workers about the struggles you and the company are facing is a great way to encourage them to be honest with you in return. Underline how valuable their honest input is to solve critical issues the organization is dealing with. In effect, this will enable your personnel to identify important issues, and try to search for possible solutions.

Keeping your employees in the dark regarding budget concerns, competition, hiring needs, and other significant problems will only dissuade them from contributing with honest feedback. If they won’t feel that they are a part of the company, there’s no reason they would want to help it out by providing it with their recommendations.

Motivating your employees to provide you with regular and, more importantly, honest feedback is not an easy task, by any stretch of the imagination. We are confident that by implementing these four tips, you’ll enable your coworkers to tell you what’s on their mind. A healthy and regular exchange in feedback will allow your company to grow and overcome issues while improving morale. Good luck!

About the author

Daniela McVicker is a career expert and an editor at Top Writers Review. She’s also a business communication coach, helping job applicants and employers to write better business emails and improve communication.

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