For a well-run company, it’s important to seek out and incorporate employee feedback in your efforts to improve your company. And at Kazi, we spend our time understanding how to get the most out of interacting with your employees, so here are a few practices we’ve picked up over the years.
Foster an environment of Trust
This is the most crucial, and influences everything else. Making sure your work environment trusts and respects your employees will help them feel comfortable enough to believe their insights will be taken seriously. And this extends beyond just when you’re asking them for feedback. Make sure their work is taken seriously and that you trust them to manage their time without constant micromanagement. If employees get the sense that management doesn’t see them as serious professionals, they won’t want to offer their ideas. Treat people to a high standard, and watch them meet it.
Allow for both anonymous and attributed feedback
Not all kinds of feedback is the same. Some is uncomfortable, such as if a boss or supervisor is running things badly and makes people uncomfortable. Other feedback might be a source of pride or excitement for an employee who has come up with a way to improve things around the office. Employees might want credit for something like that, and you’d want to give it, right? Don’t assume that all will be one kind or another. So, if you’re designing feedback processes and forms, structure the attribution of the feedback around the kind of feedback you’re soliciting. We spend a lot of time at Kazi developing our expectations scans to get the right kind of answers from employees. It’s not just as simple as asking “What do you think?” You need to ask well to get useful answers.
Show feedback in action
There’s nothing quite so dispiriting as putting a lot of time and thought into a quality feedback for your employer, and then not seeing anything done about it. And not even a response. It might be the case that not all employee feedback is ready or ripe to be used right away, which is okay. But make sure that once you collect feedback from your employees, you make sure they know you got it, read it and took it seriously. If you’re implementing changes they recommended, let the company know! If you’re putting together a plan based on their ideas, tell them! And even if you can’t do what they said, acknowledge the feedback and help them understand why. Make sure employees understand that feedback is not a one-way process.
Make feedback a regular part of the company
If employees come to understand that their feedback is solicited only when something goes wrong or when upper management got bored for a while, they’re not going to value giving it, and not going to make an effort. This results is demoralized employees, and worthless feedback. Make feedback part of what goes on at the company normally. Maybe something really simple, like a suggestion box? Or yearly feedback meetings? Or regular CEO lunches with employees? There are literally an endless number of ways to integrate feedback into the background of your company. Kazi has developed a number of very effective methods that we’ve helped clients put to use for themselves.
The most important thing about feedback is that your employees understand you take them, and their ideas seriously. That doesn’t mean putting all of them into practice, but it does mean treating the feedback process like you care about it. This starts with the employee environment, and filters all the way through your interactions with them. There are lots of ways to improve the ways you collect and implement feedback, and at Kazi, we’d love to help you work through them. If you’ve got an interest in better employee feedback, drop us a line, and let’s chat!