Employee feedback has grown over the years from being a ‘nice to have’ HR initiative, to a critical workforce engagement tool. Establishing a consistent feedback loop, from all levels and categories of talent, offers many benefits to your business.
Today, I’m going to cover the main advantages of employee feedback, including tips on how to extract the right feedback suited to your business and culture.
Employee Feedback Boosts Worker Engagement
There’s plenty of research demonstrating a direct link between employee engagement, and a workplace culture of listening.
Remember, in today’s work environment, culture, business ethics and career opportunity are valued almost twice as much as remuneration and benefits.
Collecting employee feedback is no longer enough. If companies want to optimise employee engagement, they must use that feedback and take action on it. The data […] must be used to make improvements–with employees, the workforce at large and the company overall
Employee Feedback isn’t an Annual Event
Previously – like 10 years ago – gleaning talent insights was a yearly initiative, set to ‘inform’ the workforce strategy for the following 12 months.
Today, high-performing organisations are taking the pulse of their workforce, continually. The frequency is typically dictated by business milestones (eg. project completion), or major decisions.
Ideally, you’ll align the cadence of your feedback with your business calendar or seasonal cycles. That way, your commercial performance can be directly correlated to the employee feedback loop.
Feedback Pathways Aren’t Always Structured
Employee surveys and other formal feedback tools are great business solutions for collating, analysing and storing employee data. And they are highly recommended (I found this list of solutions, which may be of interest).
There are a host of informal employee touch-points, to boost the quality and consistency of your feedback cycle.
- One-on-one informal conversations, garnered through strong employee/manager relationships
- Performance reviews
- Project milestone achievements and recognition
- Talent development programs
- Interviewing return-to-work talent (eg from maternity leave)
- Interviewing boomerang talent (those who have returned to the company after a period elsewhere)
HR Isn’t the Sole Owner of Talent Feedback
Whereas previously, workforce feedback was championed as a major annual HR project, visible to only a few, today things are different. Smart organisations have instituted decentralised feedback channels, are accessible business-wide: managers, HR teams, leadership and even employees themselves.
In doing so, employee data can be used to make critical business decisions, often in real-time.
Employee feedback data offers a treasure trove of value for critical business decision-making. And by including employees in this process, the workforce will be more highly engaged.
Listening: the Key to a Successful Feedback Strategy
Adopting a consistent listening strategy is the best way to understand the employee experience. In doing this, the business can determine those projects and workforce strategies that are working, and those that are not.
In addition, ongoing listening will allow new opportunities and ideas to be uncovered.
There are three simple steps to take, when listening to the workforce:
- Ask: asking for employee feedback demonstrates a recognition of their value. And gives them an insight into the factors the business is currently interested in. Be sure you don’t ask questions about issues you’re not likely to act upon.
- Review: collation and analysis of the data from workers. The emergence of HR analytics enables organisations to make data-driven decisions. Companies using HR data are largely ahead of their competitors, given the uptake isn’t yet universal. But it’s getting there. Some of the leading HR data tools to support your listening mission are included on this list.
- Taking Action: listen, think about it, then make your move. From what is learned, action needs to be taken on problems or opportunities quickly. This way, the business is demonstrating they’ve listened and learned from employee feedback.
Employee feedback, when sourced and utilised strategically, offers multiple business and talent engagement opportunities. And when managed with a robust technology base, offers the organisation strategic and competitive advantages.
If you’d like to discuss the process of undertaking employee feedback in your business, I’d be delighted to help. You can reach me here.