How managers can get actionable feedback from employees

Kailash Ganesh
4 min read
A manager analysing and planning actions on employee feedback

Managers are core elements to any organization, who dedicate themselves to building a transparent and honest culture. After all, they are the bridges to the different teams and employees, and are the ones responsible for creating a company culture in an organization, that is conducive to growth and employee retention.

The importance of managers in an organization is crucial, but there would be times when they won't be able to lead their team with their best efforts. That's why one of their most essential duties includes receiving feedback from their team members to know what they feel and to drive the organization towards growth. Ideally, the feedback mechanism is a dive into the employees’ performance, their well-being, etc. In short, employee feedback is a holistic view of an employee’s tenure in the company.

Employee anonymous feedback processes help leaders to collect the details on an employee’s experience in the company and also help them to deep dive into it to analyze them, but at times the feedback collected might miss out on valuable insight.

There might be times when managers may tend to be bad at giving feedback either due to their cumbersome deliverables or because of the mere disregard for the importance of feedback. This aspect of them might not only hamper the employee’s growth but also the company in the longer run.

What most managers fail to understand is that employee feedback must be actionable. In other words, feedback should not be vague and, it should be directed towards specific points that can be looked upon and readily be adapted for the benefit of the employees and the company. When employees give vague feedback and managers don’t bother much to make an effort of digging deeper into their feedback, they end up wasting an important opportunity.

We must remember that the very purpose of constant feedback is to help employees in becoming their better versions. There is a need for leaders to constantly communicate with their teams and lead them towards the right path. At times, managers might have prejudices against certain employees, and through regular and honest feedback sessions that problem might be solved.

The fact that most managers are not aware of the importance of feedback in an organization is mainly because they aren't made aware of that unless they manage their own teams and they only tend to learn these while on the job, either from their mentors or from experience. Thus, in this blog, we have tried helping managers understand what steps they can take to receive valuable and actionable feedback from their team members:

  • Show interest in the feedback session and stay involved

Managers should not conduct feedback sessions out of compulsion and maintain blank or disinterested expressions throughout the session. They fail to understand that feedback sessions are not just for the teammates but the managers too. The only way to get honest and real feedback from your employees is to be involved in the feedback process because when you are genuinely interested in listening to what the employee got to say, they'll trust you and give actionable feedback.

  • Look for non-verbal cues in the employees' feedback

Most employees aren’t comfortable opening their hearts to their managers when it comes to the employee feedback process. They don’t want to get into trouble and choose to go with the flow even if that won’t help either of them. This is why managers must not just listen to what an employee has to say but also pay close attention to their body language and look for signs that indicate dishonesty or discomfort on the employee’s part.

Most people avoid looking into other’s eyes while lying or keep shifting in their seats when they are uncomfortable with something. When you notice such instances, take a pause and ask the employee if everything is alright and whether they would like to share more or take a break from the conversation.

  • Do not assume or judge your employees

Most managers tend to assume a lot of things about their employees, and this is the effect of not conducting regular employee feedback sessions. Due to lack of time or lack of interaction, most managers might not know everything about their team members, which leads them to assume both positive and negative things about their employees.

Someone who might appear confident and productive on the outset might not be so, while an employee who might be absent-minded during meetings might have personal problems affecting their performance. A leader shouldn’t assume but talk to the employees to get to the bottom of things and should try to help them overcome their issues.

  • Take accountability for your team

A leader needs to be as accountable to their teammates as they are to them. When a team member comes to you with a hurdle they are facing, you must take appropriate action and try to solve it. If you don’t take that up seriously, you set a tone of unaccountability in the team. As a manager, you must earn your team members’ trust, and that happens only when you take responsibility for the problems that your team members are facing and help them solve or rectify them.

  • Be regular with  the employee feedback process

Making feedback sessions a regular part of your culture is essential, as it will bring about the feeling for your employees that they are being constantly heard, and it also becomes a necessary component, which in turn ensures that no feedback is missed. When such sessions are irregular occurrences, a lot of small elements run the risk of being overlooked. Things that might seem inconsequential at that moment might go on to impact later on. When feedback sessions are made regular, most things won’t escape the team’s view, which leads to a healthy work culture in the company.

As mentioned earlier, feedback is an essential tool that shapes and molds a company. A company’s managers must remember that they are the ones in direct touch with employees at almost every level. Therefore, it becomes imperative that they take employee feedback seriously by taking an active part in the feedback process.

By doing this, managers are not just helping the company but the employees too. So the next time you conduct a feedback session with your employees, make sure each session is fruitful. If you do not deliver or receive the feedback in the right attitude, then you are not just endangering your employees’ growth but also that of the company.

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash is a Product Marketer with 5+ years of experience. He loves story-telling in the simplest way possible and he is an avid reader, movie buff, and likes to travel new places to meet new people.