It’s a well-known fact that employee feedback is one of the most important factors in contributing to an organization’s growth. Exchanging constructive feedback is necessary both for self-growth as well as organizational growth.
But, gathering feedback from employees can be a challenging task. Immediately you’re taken back to your university days when you were the only one following up with everyone to finish their tasks. Nightmares, right?
That doesn’t have to be the case.
Although employees dread giving feedback – for whatever reason, maybe they are shy, or they simply don’t have the time – you can make this process more fun and engaging.
In fact, studies show that 75% of employees feel that receiving feedback is extremely important for their work. While another survey found that 98% of workers disengaged from their work when they didn't receive any feedback.
We’re going to change that! In this article, we'll explore how to gather effective employee feedback.
But first, let’s take a look at how you can build a feedback-positive culture.
Table of contents:-
- How to build a feedback-positive culture?
- When to ask for employee feedback?
- 6 tips for collecting employee feedback
- 10 effective methods to gather employee feedback
- 3 positive employee feedback examples
- 5 constructive employee feedback examples
- Final thoughts on employee feedback
How to build a feedback-positive culture?
Building a feedback-positive culture can have a huge impact on employee engagement, productivity, and overall organizational performance.
As an employer, you need to take charge of creating a workplace culture that is more conducive to giving and receiving positive feedback. You can lead by example – it’s important that you show your employees that you value their feedback by actively seeking them out and taking action upon receiving it.
Setting clear expectations with your employees about what kind of feedback is expected also fosters a healthy, feedback-positive environment.
Some employees may be inexperienced in giving feedback.
When to ask for employee feedback?
For an organization to function smoothly, it is necessary for feedback surveys to be conducted regularly.
Asking for regular employee feedback should be an ongoing process that happens throughout the year, as opposed to a one-time thing every once in a while — this makes them feel heard and seen and fosters a positive feedback culture.
Some occasions when you can ask employees for feedback are:
After a major project or initiative
Rolling out employee feedback forms after a new/major initiative will help you gather intel on what went well and what could be improved.
During performance reviews
These meetings are the perfect time for feedback sessions, as employees are most likely to be prepared and have their answers ready.
Onboarding and exit interviews
Onboarding interviews help you understand the effectiveness of an onboarding process, whereas exit interviews throw light on why employees leave and what you can do to boost employee retention.
6 tips for collecting employee feedback
While collecting feedback is a valuable tool for improving organizational performance and fostering a positive workplace culture, getting employees to give honest, constructive feedback can be difficult.
There could be a number of reasons why employees would hesitate before giving feedback. They might be afraid that their feedback will be used against them, or they might be too busy with their work and not have the time to provide feedback.
Irrespective, it’s important to facilitate a healthy feedback culture so you can grow together, as an individual and as an organization.
Here are a few tips to help you collect employee feedback.
Trust is the foundation of a relationship. This applies to the employer-employee relationship as well. When your employees trust you, they are more likely to share their opinions, even if they are negative ̣̣— which makes for effective employee feedback.
Regularly updating your employees about company news, upcoming events, or new initiatives helps establish a stronger relationship. Similarly, being transparent in your actions and decisions further promotes trust and aids a positive feedback environment. Also, considering employee input in any major organizational-level decision can build and strengthen trust. This also drives employee engagement.
Having regular 1-1s with your employees to help them with their work, to understand their needs, or to just check up on them helps strengthen your relationship. In the same vein, following through with your commitment to your employees will indicate that you are reliable and accountable to your word.
As an employer, you should master the art of active listening. Hearing your employees out and taking action on their positive and negative feedback shows that you truly care about your employees’ opinions, further establishing a positive feedback culture.
But most of all, you need to show your employees that you trust them, too. Trust is a two-way street. If your employees find a reason to believe you don’t trust them, they may be reluctant to come forward with any suggestions. Encouraging employees when they are taking on a new project, or letting them set the pace for their work (within the deadline, of course) are some ways in which you can show your employees that you trust them.
Offer an anonymous option
Collecting employee feedback anonymously is a powerful way to encourage honest and effective employee feedback.
Firstly, it encourages genuine and positive employee feedback without the fear of repercussions or negative consequences. Employers can gain more open feedback and insights if they provide a safe and confidential environment for employees to voice their ideas and concerns.
Anonymous feedback eliminates the risk of bias, as the employee will focus more on the feedback rather than on the person receiving it — fostering more open and constructive feedback, where everyone’s opinions are valued equally.
Anonymous feedback also provides a safe space for employees who have negative feedback but are hesitant to come forward due to stage fear. Some people communicate better through written words. Employers will be creating a more diverse and inclusive environment by employing anonymous feedback.
Lastly, collecting feedback anonymously can help preserve relationships between workers, managers, and employers as it empowers employees in providing positive feedback or in giving constructive feedback, and critical feedback without the fear of negative consequences. This increases overall employee morale and helps create more positive outcomes and a work environment that is open and trusting.
Ask the right questions
Most employers fail to consider the importance of asking the right questions while rolling out a feedback request. Formulating the right questions to ask for feedback is an art that not many employers have mastered yet.
Framing the right set of questions provides clarity to employees on what exactly is being asked of them and eliminates the risk of vague feedback. It also guides the conversation and ensures that all important topics are covered.
Additionally, asking thought-provoking questions encourages employees to reflect on their experiences and answer them with conviction and in-depth detail.
When posed with carefully crafted questions, employees get a sense of ownership over their work and their role in the workplace, especially when they’re working remotely. Asking thoughtful questions and taking subsequent action iterates that your employees’ opinions matter and that their feedback is taken seriously. It also builds trust and motivates your employees to come to you for whatever reason.
Posing the right questions also nudges employees to put forth any negative feedback they might be otherwise hesitant to say.
Overall, asking the right questions helps boost employee engagement as it makes them feel heard and seen.
Put feedback into action
Asking for feedback from your employees is just one side of the coin. For your organization to have a collaborative and positive culture, you also need to act on them.
When employees see that their feedback is taken seriously, they will continue to provide more feedback. This can help to create a culture of open communication, where employees are comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas.
Employee retention is one of the major benefits of taking action on employee feedback. Employees will stick around for a long time when they are valued and their opinions are taken seriously.
Repeat to yourself: taking action on employee feedback shows them that you care about them. This promotes and healthy workplace culture. Company culture has a direct impact on your employee’s performance. And when employees feel seen and heard, they are more likely to participate in company activities and be more productive in their work.
Use an employee feedback tool to collect and analyze feedback
Employee feedback tools enable companies to collect, analyze and act on feedback given by the employees faster and in an efficient manner.
They offer multiple ways to collect employee feedback, like employee surveys, pulse polls, suggestion boxes, and one-on-one meetings. Once the feedback is collected, these tools use complex algorithms to analyze the sentiment of the employees.
Employee feedback tools also generate actionable insights that can be used to make informed decisions based on employee feedback and drive improvements in the workplace.
Employee feedback tools promote transparency and accountability in the workplace. They facilitate communication between employees and employers. This builds trust and loyalty in the organization, which results in higher retention rates and higher levels of productivity.
Provide multiple channels for feedback
Providing multiple channels for giving employee feedback that encourages employee participation in giving effective feedback.
Employees are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their views and opinions when multiple channels for feedback are available, as they can select a way that best suits their communication style and preferences. Some employees, for example, may choose to share feedback anonymously through a suggestion box or online survey, but others may prefer to have a face-to-face dialogue with their manager.
By providing different outlets for feedback, a varied range of viewpoints and ideas can be exchanged. Employees may have varying experiences, ideas, and insights to share, and providing several avenues to request feedback can assist guarantee that all perspectives are heard and considered.
10 effective methods to gather employee feedback
Employee engagement surveys
Employee engagement surveys are a way for companies to measure the level of engagement and satisfaction among their employees. They usually include a range of questions tackling various workplace-related queries, from job satisfaction to manager effectiveness.
It’s important to roll out these surveys in regular time intervals as they help employers identify areas so improvement. Employers can learn what motivates employees and what their concerns are, and take appropriate action to address issues and improve employee engagement. This also increases employee satisfaction and retention.
These surveys also boost productivity by addressing factors that hinder employee productivity, which in turn leads to organizational profitability.
Employers can also include questions about mission and values to understand if employees are aligned with the company’s goals and values. In case of any misalignment, employers can quickly take action and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Pulse surveys are short, frequent surveys designed to quickly gather insights from employees about specific issues or topics. It’s in the name; pulse surveys enable employers to have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the workplace. These surveys are generally rolled out on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.
Pulse surveys are a valuable tool for companies to improve employee engagement and satisfaction, and to boost regular employee feedback. They help companies track progress over time and course-correct as they go — fostering a positive feedback environment.
These surveys also promote agility – companies are more responsive to changes. Additionally, pulse surveys help identify trends in employee sentiment and behavior.
To give you a head start, here are a few important pulse survey questions you need to be asking your employees.
Regular one-on-one meetings
Feedback is built on trust. Whether you’re the one giving the feedback or you’re on the receiving end, unless there’s trust involved, the feedback is unlikely to be taken seriously.
And trust is built when you get to know someone personally. One-on-one meetings are a great way to build employer-employee relationships and have feedback conversations.
One-on-ones provide managers the opportunity to give regular feedback to employees about their performance and progress. It also opens the forum for employees to provide positive feedback or negative feedback to employers.
Constructive or positive feedback is best-given face-to-face as it eliminates the risk of misunderstandings.
Some positive employee feedback examples are:
"I just wanted to highlight the hard work you put into this project. I admire your positive attitude and ability to take on every project with the same amount of enthusiasm."
"I notice that you've been consistently hitting your targets. You're setting a great example for the rest of your team. Your time management skills, and ability to not only handle positive and negative feedback but also take action on them is commendable."
Some constructive employee feedback examples are:
"I always appreciate how productive and reliable you are. But of late, you've been turning in assignments after the deadline. I wanted to check in and see if you need my support in anything."
"I've observed that you've been missing from the previous few team meetings. I wanted to see how things were going. What are you up to right now? I'm concerned that you're overlooking important knowledge that could benefit you in your work and career."
Skip-level meetings are scheduled between a manager and an employee that is one level below them in the organizational hierarchy. Say, for example, the Director of Company A is scheduled to have a meeting with a Junior Associate, who reports to the Manager, who in turn reports to the Director.
The main reason why companies employ skip-level meetings is to enable cross-functional solidarity. When everyone in the company is familiar with one another, it promotes a collaborative environment and improves communication across all teams and hierarchies.
By meeting with employees who are further down the hierarchy, superiors can get a better sense of what is happening on the ground and identify potential issues or areas for improvement. Additionally, skip-level meetings provide employees with an opportunity to voice their concerns, provide manager feedback, and build a relationship with someone higher up in the organization.
Skip-level meetings also help get rid of any fear one might have regarding higher-ups and increase employee survey participation.
An onboarding survey is yet another excellent feedback channel. Onboarding surveys are administered to employees to collect feedback on their onboarding process. This helps companies get a sense of what was the employee’s initial impression of the company and if the onboarding was smooth and efficient enough that the employee could learn everything easily.
By gathering feedback from new employees, employers can make sure that they fix any onboarding issues and make the process more effective and engaging for future hires.
Addressing issues and queries new employees may have regarding the company and its solution(s) early on helps employers ensure that they are able to transition into their new role and become productive members of the team more quickly.
Overall, onboarding surveys provide a good closure to the employee after weeks of training and make for a good source of feedback for employers to better and streamline the process more effectively.
An exit survey is a review conducted when an employee leaves the organization, either voluntarily or involuntarily. The purpose of this survey is to gather constructive as well as positive feedback from the departing employee about their experience with the company and any suggestions they may have for improvement.
These surveys are important because they provide valuable employee feedback to employers about why employees leave their organization. And, more often than not, these are constructive feedback that is important to keep note of. Based on this feedback, companies can address issues that cause high turnover rates.
Exit surveys further throw light on the company’s culture and leadership team. Employees do not thrive under highly pressurizing leadership. Employers can then make changes to improve the workplace environment to ensure high employee retention.
Exit surveys are an important part of the employee life cycle. But studies show that almost 99% of companies with exit interviews are doing them wrong.
But don’t worry, we got you. Here are a few exit interview questions to get rolling.
Real/virtual suggestion boxes
Suggestion boxes are an age-old way of collecting employee feedback. Usually, there’s a physical box present in the workplace for employees to leave chits with their suggestions written in them. In recent times, however, digital suggestion boxes have become popular where employees can give their feedback online.
Suggestion boxes provide employees with an anonymous channel to voice their opinions, concerns, and thoughts, without the fear of retaliation or negative consequences. This promotes a healthy and positive feedback system, which can help employers boost morale and work on areas of improvement.
The best part is, companies don’t have to regularly follow up on employees to fill in their feedback forms. Employee feedback keeps flowing all year long, as employees can put a chit in the box (or submit a form online anonymously) as and when they think of them.
An underrated, yet powerful, method of gathering feedback from employees to engage them in a casual conversation. Yes, small talk works wonders.
Your employees are people. They have interests and hobbies. Getting to know them on a personal level goes a long way in building trust and relationships. When employees are comfortable around you, they are more likely to give open and honest feedback.
Asking your employees about an event they attended over the weekend, exchanging recipes, or just about any mundane everyday activity makes your employees feel recognized and tells them that you care about them. Active listening is important, here. You need to pay attention to your employees regularly.
Casual conversations also break down barriers and hierarchies within your organization. Employees are empowered in putting forward their opinions when they feel that you are approachable, regardless of your title or role in the company.
As mentioned above, trust is the foundation of any relationship. And what better way to establish trust than to have meaningful conversations, right?
Performance review is a formal process where employers evaluate and update employees about their job performance and contribution toward the goals set for them. Typically, these reviews occur biannually.
During these reviews, managers and employees discuss past performance goals for the future, and any areas of improvement.
Performance review is yet another way to gather employee feedback. They offer employees a formal platform to receive constructive feedback from managers. Providing a structured format for giving and receiving feedback makes it easier for both parties to exchange opinions and suggestions. This, in turn, promotes employee empowerment.
They also ensure that feedback is consistent and fair. Since these discussions will mostly be backed by data, there is no room for personal bias.
Plus, performance reviews open up the ground for continuous improvement. By setting goals and creating development plans based on feedback, employees can work towards improving their skills and performance over time. This can lead to a more engaged and productive workforce and can help to ensure that the organization is able to achieve its goals and objectives.
Focus groups are a research method to gather information about a particular topic or issue from a small group of people.
In a workplace, focus groups provide a safe space for employees to share their opinions and thoughts without feeling the eyes of all employees on them. This opens up the room for more honest and genuine employee feedback and ideas.
This is a great opportunity for other team members to get to know each other. Focus groups promote a collaborative environment by breaking down silos and encouraging employees of different teams to work toward a common goal. It also improves internal communications.
By hosting focus groups and actively seeking employee feedback, leaders demonstrate their commitment to creating a culture of openness and continuous improvement. This can help build trust and engagement among employees and promote a more positive workplace culture.
3 positive employee feedback examples
Recognition for supporting employee growth and development
Employees may appreciate a company that invests in their professional development and provides opportunities for growth, such as training programs, mentorship, and career advancement. An employee might express their gratitude by saying, "I appreciate how our company values our growth and development. The training programs and mentorship opportunities have helped me advance in my career and develop new skills."
Positive work environment
A positive work environment can contribute to employee satisfaction and motivation. Employees may give feedback that highlights their appreciation for a supportive and positive workplace, such as, "I really enjoy working in this office. Our team is always positive and supportive, and it makes coming to work each day enjoyable."
Flexibility and work-life balance
Employees may value a company that provides flexible work options and supports work-life balance. An employee might express their appreciation by saying, "I am grateful for the flexible work arrangements our company offers. It allows me to balance my work responsibilities with my personal life, and I feel like my employer trusts and respects me to manage my workload in a way that works best for me."
5 constructive employee feedback examples
Employees may provide constructive feedback related to communication, such as needing more frequent updates or more transparency from management. For example, an employee might say, "I feel like our team could benefit from more frequent and clear communication regarding project timelines and expectations."
Employees may provide feedback related to company culture and organizational values, such as needing more diversity and inclusion initiatives or addressing issues related to work-life balance. An employee might express their opinions by saying, "I've noticed some instances of favoritism or lack of inclusivity in the workplace. How can we work to foster a more inclusive and supportive company culture?"
Employees may suggest that the company needs to improve its employee performance management process. They may suggest that the company could provide more regular feedback on employee performance or implement a more transparent performance evaluation process. For instance, an employee could say, "I feel like some of the check-ins and approvals are causing unnecessary delays and extra work. Could we revisit our workflow and see if there are ways to streamline processes?"
Employees may feel that their workload is too heavy and that they are struggling to meet deadlines. They may suggest that the company could look at ways to redistribute tasks or consider hiring additional staff to alleviate the workload. For example, "I'm interested in taking on more responsibilities, but I feel like my current workload is already at its limit. How can we work together to find a better balance?"
Employees may provide feedback that the workplace environment needs improvement. For example, they may suggest that the company could improve office facilities or provide more comfortable seating arrangements or reward employees. An employee could say, "I have noticed that the office can be quite noisy and distracting at times, making it difficult to focus on my work. Perhaps we could explore options for a quieter work environment, such as noise-canceling headphones or designated quiet areas."
Final thoughts on employee feedback
Employee feedback is the backbone of any organization. Even though effective feedback is a crucial part of an employee’s life cycle, very few companies master the art of providing feedback and making it consistent. Regularly giving effective employee feedback helps tackle problematic behavior and negative behavior and fosters an environment with positive behavior.
But consciously creating a workplace environment that promotes a healthy, feedback-positive culture empowers employees and lets them know that you care about them. They’ll be more willing to share issues about workload, safety conditions, unfair practices, harassment, or discrimination.
It all boils down to listening to your employees and taking action accordingly.
Frequently asked questions about employee feedback
What is employee feedback?
Employee feedback is the process of collecting and evaluating input from employees on various aspects of the workplace, including job performance, work environment, workload, and management. Employee feedback can be both positive and negative, and it can help employers to understand the areas where they are performing well and where they need to improve.
Why is employee feedback important?
Employee feedback provides valuable insight into employee satisfaction and engagement levels, which enables employers to identify areas for improvement in the workplace. Giving consistent feedback helps employees feel heard and valued, which can improve morale and job satisfaction. It also promotes a culture of open communication and yields positive business outcomes, which lead to a more collaborative and productive workplace.
How often should employers ask for employee feedback?
Employers should regularly ask for employee feedback. The frequency of asking for meaningful feedback can vary depending on the company. However, it is generally recommended to have ongoing channels for feedback such as pulse surveys, regular one-on-one meetings, and suggestion boxes. Ultimately, the goal should be to create a culture of continuous feedback where employees are comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas on an ongoing basis.
How can employers collect employee feedback?
Employers can collect employee feedback through various methods such as surveys, focus groups, one-on-one meetings, suggestion boxes, and anonymous feedback tools. It is important to provide multiple channels for feedback to ensure that all employees have a chance to voice their opinions. Employers should also make sure that feedback is collected regularly, not just during performance reviews.
How should employers respond to employee feedback?
Employers should take the feedback seriously and use it to improve the workplace. Employers can provide updates to employees on any changes that will be made as a result of the feedback. It is important for employers to address any concerns or issues raised by employees in a timely and professional manner. Employers should also consider following up with employees to ensure that the changes made have been effective and have addressed their concerns.