November 26, 2018 9:11:39 AM EST

Collecting Employee Feedback for a Better 2019

2018 is coming to a close. The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect and start planning for the next one. While it’s important to look back at sales, marketing and finances of course, don’t overlook the value of employee feedback.

Listening to employees can give you so much useful information about their engagement and job satisfaction as well as good tips for helping the customer and bottom line. They are an often underutilized wealth of data that can help your company.

You and your company are most likely already taking numerous steps to support your employees, challenging them to grow and encouraging them in their work. But, do you know if it’s working? No matter how well-intentioned or how hard you’re working, it’s not worth if it’s not getting the desired results.

The best way to find that out is to ask them. Now, you’ll sometimes get feedback without asking, but often at this point it’s negative and too late to resolve. Employees will come to HR when they are having a problem with their manager or a coworker. They will also talk quite openly in an exit interview, when they’ve already moved on in their career based off their unhappiness. That’s a situation you want to avoid. So, what do you do to collect feedback now, and consistently?

Explain That You Want Feedback

If you’re just asking for feedback because you’re supposed to, with no intentions to act on any of it, your employees are going to pick up on that eventually. Collecting arbitrary feedback will have the reverse effect and your employees won’t bother talking to you a second time.

Work all year at having the kind of culture that invites candid communication. Show interest in what your employees are working on, what their roadblocks are and how you or the rest of management may be able to help.

Then, once you get some feedback, do something about it. Make a plan, discuss it with the employees you talked to and see if you’re on the right track. Let them know that you are working to address any of their concerns or heed their suggestions.

Actively Seek Out Employee Feedback

Ask them questions, not just at review time, but throughout the year. This could be informal meetings or simply passing them in the hallway. If your employees are comfortable with you, they will be much more likely to discuss their concerns and ideas.If talking to you about what’s going on at work becomes a normal experience, they won’t be as afraid to approach you when something comes up.

The best environment is the one where employees know that their opinions are valued.

How should you do it?

Talking individually at reviews and sometimes in groups is certainly useful. But sometimes employees will feel more comfortable with an anonymous means of communication. Take advantage of the many forms of online surveys to email specific questions to your employees.

Collecting employee feedback online is easy and efficient. Make sure to protect their privacy when needed, reassure them this is not about finding who said what, but figuring out what needs changed in the company. Make sure to set up a computer station for any employees that may not have access to email.

The end of the year is the perfect time for this more official collecting of information. If you want help figuring out the best way to reach your people, contact Aspirant and let us help you!

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Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson

Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.