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    3 Tips for Getting Great Employee Feedback
    The Vault

    3 Tips for Getting Great Employee Feedback

    March 2018

    3 Tips for Getting Great Employee Feedback









    Get great employee feedback (just don't use this box). Keep reading!

    I recently came across a podcast from The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company, in which company leaders discussed techniques they use to keep employees healthy and happy. One technique struck me in particular: the use of “feedback coaches” who regularly interact with employees and then take feedback to the higher-ups. The process, claim the guys at Motley Fool, takes the intimidation factor out of the feedback process because employees don’t have to critique their supervisors directly. They remain anonymous through the process. And the coaches, experienced in handling employee grievances, solicit honest, constructive feedback on everything from management issues to business solutions. It’s a pretty cool solution, so I thought.

    That podcast got me thinking about creative ways to solicit great feedback. While I love the idea of feedback coaches, not every company is large enough to make that concept work. Just picture the company with only two employees! Who gets to be the coach? How can the feedback remain anonymous? It’s just not workable.

    No matter the size, eliciting good feedback from employees is good for the company soul. Here are our top 3 suggestions.

    1. Rethink your corporate culture.

    We’ve talked about cultural core and organizational safety before, but it’s important and worth revisiting because you’ll never elicit good feedback without a strong core. Put simply, employees who feel disenfranchised and undervalued will never feel motivated enough to provide honest criticism. Those living in fear of retribution will never do it either.

    Instead, embrace transparency. Ditch the old suggestion box on the wall (which suggests that employees cannot speak out loud), and opt for a more public review process that allows anyone in the company to suggest ideas, gather support, and speak their truth.   

    1. Be proactive.

    “My door is always open to you.” Have you uttered these words to your employees? While you meant well, I’m guessing you haven’t had too many knocks on the door. True?

    Having an open-door policy is great, but it doesn’t always motivate employees to come forward with their comments, suggestions or concerns. It’s just too passive. To elicit truly honest, actionable feedback from employees, you need be deliberate in setting aside time to meet with them and ask them the right questions.


    • “What do you enjoy most/least about your job?” not “Are you happy here?”
    • “If you were in charge, what would change tomorrow, and why?” not “Would you change anything around here?”
    • “How can I help you be more successful?” not “Do you feel supported?”

    The first questions encourage thoughtful response. The second encourage simple yes/no answers. Can you spot the difference?

    1. Take action.

    Going through the right motions is irrelevant if you don’t take action on employee feedback. You don’t have to implement every idea, but do follow up on every idea: “I’ve thought really hard about your suggestion and, while I love it, we just can’t implement it right now. Please keep the ideas coming.” Words like that from you are FAR better than saying nothing at all. If an employee has taken the time to give their opinion, give them the assurance that they are valued and that their idea was considered. If you do take their suggestion, shout it from the rooftops! Give credit where credit is due. Recognize their contribution at the next employee meeting and give thanks for their openness and desire to make the organization better. This will motivate other employees to do the same.

    Eliciting honest, constructive feedback from employees can be difficult, but not impossible. What are some ways you are doing it? We’d love to know!



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