7 Key Things You Can Learn From Employee Feedback
Is your organisation failing to tap into one of your most important resources … available right at your fingertips?
Employee feedback is an under-utilised resource that, when gathered and (where appropriate) acted upon, can positively impact your organisation. But are you taking the necessary steps to nurture a system that gathers regular, open, honest feedback? Or is the annual ‘review’ process the only time you sit down with employees?
The annual review has many limitations and is often used retrospectively, to judge performance, rather than to look ahead and see what can be improved.
There are several effective methods of gathering the information you need from employees: introducing a regular system of feedback through one-on-one meetings, implementing a mentoring or coaching system, or simply using online surveys, for instance.
Introducing such a system may necessitate a cultural or leadership shift because gathering the thoughts, perceptions, and feelings of others requires listening, empathy, and emotional intelligence. But unless you address it, you may experience a ‘disconnect’ between the perceived reality of leadership and that of employees, which can lead to ‘nasty surprises’ further down the track.
So what important things can you learn from employee feedback that can help improve your organisation?
- Satisfaction levels with the working environment
How satisfied are employees with the working environment as a whole?
This refers not only to their surroundings, the systems, their remuneration, and the policies and procedures, but also their relationships with colleagues and with leadership. Do people feel safe, secure, and comfortable physically and emotionally at work? This greatly affects their job satisfaction, which is an important driver for retaining employees.
If people are spending 40 hours a week at the workplace, they need to enjoy coming to work.
- Engagement levels with the organisation
Do employees understand and connect with your organisation’s values and beliefs? This will only be the case if you have taken the time to communicate them and have shown employees how their roles contribute to the organisation.
Millennial employees especially want to feel that their work means something. Lack of engagement and feelings of being disconnected from the organisation are major causes of high staff turnover. If you can identify problems early on with engagement levels by gathering feedback, you are more likely to be able to do something about it and retain talent.
- Intended career paths
Another major reason for leaving jobs is a lack of perceived opportunities at the organisation. It is important to understand where your employees want to go – what their ideal career paths are; and, as leaders, it should be part of your role to develop and nurture them along this path.
If you don’t know what they want, how can you deliver it? Ideally, their intended paths will be accommodated by the organisation and you can offer your best talent new opportunities in line with what they want, before they head out the door.
- The training and development programs required
Asking the right questions in employee surveys can identify training and development requirements.
Being able to look after the personal and professional development of your employees demonstrates that you are investing in your people. The positive sentiment that results from this cannot be measured, but the sense of progress and of future opportunities opening up is more likely to keep employees at the company longer term.
- Employee values and motivations
Do you know what drives your employees on, or are you simply guessing? You may be surprised by some of the motivations expressed by millennials.
While compensation and benefits are always important, many other contributing factors keep people in jobs. Find out what they are and you can do something about them; work in the dark and you cannot.
- Why people are leaving
Organisations with high staff turnover need to find out why it’s happening; they need to stem the flow of talent out of the door.
One way of doing this is by running an effective system of exit surveys, aimed at gathering honest and open feedback. These may suggest that changes to remuneration packages, company policies, or to the working environment are required – or it may be something deeper that requires a cultural change or adjustments to leadership or organisational structure.
- What customers are really saying
Your people work daily on the frontline with your customers; gathering their feedback on what customers are really saying can provide valuable insight back to leadership for making strategical changes that better address customer needs.
Are you listening to your most valuable resource?
When employees feel that they are being heard, it helps to build trust and creates sentiments of empowerment and of feeling valued. While these are difficult to measure, their positive results are clear to see: lower staff turnover, a more energised workplace, and improved performance.
A system for gathering regular feedback is therefore a must for organisations that are looking to learn more about their employees in order to address their perceived ‘people problems’.
If you’d like to discuss this or any other HR issues, please feel free to email me at: email@example.com.