Gathering Employee Feedback
"Another day, another dollar:" this is the attitude that you don’t want employees to adopt. Showing them that you value both their opinions and presence is the most effective method of displacing this flawed philosophy and arousing pride amongst employees and how their perform their jobs; which ultimately will help in employee development.
One of the best ways to make employees know that they are being heard and encourage enthusiasm is to solicit feedback. And today, the stereotypical "suggestion box" has taken on many new forms to help you gather this vital information.
Before you get started, the first step is to determine what type of feedback you’re looking to obtain. Perhaps you’re simply trying to determine employees opinions of their job, asking how satisfied or how enthusiastic they are about their position. Or you may want to delve into broader issues, such as do they feel they have opportunities for advancement or does the company offer the work–life balance they seek. These are all important questions, as an employee’s performance will almost always be in proportion to the pride and ownership they have with their company.
Most experts will agree that the most effective method of gathering employee feedback is to conduct a full–scale employee survey. As far as frequency goes, it’s recommended to conduct a full–scale survey only once a year, as employees may quickly loose interest and motivation to answer honestly.
The complete survey should take no longer than 15–20 minutes to complete. An abridged 4–10 question survey could be given once every few months, as opposed to the 35–55 questions recommended for an annual survey.
Aside from your annual survey, other methods can also be used. Perhaps a classic suggestion box can be effective for miscellaneous feedback throughout the year. More modern alternative could be an anonymous online portal where suggestions can be submitted in real–time.
How do you ensure participation from your employers for the surveys? The most important guarantee you can provide is anonymity; honesty will most likely not even be considered if employees feel that their name will be attached to their feedback.
Access to a computer, as well as an allotted time to complete the survey is both necessary factors as well that will encourage participation. Encouragement and reminders from management are also important, as some employees may simply forget to complete the survey, while others may not view it important to their managers.
Finally, some sort of incentive for survey completion could be used as well. Although experts agree that an incentive for each individual employee who completes a survey isn’t the best idea, raffles or charity events could work.
Now that your participation is strong and surveys are complete, what should you do? You should evaluate responses. One of the key purposes of conducting a survey is to hear the opinions of employees – and circling back and presenting results will serve as the ultimate proof that they’ve been heard. Presenting results to your employees is also an effective method for identifying areas for improvement; ultimately showing them that you are engaged in helping reach their career goals.
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