When people think about feedback in the business world, they usually imagine managers offering insights to employees that may help them become more productive and successful. However, gathering employee feedback is equally essential to fostering a healthy, happy, and efficient workplace.
When workers have opportunities to provide feedback to their employers, they often feel more engaged in their jobs, translating to improved performance and greater overall job satisfaction. A recent Gallup survey found that highly engaged workplaces tend to be up to 14% more productive and see, on average, an 18% increase in sales when compared to companies with a poorly engaged workforce.1
Today’s most successful companies understand why employee feedback is so vital and how it can help cultivate business growth. Read on to discover more about the endless utility of honest employee feedback, including the types of obstacles it can uncover and how business leaders can transform feedback into measurable improvements within the company.
Why Is Employee Feedback Important in Business?
Asking employees for their thoughts and opinions about the workplace makes it clear that their perspectives matter. When workers feel like their voices are heard, they are far more likely to feel a connection to the company and its objectives. For business leaders, employee feedback can shed light on aspects of daily operations that may not always be readily apparent, providing deeper insights into what goes on behind the scenes and how processes could be improved to increase overall job satisfaction and productivity.
When business owners or supervisors ignore employee feedback, they run the risk of alienating workers and making them feel as though they are trapped in a despotic environment where only the leaders at the top have a say in the future of the company. Conversely, creating a consistent system for collecting, evaluating, and enacting employee feedback cultivates a more democratic workplace where every individual has an opportunity to express their ideas in an open, honest way.
The Hidden Problems Employee Feedback Can Reveal
Actively seeking employee feedback is an effective way to discover workplace problems that business leaders can otherwise easily overlook. After all, given how much goes into running a company, it’s easy to miss some of the details.
Here are some of the most common problems impacting employee engagement that collecting feedback can help address:
Efficient and productive companies rely on numerous departments or internal teams working seamlessly together. When there’s a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line, bottlenecks can form, which can stall productivity and undermine growth. Gathering feedback from employees can help to narrow down the root cause of communication issues that present disruptions to workflows and critical processes.
Remember, many employees may feel reluctant to ‘rock the boat’ in a business environment and may tolerate miscommunication for quite some time to avoid any perceived conflict in the workplace. If feedback is consistently collected from all staff members, though, employees will be far more likely to share issues regarding communication or personality clashes in the workplace that are keeping things from running smoothly.
Unhappy workers often produce lackluster results. When poor morale begins to take hold of one workforce, it can quickly spread to others throughout the company. Given time, this low morale will make itself known in lower profit margins, reduced efficiency, higher absenteeism, or increased employee burnout.
However, by making it a point to collect feedback from employees, business leaders can quickly identify issues behind declining morale and develop a plan to remedy any discontent. The simple act of collecting employee feedback can send a positive message to workers that can have an immediate impact on their attitudes and performance.
Lack of Upward Mobility
Another problem that employee feedback can help identify is the sentiment of being unable to move up in the company. When workers feel that taking on greater responsibilities or exceeding expectations won’t result in a promotion somewhere down the line, they can easily get discouraged. Shedding light on this concern during feedback discussions can help to alleviate the discontentment workers can sometimes feel when their contributions go unnoticed.
Disparities with Pay or Benefits
It’s not uncommon for workers to harbor a secret resentment toward their employer if they feel that their pay rate or benefits package isn’t quite up to par. During employee feedback discussions, workers are provided a safe setting to vent pay concerns and explore various options with leadership. In response, managers and supervisors may consider offering a slightly larger pay increase during their next employee performance review or explore expanding the scope of worker benefits across the board. Even if offering pay increases isn’t practical at the time, simply taking the time to listen to employees unhappy with their pay will make it clear that the opinions of workers are valued in the company.
Workplace Culture Not Aligned with Personal Values
Just like individuals, every workplace culture is completely separate and unique. However, sometimes the attitudes and behaviors of employees can stand at odds with a company’s prevailing organizational culture. Engaging workers for feedback will make it easier to identify any misalignments between personal values and the overarching values of the company.
How Business Leaders Can Turn Employee Feedback Into Action
While gathering employee feedback is a relatively easy task for most business leaders to perform, converting this information into an actionable plan can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, there are several simple ways for business leaders to convert the thoughts and feelings of workers into meaningful action for the company as a whole.
Follow these simple steps to get started:
1. Examine Employee Feedback and Surveys for Patterns
After collecting a large volume of feedback from workers, try to find commonalities and patterns. Smaller companies may be able to aggregate this data manually, and modern breakthroughs in AI-powered data analytics can do the brunt of the legwork automatically.2 With the help of AI, business leaders can more quickly and accurately gauge worker engagement as it changes with time, comparing and contrasting previous surveys to generate meaningful, actionable insights.
2. Identify and Acknowledge Weak Points
Next, single out a few recurring themes in employee feedback surveys that could point to potential oversights, redundancies, or worker complaints that continue to be pointed out. These persistent issues will vary from industry to industry but may include persistent understaffing of a particular department, inadequacies in management, or dissatisfaction with overly complex workflow processes. Other times, repeated problems may stem from particular departments within the company, a 3rd party vendor, or a group of contractors working in tandem with internal teams.
Once the most pressing problems are identified, it’s much easier to develop an effective action plan.
3. Focus on Addressing One Action Item at a Time
In any business, trying to fix everything at once is rarely practical. Instead, focus resources on tackling the most important issue first before moving on to addressing other, less time-sensitive problems. Doing this will ensure that employees are given time to adjust to changes in the workplace instead of being confronted with an entirely new way of doing things.
At the same time, business leaders can feel confident that substantial action will be taken on at least one item instead of simply putting a band-aid on every complication.
4. Follow Up with Individual Employees after Taking Action
Once new processes or procedures are in place to address a given problem, set some time aside to visit with employees individually to hear their thoughts and opinions on the changes taking place. While some workers may feel positive about the action being taken, others may have criticisms or helpful advice that could improve the way changes are implemented.
Visiting with employees after addressing a problem brings the feedback process full circle, signaling to workers that not only are their thoughts heard, but their ideas actively contribute to helping the company improve as a whole.
5. Use Employee Pulse Surveys to Gain Insights on a Rolling Basis
Worker sentiments do not remain static for months or years at a time. Instead, the way employees feel about their jobs will evolve as circumstances change around them. To measure the effectiveness of applied employee feedback, it’s a good idea to collect periodic pulse surveys from workers.3
This type of survey is simply meant to get a read on how perceptions have changed since the last feedback cycle. These surveys should be brief and more concise than annual or semi-annual employee surveys, mainly addressing the most recent changes affecting how the company operates.
At Resourcing Edge, our goal is to provide businesses with the tools and resources they need to remain competitive. With the help of our re360 platform, companies can organize and automate everything from payroll approval and PTO requests to benefit disbursement and tax reporting. This means spending less time and money on paperwork or other repetitive processes that can slow down efficiency.
Our solutions make it possible for companies to reallocate valuable human labor to places where it’s most needed while simultaneously minimizing costly overtime or employee burnout caused by overstretched resources.
When you’re ready to learn more about the many ways Resourcing Edge can help your business thrive, contact us to discuss our solutions with one of our friendly associates.
- Gallup: “ Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction and Organizational Culture”
- Society for Human Resource Management: “ Artificial Intelligence and Employee Feedback”
- IBM: “ Beyond engagement The definitive guide to employee surveys and organizational performance”
- Employee Feedback and How It Can Help Your Business - August 25, 2022
- Benefits of our Electronic Onboarding Platform - March 19, 2021
- Tips on Returning Remote Workers to Office-based Work - May 4, 2020