A former boss said he never liked to ask employees what would make their job easier, because then “they’d never stop demanding things” from him.
He had a very 1950s attitude to management. Suffice to say, that’s not a good way to run a business today.
They’ll Tell You, If You Ask… and Listen
Too often, companies don’t care about what employees think—to the companies’ detriment.
Former CEO of GE Jack Welch shared this story of a GE factory worker, who said, “For twenty-five years, you paid for my hands when you could have had my brain as well—for nothing.”
In an ideal world, your team would give you helpful feedback without your asking (and without being too helpful). But people are focused on their day-to-day jobs, and they usually don’t have time—or the prod—to step back and consider the big picture.
Employee Feedback Surveys Create an Opportunity
Want to hear those important insights? Consider an employee survey. Not just a single survey, but a regular program of surveys. The main thing is to adopt a culture of continuous improvement.
When I do employee surveys for clients, they’re often surprised by the things their employees share that they hadn’t said out loud.
The key is for managers to listen to the feedback, and then to act on it when feasible. Otherwise, employees will stop sharing.
Soliciting Employee Feedback for Continuous Improvement
How do you get feedback from employees on a systematic basis? I can do it for you as an agency consultant, but you can also use self-service tools like Know Your Company, the lightweight 6Q service, or a team-level Niko-niko calendar to get info on a regular basis.
Automate the process—by using a tool or outsourcing to someone who’ll remind you regularly—to ensure it happens regularly. Once is better than never, but you’ll get better results if you do surveys consistently at the right frequency.
Question: How often do you ask for employee feedback?