A happy employee is a productive employee. But how do you find out how happy your employees are? It is a question we get asked by our customers all the time – what is the right way to collect good quality feedback? Be it from customers, employees, visitors, patients etc etc etc. with so many options for obtaining feedback, selecting the ‘right’ approach can feel like a minefield.
Here we look at some of the approaches you should consider when looking to get employee feedback
Option 1- Reflective or in-the-moment?
Gartner research has shown you get more a most honest response when taking feedback at the time and place where a respondent has their experience – we call it “in-the-moment feedback”. This is because there is no time to dwell or influence from other factors – it can yield a heart over head reaction. Reflective surveys however let an experience settle, and include for example, leaving the premise, negotiating the car park and driving home.
With technology like our touchscreen surveys it’s easy to gain employee feedback on a daily basis, quick and simple, helping you track what’s going on minute by minute and right at the location. But that won’t give you the more reflective answers (Although it will help you tune the questions you could ask to get deeper). And equally,reflective surveys don’t capture that moment of frustration or glee that occurs for an individual or the team.
Option 2 – Anonymous or named?
Evidence suggests that named surveys can help improve communications and culture as it promotes an environment of trust and respect. However, anonymous feedback can bring increased volumes of feedback and increased honesty, as employees do not need to be careful or dull down their views.
Which is right? It depends on your audience. Take, for example, a large number of part-time, contract workers in a factory, or a small permanent team in an office. Wouldn’t they need different approaches to feedback? If you are in an office with trusted team members, then you should be able to have named surveys that dig into people’s opinions. In an environment when you have contract workers and management, an anonymous survey might yield better response rates with more honesty.
Get the most out of your employee feedback program by asking the right questions
Option 3 – Visible or hidden?
A new approach being discussed is "Communication Scraping", and it's a fascinating idea; track everything employees ever write and use it to draw a conclusion as to how they are feeling and discover what the issues are. From an operational efficiency perspective this seems like a great idea, find out what is taking up time and try and improve on it. You could know what is happening in a business without having to ask anyone.
If you want to know what I think and am feeling about something, looking at my communications isn’t going to help. Professionals will have different persona’s according to the need, and my communication persona may be more formal and considered than in personal one-to-one interaction.
My biggest concern with this approach though is that it could take away from the action of actually asking someone what they think – whether that be in person or electronically. A lot is to be gained (In particular trust!) from actively asking for feedback and then acting on it.
Option 4 – A combined approach?
Ideally, we would give employees, partners, colleagues or contract workers the opportunity to feedback in the way they would like to, in the time and place they’d like to. And that might mean using more than one approach – in-the-moment and reflective, anonymous and named. When deciding which approach is best here are some things to consider
- How will you use the data?
- Who will you be asking for feedback from?
- Where is the feedback best captured?
- How often will you review the data?
- What level of detail do you need in the response?
- Would you like to follow up on feedback given?
Maybe a short open touchscreen survey can be used in busy areas to monitor trends in motivation and job satisfaction, which could spark the need for a more detailed online survey. Whichever method you use, ensure it fits the needs of your employees, your office and the purpose of the feedback in the first place.
Why do you want to know the answers to the questions you ask?