Asking for feedback is easy – acknowledging, accepting and making concrete steps to act and communicate changes within the organization is tougher.
As organizations try to stay ahead of the employee engagement conundrum and gauge perspectives real-time, taking periodic feedback is a reality. This also has downsides – if you are taking feedback you also need to explain what you are doing with it and employees have a right to know. If you take feedback very often, you may encounter fatigue. If you aren’t asking often enough you can be perceived as disinterested about your employees’ well-being. Furthermore, research studies also indicate that not all feedback interventions work and it is important to get to the core of the issue to make a real difference.
Employees are less concerned when feedback is sought and nothing can be done with it but when feedback is taken and no one gets back to communicate what is possible and what isn’t; and with a valid reason for that matter.
Here are a few approaches that professionals dealing with employee engagement can bear in mind while manning their listening post.
- Acknowledge: The first and foremost expectation from employees is to know that their feedback reached its destination and there is someone looking into it. A simple and speedy acknowledgement is reassuring for employees no matter how small or big the feedback shared.
- Clarify: Not always will the feedback you receive be clear and explain the background or the expectation. Probe further to gain an understanding of the context and motivation for the feedback.
- Explain: Be transparent about the process and what will be done with the feedback and by when. Also share the rationale if you are not planning to do anything with the feedback. Remember that not all feedback will be positive and differentiating a complaint from a constructive comment is helpful.
- Involve: Invite employees to connect and be hands-on in making their feedback work. It is an expectation from employees to be a part of solving what matters to their lives and to take decisions in such cases. Employee engagement increases as more power is shared.
- Act: Show tangible evidence of feedback getting acted upon and highlight what it took to incorporate feedback into the system and what the changes mean to employees.
- Communicate: Nothing can be more powerful that regularly updating employees about the progress you are making with the feedback shared. Also to share that leaders are listening intently to their needs.
While not every feedback taken and acted upon will solve engagement; however not accepting and appreciating your employees’ valuable time and interest can be detrimental in the long run.
What do you think? What can enable better transparency and engagement when dealing with feedback? Interested in your views.