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Feed Forward: Listening to Employee Feedback





Many know of the value and importance of providing feedback to employees. But turning the tables and exploring the value of receiving and listening to employee feedback is equally important. Our employees spend a great deal of their time in our companies. They see and hear a lot of what goes on. They develop ideas around what they think will work and what won’t.

Yet, business owners often fail to think about how these employees can add value to the organization through their feedback. They miss out on a huge opportunity to explore options and to further engage the staff they have.

Imagine working at a company for a year or so and watching what is going on. You see things that work well, and things that don’t. You develop ideas that you believe could help the company be even better than it already is. However, no one seeks your input. No one pulls you into conversations.

This can create frustration and some form of disconnection. You may end up disengaging from your passion for the organization to remove that frustration. Unfortunately, this can also impact how you feel about leadership and their decision making.

Before we explore how to change our view, let’s take a look at the potential impact.



Narrow View

If we don’t seek out input and feedback from others, we run the risk of having too narrow of a view of our company. The folks in the trenches can help us see the things we don’t see from our vantage point. This expanded view sheds light on things we need to know, to act on, to change.

Talent Loss

If people get too frustrated with what is going on and their inability to affect change, they will leave for a better environment. One of the ways we show people we appreciate them is to include them in problem solving. To ask for their input. Then we don’t we send the message that we don’t value them outside of the task they perform.

Growth Challenges

This is probably the most obvious impact. If we aren’t getting input and feedback from internal players, we can find ourselves struggling with issues inside the company that impede our growth.

Now that we’ve seen the damage we can do, let’s talk about how we can pull in others.

Policy

Establish a feedback policy that encourages your employees to share. You want to make a commitment to feedback and make sure that everyone knows you are serious about it. Creating a policy says you are in it for the long haul; that you mean it.

Intentional Effort

Having a policy is one thing. Intentionally reaching out to your employees seeking their input is another. And this is where you really show how serious you are.

You can set up regular feed forward meetings where it is their opportunity to share. You can create one-on-one sessions periodically to solicit input. The key is to decide how you are going to proceed. Heck, you might want to ask your staff what they think about a process.

Implementation

Take the feedback seriously. Really listen to what your people have to say and implement something they suggest. They do have good ideas; they do have an interest in what is best for the company. So, be open to really hearing what they have to say and pick something or several things to implement. And be ready for some things to fail. After all, some of the decisions you make don’t work out either.

We don’t need to know everything and solve every problem. We need to surround ourselves with people we trust and solicit their assistance in problem solving. That is what will elevate our company and further secure our future growth. Presumably, you hire people you trust to help you move your company ahead. Simply expanding on the help to include soliciting their thoughtful input can really help your business and its future.

Employee Photo via Shutterstock

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Diane Helbig


Diane Helbig Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Top Sales World Experts Panel at Top Sales World.

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