Developing a space where employees are regularly heard and are receiving feedback can improve employee retention rates. It's something I've experienced firsthand, as one of our company's core values is "Be Brave," meaning all employees are encouraged to say something if they see a process that's broken or if an area of the business could be improved.
It can be uncomfortable to challenge a long-standing system or idea, especially if you are new to the organization or a junior member of a team. That's why it's important to open communication channels that encourage employees to regularly provide feedback. Once you do, employees will feel empowered to speak up and will feel more closely connected to the business's success.
Unsure of where to get started? Here are ways to encourage regular, honest employee feedback in your own workplace:
1. Be open to daily input and fast implementation.
As managers and business owners, it's important to respond to employees' suggestions in a positive and timely manner. Adopting a nimble approval process for implementing proposed changes in your company's systems and processes can help improve workflow and overall efficiency right away.
Consider holding daily operations meetings so conversations about improvements are fluid and changes can be tested right away. Seeing their ideas put into action can help employees feel more comfortable bringing forth suggestions on how to do something better.
2. Welcome anonymous input.
Consider using an online employee feedback and engagement tool that allows employees to submit anonymous feedback so they get used to contributing suggestions. Have it set up so employees can make recommendations through the tool at any time.
You also might want to send out monthly or quarterly queries to request answers about how recent processes and employee benefits are being received. Make sure every employee's proposal or question is answered by a manager in a timely manner. If many employees have similar concerns or questions about a particular topic, it could be helpful to address the issue in a future company-wide meeting.
3. Hold a regular meeting that gives every employee a voice.
As a leader, it's your job to listen to your employees. It's one of the best ways to truly learn how to improve your company and make employees feel valued.
As the CEO, I host a monthly feedback luncheon where I invite 10 or so employees from different areas of the company to have face time with me. It's a great way for colleagues to get to know each other and hear what is going on in other parts of the organization. It also helps us get to know each other in real life. In order to get the most out of our time together, there's an agenda where everyone shares a fun fact, something they love, and something we can do better. Everyone in the room participates in the discussion.
Setting aside time to meet with small groups of employees might seem like an impossible goal for many leaders, but it usually results in feedback and suggestions that your business can't afford to ignore. Remember to follow up and take action on every submission.
Look for ways that you can create spaces and opportunities for employees to be heard and make suggestions for improvement. When you do this, everybody wins.