Dealing With Employee Feedback: 13 Steps to Take
1. Communicate Any Changes to Employees
Have a team meeting and communicate to your employees the changes that need to be made so that they are aware of the situation at hand and the fact that you are acknowledging their feedback. Validation is a very important part of the feedback management process.
2. Create Space for Candid Conversations
Companies should protect their employees and give them the space to talk candidly, rewarding them for beneficial honesty. Employees are afraid of speaking up because they want to keep their heads down and stay out of trouble. If you can build trust that the feedback will go to improving the company, then employees can provide meaningful contributions to business operations.
3. Don’t Compromise Anonymity
Open up your feedback channels without compromising anonymity. We have cafecito breaks (because we are in Miami) that serve as feedback time. Not all feedback needs action, but acknowledgement and appreciation encourage more feedback and communication in your team.
4. Look for Common Themes
Managers and business owners should view any type of employee feedback through an objective lens. Look for common themes from all teams or departments. If multiple departments report negative feedback in the same category or with the same manager, then it’s time to evaluate the issue and find a solution.
5. Log and Save All Feedback
All feedback needs to be logged and saved correctly. As the years go by, it is possible to audit historical feedback and see how your practices have developed over time. You will be amazed at the number of things that one can learn about the development of your company and HR practices through this process.
6. Follow Up on Important Issues
If you collect lots of employee feedback, which is a good practice, you can’t always take action on every suggestion. However, when feedback has merit, it’s important to follow up. If people don’t like something, ask them to suggest alternatives. If they don’t like Policy X, ask them if they’d prefer Policy Y.
7. Thank Employees and Explain Next Steps
We host listening sessions every other week, and at the end of each session, we thank the employees for their feedback and then tell them exactly what they can expect for next steps. The worst thing you can do is hear feedback and not follow up on what you’re going to actually do about it.
8. Start a Dialogue
When receiving employee feedback, it’s important to start a dialogue about it by asking follow-up questions or inviting others to share their opinions, rather than just taking the feedback and storing it away. Starting a dialogue keeps the conversation going, brings your team together, and makes your employees feel like they’re contributing to company growth.
9. Analyze Feedback With an Open Mind
Make sure employees know you’re taking an interest in their feedback and really value it. Many employees may be wary to criticize certain aspects of their companies, but I like to foster a culture of openness and honesty. I will always evaluate employee feedback with an open mind. When we address in-house concerns, we all benefit in the long run.
10. Acknowledge Feedback in a Nonconfrontational Way
It’s important to acknowledge the feedback, especially negative feedback, in a nonconfrontational way. Stating that you’ve read it and are working on it shows that you’re respecting the feedback sent and that the process of collecting it was not for show. Even if you can’t make changes right away, acknowledging feedback is important.
11. Create a Focus Group
If the company is large enough, say 50+ people, then you should have a focus group and make sure that you get back to the employees. Follow-up is key to let people know that you actually care.
12. Include It in Your Strategy
Once you have enough feedback, it’s time to implement it into your strategy and current practices. For recurring feedback especially, it’s important to listen because these are issues that continuously arise for your team. It also shows your team that you listen to their concerns and care enough to make the necessary changes.
13. Discuss Feedback in a One-on-One Meeting
Discussing the feedback in a one-on-one meeting is a great way to dive in and learn what brought the employee to their conclusion. These sessions are great for thanking employees for positive feedback while bridging communication gaps over negative feedback. Take the time to listen to what your team has to say, and you’ll find they are more likely to come to you with questions or feedback in the future.