Effective Employee Feedback

How to ensure that the employee feedback you get can be put to good use.
Once a company has decided it wants to get the views of its staff, and the method chosen is through an employee feedback survey, the company needs to make sure the outcome of the survey is useful.  After all, with company budgets being tightened, the expense of conducting the survey plus the management time in reviewing the survey will not want to be wasted.

In order to get the honest opinions of employees, the survey will normally have to be anonymous. Employees will be concerned that anything negative they say will be kept as a mark against them for the future for things like pay rises and promotions. The company need to make clear that the whole point of the survey is to hear what staff think and what needs to be improved – therefore honesty should be encouraged.
Management need to be regularly emphasising the importance of the survey to staff to ensure the importance is realised by all employees and to ensure participation is as great as possible. There is no point conducting a survey if very few respond as you won’t get representative results.
The length of the survey is also important, as if it is too short, the results may not be sufficient for decision making, yet too long and the participants will become bored and responses will be short and not thought about enough.
Staff may be unsure as to the purpose of the survey; the purpose shouldn’t be solely as a box ticking exercise so that staff cannot say their views aren’t considered. The company should consider whether there are specific issues they have noticed which they want the views of the employees about, or whether it is a more general survey to gauge the mood of staff and how they feel about working for the company. The company may have certain objectives that they feel they are not achieving and may want ideas as to why this is the case. If employees are clearly made aware as to the purpose of the survey, the answers should be more relevant.
The most important part of the feedback process is that the results of the survey need to be properly considered, as employees will be demotivated if they are ignored and nothing changes after the survey. Concerns need to be raised with staff and solutions discussed. This is also why clearly defining the purpose is so important.
Employee feedback is important, but when you are making an investment in this area, the advice above should be followed to ensure it is not a waste of time and that the company can benefit from the concerns and ideas raised.
Blair Danes writes on behalf of Employee Feedback Ltd