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How to get Genuine, Unbiased Employee Feedback

Our three-step process to gathering genuine, meaningful and actionable feedback from your employees.

When was the last time you asked your employees what they really think?

An effective employee feedback policy can achieve great results for your business; whether that’s through annual surveys, regular one-to-one meetings, intranet discussions or encouraging an open door policy. 

Surprisingly, in a challenging economic time, data from a recent Forbes article shows that half of full or part-time employees haven’t received any company surveys in the past year, despite most employees (78%) reporting they’re eager to take them. We believe that 2023 is the perfect year to put employee feedback back on the agenda!

According to Worknest, feedback from your employees can help transform your business in a number of ways including:

  • Giving a new perspective about work practices and procedures
  • Highlighting areas of concerns, allowing you to step in and fix problems quickly
  • Providing you with a more thorough understanding of management and team dynamics
  • Ensuring employees’ views are in line with company values and business objectives
  • Determining how employees are dealing with organisational change
  • Pinpointing the reasons why people are leaving the company
  • Identifying training and development needs
  • Re-evaluating the workplace culture

All of this feedback can help define your business decisions and future strategy. It can also have a positive effect on your employees by driving performance, making employees feel listened to and valued, strengthening commitment and loyalty and even lower absenteeism. 

Our recent article Top 5 Benefits of Anonymous Feedback Systems explores how asking for feedback often doesn’t go far enough. It’s key to remember that employee feedback programs only work if all employees are able to voice their concerns; removing unconscious bias and creating a platform where all voices are heard equally. In fact, 74% of employees would be more inclined to share feedback if it’s truly anonymous.

An effective feedback tool can also have a massive impact financially. In a 2007 study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it was found that professional auditors only detected 19% of fraudulent activities at private corporations, while whistleblowers detected and exposed 43%. According to the study, surveyed executives “estimated that the whistleblowers saved their shareholders billions of dollars.”

This blog shares our three-step process to gathering genuine, meaningful and actionable feedback from your employees.

Step One: What do you want to achieve?

A quarter of employees believe that managers see employee feedback surveys as a pure ‘tick-box’ exercise. Combine this with 27% of managers never actually viewing survey results, it’s no wonder that employee surveys typically only achieve a 30% response rate. It’s essential that businesses are engaged with their employees and crystal clear on the objectives of their surveys.

A great place to start is gathering new ideas. Some of the greatest solutions can come from employees having a chance to offer ideas. Often, management isn’t aware of the challenges that are faced daily or problems that are happening in the workplace. However, when employees are offered the opportunity to respond to a survey, they may share concerns and problems or they may offer solutions and ideas to improve operations. When managers take time to listen to the input of their team members, they can gain invaluable information to improve their department, work, and company.

The outcomes from employee surveys speak for themselves; when employees feel heard at work, they are nearly five times more likely to give their best effort. Furthermore, when a Company nurtures a positive employee experience, the financial returns are substantial. A Workhuman survey found that the top 25% of organisations on the employee experience report get nearly three times the return on assets compared to organisations in the bottom 25%.

Step Two: Building an effective feedback survey

Here at The Bot Platform, we’ve built many automated feedback surveys and have collated our top tips for building an engaging employee survey.

  • Keep it Short and Simple

The number and types of questions asked can significantly influence the survey’s response rate. Survey questions should be simple and short, using terminology and a tone of voice that will be familiar to all employees. If the survey is too long, or is out of tone with your company’s usual communications, the response rate will likely be very low.

  • Avoid ‘Double-Barreled’ Questions

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, survey questions should not be “double-barreled”—two topics that are grouped into one question, even though they may be related. An example: “The pay and benefits are excellent at this company.” Employees’ responses may not yield useful information because they may think pay is great but not benefits, or vice versa, leaving leadership with no clear follow-up plan. If the survey items are not solidly constructed, the data generated from the survey will not be actionable.

  • Ask the Right Questions

Survey design experts advocate the use of items that seek responses based on a numerical scale, such as 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “strongly disagree” and 5 meaning “strongly agree.” If your business is regularly conducting employee surveys, this allows you to make trending analysis.

  • Ensure Anonymity and Confidentiality

Businesses should always be transparent about the anonymity and confidentiality of any surveys conducted, to ensure that all employees feel comfortable to provide honest answers to the questions. 

At The Bot Platform we recently worked with a French Soccer Club and thanks to the new anonymised Q&A process that was enabled by the Ask the Boss bot, the club immediately saw a change in the quantity and quality of questions being asked by Employees. After launching the bot, the club has seen a 15x increase in the number of questions being asked by staff.

Step Three: Acting on employee feedback

A Forbes poll of U.S. full and part time workers found that nearly half of respondents (45%) and 40% of executives also say they don’t believe their feedback leads to meaningful change. The resulting actions taken following an employee feedback survey are crucial for employee trust and creating an open and engaged working culture.

Neglecting employee feedback can destroy morale. Companies that ask for feedback need to be prepared to act on what they learn and demonstrate that they are committed to act on those insights. If a company asks for opinions and ideas, then ignores the responses, the message is sent to employees that their thoughts do not matter, nor is their input respected. This creates a culture where employees do not feel valued, can become discouraged and frustrated in their job, and lead to lower production, a poor attitude, and lack of team spirit.

Conducting employee surveys gives employees a chance to share their feelings and give a voice to all employees, who might otherwise go unheard. As managers listen to employee feedback and make positive changes based on the survey responses, employees feel valued and respected. This leads to greater satisfaction and overall higher morale.

Ultimately, genuine interest and action upon employee feedback builds credibility and trust with your employees. It demonstrates that communication goes both ways, that you listen to your people as much as you share information with them. 

Research from Great Place to Work shows that if organisations take tangible actions every time they ask and receive employee feedback, it creates trust and the outcomes of employee trust on the bottom line are undeniable:

  • High-trust cultures have half the attrition turnover of industry competitors.
  • High-trust cultures have accelerated rates of innovation.
  • High-trust cultures see more employees go above and beyond to deliver for clients and customers.

Free anonymous bot trial

For a limited time we are offering a FREE two-month anonymous bot trial, allowing you to set-up and launch an anonymous feedback tool of your own, on the channel of your choice.

Get in touch today to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to give your employees a confidential space to make their voices heard, whilst giving you access to truly honest feedback that you can implement to improve retention, morale, engagement and your overall company culture.

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