As an employer, you want to hire professionals who will work for your company as long and hard as possible. After all, it costs between $4,000 to $7,000 to hire and train a new employee, and that’s money that could be put to better use elsewhere if you can keep turnover low.
While you might put a lot of effort into developing a cohesive employee handbook and training process, there may be one thing you’re ignoring that could really help you better engage staff and keep them with your company for years:
When you give employees the chance to express concerns, share ideas, or simply let you know how you’re doing, you gather valuable data that you can use to make your workplace more productive and your employees more invested in the company. Here are more reasons you should pay attention to employee feedback.
1. It Keeps Employees Engaged
Consider two scenarios: in one office, management never asks for input from employees. In the other, employees are encouraged to share ideas and give feedback.
Which company do you think employees feel more engaged in? Which do you think keeps employees longer?
Ignoring what your employees think about how the company is run can be hugely detrimental to the long-term success of your brand. Employees who are engaged are more productive and more invested in the success of their employer.
2. You Stay Ahead of Potential Pitfalls
Without feedback, it can be challenging for managers to truly be tapped into what’s going on among their staff. If, for example, there is a personality conflict that is disrupting the workflow of a project, a manager may not understand what the bottleneck for the project is if she’s not aware of the dispute between colleagues.
Knowing what’s going on among team members, a manager can then find a solution, such as sitting the two parties down to discuss the issue or even removing one from a project.
If employee feedback reveals that staff feels disgruntled due to a change at the company — say, for example, recent layoffs — this information could help HR find ways to mitigate a larger problem, such as staff jumping ship in anticipation of being laid off.
3. You Can Better Build the Onboarding Process
By getting insight into how employees feel about the hiring and training process, you can hone it to be more effective. Let’s say you conduct an employee survey three months after new employees are been hired that covers their thoughts on how they were recruited, hired, and then onboarded.
You might discover that few employees read the massive employee handbook you distribute because its size was simply overwhelming. This gives you the opportunity to streamline your handbook information, maybe in the form of an interactive online version that better engages the participant.
You might also find out that it was challenging for some employees to feel at home in the company. In response, you could create a Welcome Committee responsible for connecting with new hires, showing them around, and making sure they are at ease in their new environment.
4. It Can Improve the Manager/Employee Relationship
Feedback is a two-way street: it’s the responsibility of a manager to constantly communicate feedback to each employee so that he knows what he’s doing well and what he needs to work on.
And a little positive reinforcement can go a long way: 69% of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized. A quick commendation or pat on the back can make employees feel like the work they’re doing is valued.
At the same time, knowing areas that they’re not excelling in is also helpful to employees. Don’t wait until the annual review to let an employee know, for example, that her productivity numbers are down and that you need to see improvement in order for her to qualify for a raise. If she gets monthly (or even more frequent) feedback from her manager, she can correct her course to ensure that, after a year’s time, she has nothing to worry about in that review meeting.
How to Foster Employee Feedback
Feedback comes in many shapes and forms. The key is to communicate to all employees that their input matters.
Consider setting up an Ideas Box in the break room and encourage staff to write ideas — big and small — and drop them in. Ideas can be about how to improve a product, a shortcut for customer service, or even how to better engage staff with weekly fun activities. You could even select one idea each week or month and give the employee something special, like half a day off or a gift card to incentivize employees to participate.
Each manager should check in with team members on a weekly basis. These can be quick check-ins to see what they’re working on, but every few months, they should have a closed-door session to cover any concerns the employee may have as well as give her the opportunity to give feedback on the company as a whole.
Human resources should also get involved in the case that an employee has an issue with her manager and doesn’t feel comfortable giving feedback to him directly. Human resources should be a safe space for all employees to go, no matter what the issue.
Feedback should also be part of the exit process when an employee quits (assuming she’s given the courteous two weeks’ notice). Ask if there were issues within the company that led to her seeking another job and if she has suggestions for how things could be run better. In the exit interview, ask what she liked about her role and whether she feels like the job description she initially applied for matched what she did while at the company.
A company has so many components to care about to ensure its future success, from sales and revenue to hiring the right people. But the core of what makes a company truly successful is its employees. Listening to what they have to say can help your brand make them feel like part of a family that’s invested in the future of this company.