Look, I am not going to get into a tirade about the importance of taking and giving employee feedback at work. Feedback is how you get better. It's how you build trust and a team that work together to improve their performance. Rather, let's talk about how to do it:
System to collect employee feedback
The first thing you need to do is to setup a proper system to listen for feedback. A process with which you can encourage your people to stand up for each other, call out things that can get better and give a pat-on-the-back for things that are being done well.
Ideally, as a manager, you should be proactively reaching out to your team once a week and ask for feedback. Send them a question or a topic and request for their inputs on it. It really is that simple! We wrote more about this in our guide for employee motivation here.
Automate this using the right tools
You can request your team to give you feedback over email, Whatsapp, or Slack. Try to stick to a communication platform that your team is already comfortable with. A slight improvement is to use tools like Google Form and collect the responses as a survey. But the right thing of course would be to use specialised employee pulse survey tools that are built for this exact purpose. Such tools help you to:
- Manage your team easily
- Choose from a library of pre-built questions
- Send out such questions to your team on a regular basis. You can also customise the frequency of collecting feedback!
- Collect all the feedback and give you a report back
- Help you take actions on the feedback and resolve critical issues
If you want to get started with your own surveys, here are some questions to help you get started.
What not to do
Feedback can be a tricky thing. Many times, we as human beings are biased in giving feedback. And sometimes the person to whom we are giving feedback to does not take it in the right way. Here are some basic tips to setup the right employee feedback systems:
- Give feedback in the right context - Saying something like "you need to improve your communication skills" loses its impact without context. Which project? When did it happen? What was I doing at that time?
- Be a part of the solution, not the problem - Follow through your feedback with tips and advice on how to improve on that specific shortcoming. Otherwise you are just piling on to an issue which the person most probably already knows.
- Focus on the strengths, not the weaknesses - There might be 100s of reasons why someone is not good enough. But that is not why you signed up to work with them! You did so because a specific skill that they had excited you! Focus on that during tough times.