Employees are the most important asset of any company, playing a central role in its growth or failure. However, improper feedback–or a lack of feedback at all – can severely damage the entire job environment. To prevent this from happening, it is crucial to adopt mechanisms that help workers understand their core strengths and weaknesses in a reasonable manner and take prompt corrective measures. Appropriate feedback for their performance can increase satisfaction and enthusiasm levels among the workers. This helps in better individual performance, eventually leading to the growth of the organization.
1. Try to create a comfortable environment
As an employer, one of your primary jobs is to create a comfortable environment for your employees. When you do that, you set the stage to break through their fear of giving honest feedback. An authoritative or autocratic manager will most likely get more falsified feedback. When making your workplace friendly, consider:
- Are there any pressure topics that may be making your employees nervous? Maybe you fired an employee for disagreeing with you on one too many topics. To rectify this, make sure you make clear why that employee was fired; perhaps you and he did not agree on certain office policies.
- Is there any favoritism in your office? You may not even realize its happening, but other employees might. Try to keep everyone in the loop, and seek advice from everyone, rather than a select few.
2. Finding the Right Medium for Feedback
Pick a medium that works well for your particular company. When you offer your employees an appropriate platform or system to initiate unprompted criticism, you are more likely to get frequent and direct feedback.
3. Keep feedback anonymous
Start taking feedback by keeping it anonymous. Employees may be hesitant to open up because they are aware they might have to face negative consequences if their name is attached to a negative comment. As an employer, you can assign a coach or specific employee to gather feedback anonymously. If you keep criticism anonymous, you give employees opportunity to openly speak up without the fear of getting fired. This will help you to easily find problematic areas of business, which must be dealt with at the earliest possible time.
4. Check in with employees over lunch or coffee
Informal occasions can offer a great opportunity to ask employees about how they feel the company is doing. Ask them about improvements that think could be made. As you are not directly reviewing anyone’s performance during these small time-slots, employees may feel better about speaking their mind. “Tell me more” is a very powerful phrase you can use to deeply listen and learn more from your employees.
5. Have Open Door Policies
HR managers need to be open to receiving feedback, and having an open door policy is a great way to do this. According to experts, an open door policy means more than just leaving the office door part-way open – it means being approachable. Workers aren’t going to take up offers to talk whenever needed if their HR managers aren’t accessible and receptive to the information they are being presented. It is also noted that HR managers need to reiterate that they have open door policies in place. Leaders must ensure workers feel as if they aren’t necessarily winning time with their HR managers, but rather believe it is a right they have in the workplace.
6. Develop Mechanisms that Allow Workers to Express Their Opinions
Town hall meetings and one-on-one discussions can give employees spaces in which to communicate their true feelings, but these ways to gaining feedback can backfire for HR managers. Workers may feel as if they are setting themselves up as targets when they are giving feedback face to face. While these methods are beneficial, HR managers should also adopt anonymous methods of communication that allow workers to think about what they want to say and for them to do so without fearing for their jobs.
7. Consider using employee surveys
You can employ independent, yet confidential surveys that offer employees a space for written comments. Some comments may be off base, but when you read between the lines, you might find that you are able to understand many factors pertaining to behavior, communication or work arrangements that require attention. A group of trusted people, such as people specifically hired for this purpose, can also conduct the surveys, which may include interviews to explore problematic areas. Such surveys might be helpful to an extent, but they cannot deliver the same breadth of honest opinion that you should be able to obtain through an independent survey.
8. Listen and Acknowledge During One-on-One Meetings
Workers may feel as if they aren’t allowed to say what they need to if their concerns aren’t taken seriously on a regular basis. HR managers need to allow workers to talk during individual discussions and show them their opinions and feelings are valued and acknowledged. Employees may be more apt to provide honest feedback when they feel it will be heard. Every time HR managers are presented with information – even if it is negative – they need to respond without becoming defensive and show workers what they are saying is important. It can be easy for HR managers to discourage all employees from giving truthful feedback if they shut workers down when they give it.
9. Have routine conversations with trusted and candid people
Like every business, yours also has informal leaders that take the initiative. Other employees will be more likely to express their thoughts on the company with the person. You should identify these people because they are the ones to whom employees go for advice or to vent frustrations. Tell them openly that your objective is to bring to the surface the hidden employee concerns, not to affect anyone’s career.
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