The Importance of Employee Feedback
This article on the importance of employee feedback was originally published in July 2016. It was updated to reflect new information and statistics in June 2021.
The importance of employee feedback can’t be overstated when it comes to business success. Giving constructive criticism helps employees grow, while employees’ feedback can offer unique business insight to leadership. Feedback is a crucial part of the work environment and extremely effective at improving performance culture when done right.
But often, managers are afraid to give it.
Employees are afraid to receive it.
Employers are afraid to get it back from their employees.
Team members are hesitant to give it to their superiors.
And everyone can see the process is a hassle.
At times, we’re so afraid of feedback (whether to or from our employees) that we forget about its importance. But making it a priority to give consistent, actionable feedback and regularly reach out to employees for their opinions will benefit your whole organization.
Why should you ask employees for feedback?
When you listen to your employees, they are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best at work. Asking for employee feedback is important because it positively contributes to their engagement and work performance in addition to overall business success. Get employee feedback both about their own performance and their work environment for well-rounded insights.
Before giving performance feedback by any method, whether that’s face-to-face, via email, or by filling out a formal review, it’s important to get the employee’s self-assessment. Chances are, they have a good sense of their performance. By asking the employee what they think of their performance, you can gain an understanding of:
- Their unique perspective
- Any extenuating circumstances you may not have known
- Their own analysis of their behavior, which could be even more critical than your own
By asking for their thoughts, you open the conversation and get a bigger picture of employee performance. In some cases, you can also get a read on blaming behaviors, excuses, or lack of accountability. Either way, letting them lead the conversation will give you what you need to continue the conversation fully informed.
When you listen to your employees, they are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best at work.
It’s essential to ask for regular feedback from employees outside of performance reviews, too. In a competitive hiring market like today’s, employees are looking for a work environment where their voice is heard and their contributions are recognized. Addressing employees’ concerns is a major factor in retaining talent and avoiding expensive turnover. Regular check-ins with your employees, for example via short periodic surveys, benefit their performance and engagement and the business as a whole. Employee engagement surveys or pulse surveys are useful tools in collecting honest feedback about job satisfaction, engagement levels across departments, and company culture as a whole. Surveys allow you to ask for anonymous feedback regularly so you can address employees’ issues, track the results, and monitor feedback trends long-term.
Giving constructive employee feedback:
Fear often means we underestimate the importance of employee feedback and focus on having an easy conversation rather than an effective one — only 26% of employees say that the feedback they get helps improve their work. You’ve probably tried the approach where you say something kind before giving constructive criticism and then follow it up by saying another kind thing. You may have used processes where you sent feedback via email or tried an entirely face-to-face process. All of these techniques have their pros and cons, and there’s no one-size-fits-all employee feedback method.
It’s important to give employee feedback that centers on the individual’s work performance and offers solutions for improvement and growth. It’s not about them, but about their actions. If someone interrupts during meetings, don’t say “You are always interrupting and it’s annoying,” instead say something like, “It’s important that every team member has a chance to share their thoughts. Giving everyone a chance to speak helps bring more ideas and new perspectives to the table.” Focus on the effect on the team and the business, rather than the person themselves. This also forces the issue out of your own subjective perspective and can make it easier to deliver a difficult message.
It’s important that employee feedback that centers on the individual’s work performance and offers solutions for improvement and growth.
If all your feedback sounds like it could be on a bumper sticker or a motivational card, then you should be more specific or granular for the feedback to truly land with your employees. Rather than saying, “Good job hitting deadlines!” try being more direct by saying, “I like how you managed your time with your teammates by delegating administrative tasks so you could hit your deadline this week.”
This accomplishes two things: First, it recognizes their effort. Second, it gives them a blueprint to use next time they are faced with that same challenge. It’s important to remember employees want to get your feedback — since 2018, there was an 89% increase in the number of employees who would like to discuss their performance on a monthly basis.
The importance of an employee feedback loop:
Here’s the bottom line: Feedback is excellent for the workplace. Companies with a regular employee feedback schedule see 14.9% less turnover. Feedback is built to make the team and the entire business stronger. When your employees give you some constructive feedback, remember: It’s not personal, it benefits the whole workforce and your organization, and it’s extremely effective if you find real, practical ways to incorporate it into your routines and strategies.
When done successfully, an employee feedback loop creates more transparency in the workplace, defines goals for individuals, builds new leaders in the organization, and helps managers become better leaders. It has positive impacts on compensation, performance culture, and engagement. Giving and receiving constructive criticism is one of the most important, effective, accessible tools to foster engaged, dedicated teams, and it’s crucial to recognize the importance of employee feedback and how it contributes to the success of your organization.
ClearCompany’s Talent Management platform has the tools you need to get impactful employee feedback processes off the ground, including customizable and pre-built Employee Engagement Surveys. You can effectively engage with your employees, evaluate their performance, and ask for their feedback with ClearCompany’s suite of Performance Management and Employee Engagement tools — sign up for a demo today.
This article was originally published on ClearCompany’s blog.