You got employee feedback, now what?
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
My job requires that I fly pretty frequently. Over the past few years, the airline I use most often has adopted the practice of sending me a survey following every flight. The email with the survey invite usually says something about how much they value my opinion.
When these first started showing up in my inbox, I would occasionally respond. Typically, it was after a less-than-optimal flight experience when I was a little disgruntled. These were the moments when it seemed my feedback would be most valuable. Or at least, it was the time I most wanted them to hear me so future flights might be better.
I took them at their word that my opinion mattered to them (although I’ll admit to being skeptical). Each time, after clicking send on the survey, I’d wait for some kind of response.
I’m still waiting.
It’s not as if the survey was anonymous and they couldn’t follow up with me. They obviously know my email address (and they have my phone number). They know what flights I took. It’s easy to find me.
I don’t respond to those surveys anymore. Sending feedback into a vacuum isn't just pointless, it actually makes me angry. They don’t even bother to send a form email thanking me for completing the survey. Somewhere along the line, they decided that these automated email invitations to provide feedback through a survey was the best way to at least pretend they care about customer experience.
They forgot one critical thing: Feedback without follow-up does more damage than good.
Asking for feedback creates the expectation with that person that you're going to do something with that feedback. When you fail to follow through, you break that commitment and decrease trust. It’s true of any survey. This is why it is so important to follow up on the feedback you request from your employees.
To ensure you don’t leave your employees feeling the way my airline made me feel, you must take steps to follow up on the feedback you receive. There are three key things you can do to ensure employees know you value their feedback.
Three things to do once you receive employee feedback
1. Manage expectations
From the moment you request feedback, you should be communicating about what will happen next. This could be as simple as sharing the high-level process for how feedback is reviewed and when they can expect to see something happen. For example, “Once all employee survey responses are received, the results will be compiled and shared with management. Your manager will share and review your team’s results with you in the next 30 days.”
2. Share the results
Perhaps the easiest way to follow up on employee feedback is to share some of the results. For a traditional employee survey, this can be a few charts or graphs that show summary results. By sharing this information, you send the signal that that information is being reviewed and given serious consideration. But sharing alone isn’t enough.
3. Take action
It’s only when you do something that employees truly feel like their opinions were heard. Activating on employee feedback can take a lot of shapes. In many cases, it’s the manager sitting down with her team to discuss their survey results and brainstorming action steps for how to improve. It can also mean launching some further inquiries such as focus groups to better understand larger issues. At an organizational level, there may be issues that need to be addressed broadly. Announcing that these changes are underway because of employee feedback is a powerful way to validate the feedback you receive.
It’s important to remember that follow-up is just as important as the feedback itself. Before you go and start asking for feedback from your employees, map out your plan for how you will ensure that employees feel like their feedback was heard and made a difference.
Want guidance around the right steps to take based on employee survey results? Learn how PeopleDoc Employee Surveys and Sentiment Analysis gives HR and managers actionable insight:
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About Jason Lauritsen
Jason Lauritsen is a keynote speaker, author, and consultant. He is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who will challenge you to think differently. A former corporate Human Resources executive, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. Most recently, he led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program where he has studied the employee experience at thousands of companies to understand what the best workplaces in the world do differently than the rest. Jason is the co-author of the book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships, and author of his new book, Unlocking High Performance, to be published by Kogan Page in October 2018.