What is Employee Feedback?
Employee feedback is collecting information from employees and providing feedback both to employees and leadership. The goal of employee feedback is to improve overall employee performance.
Companies can collect employee feedback through surveys, group meetings, interviews, suggestion boxes, and daily internal communications. Besides improving employee engagement, employers use feedback to pinpoint problematic behavior and develop a healthy company culture.
According to Zippia, companies that collect employee feedback experience 14.9% lower employee turnover rates, amongst other benefits. But many organizations don't collect real-time feedback, or they do it passively. This article will explore further benefits and ways to collect feedback and valuable information without sacrificing time and money.
Employee Feedback Benefits
Effective employee feedback ensures that an organization collects the correct data that helps boost overall staff performance. While an average company seeks positive employee feedback examples, the reality is that both positive and negative feedback can be helpful.
Collecting employee input has many direct and indirect benefits, so let's explore the most significant ones.
Performance Boost Across All Levels
According to Betterworks, companies that gather continuous feedback outperform the competition at a 24% rate.
Besides collecting insightful data that a company uses to improve performance, you create a culture where workers feel safe by having a feedback channel. Knowing that the employer proactively engages in enhancing employees' position inside the company generates a positive attitude.
In some cases, the mere fact that the employer engages with the employee can have positive results without even incorporating data and solutions into the work environment.
Feedback conversations should encourage positive behavior. While the employer should deliver on agreed changes, having a regular discussion helps maintain employee happiness and engagement.
Solve Problematic Behavior Proactively
Through active listening, employers can pinpoint patterns in how employees feel at specific moments, such as when a deadline is near, or the company announces a new big project.
No matter how well oiled the machine is, mistakes happen. Meaning that there are bound to be occasional conflicts inside the company. When people don't feel comfortable talking about problems, minor issues evolve into problems that affect the entire company.
Timely feedback can save hours of work and, more importantly, money. More importantly, defusing an issue in its early stages again contributes to organizational values where employees can trust their managers.
Help Employees Focus on Their Strengths
The larger the company, the more challenging it is to apply the "one-size-fits-all" approach. Business outcomes depend on effectiveness, and you can't know someone's strengths or weaknesses without a proper employee performance review.
It's not just about pinpointing an employee's qualities. According to PWC, 72% of employees under 30 years of age report that they would prefer receiving feedback daily or weekly.
That means that 72% of young employees aren't sure if what they are doing is right or wrong. They require constructive feedback conversation not only to perform better but also to grow. By giving feedback, you take a future-focused approach where you nurture your young employees.
Furthermore, you can make better decisions on who does what by talking to them. A great example is news outlets. Randomly assigning article topics is far less efficient than knowing employees' interests and assigning tasks accordingly.
Supports Growth & Pinpoint Top Talent
Employees that don't feel like there's room for progress in the company, go somewhere else. While the company can't satisfy everybody's needs, employee feedback allows it to pinpoint key players and ensure they don't leave.
Through employee engagement surveys, businesses can easily find out employees who would benefit the most from additional support. Instead of investing resources in the entire workforce, the company can focus on those who matter.
Unfortunately, although effective feedback systems are essential, many companies feel that the process is time-consuming, stressful, and challenging.
But the reality is quite the opposite. If you know your goal, you will also know what type of feedback you need to collect.
Types of Employee Feedback
The type of feedback you collect depends on your goals. Is your goal better employee retention or simply assessing past behavior? To figure that out, first, you need to know different types. Here are the most common constructive employee feedback examples.
Negative Feedback vs Positive Feedback
First, let's dissect the most common difference, negative and positive feedback. It's in the workspace nature that there will be both types. But instead of focusing on one over the other, you should always focus on constructive feedback.
Sharing words of encouragement can be nice, but it won't help in the long-runs and can ever hurt employees' productivity. Here's how you should use negative and positive feedback.
- Positive feedback - Positive employee feedback examples acknowledge great work or behavior. You should provide positive feedback exclusively as a reaction to positive action.
- Negative feedback - Use corrective feedback to correct bad behavior. Use data to support negative feedback. Otherwise, you might seem biased, which can have a negative reaction.
Both feedback types can inspire and demoralize workers. To ensure you give constructive employee feedback, try to focus on the following:
- Be specific
- Encourage the employee to act
- Use active listening
- Focus on issues
- Use data
- Avoid subjective judgment and bias
Peer-to-peer is feedback between employees. Instead of receiving employee feedback from employers, employees give and receive feedback from each other.
It can seem challenging to figure out how to encourage peer-to-peer feedback since it usually happens organically rather than systematically. But the company can incentivize peer-to-peer feedback through anonymous feedback boxes and similar tactics.
This also creates more control since the managers can filter constructive feedback before it reaches the team.
360-degree is a comprehensive type of regular feedback that employees receive from all directions of the workforce hierarchy.
360 feedback is constructive for managers and people who oversee larger projects. Receiving feedback from all sides helps identify strengths and weaknesses with the current project and their general performance.
For 360, it's best to use direct reports with precise results. Managers can then act quickly and help other team members.
Giving feedback is important, and typically, companies do it regularly, such as monthly, quarterly, or annually. But just because a company has a process, that doesn't mean that a manager shouldn't give feedback outside the "feedback hours."
Informal feedback means providing effective feedback in real-time. Besides engaging with employees regularly and working on your communication skills, feedback is an excellent tool for creating a healthy workspace environment.
By being insightful and proactive, the manager creates a feedback culture where the person receiving feedback understands they can provide input as well.
Since this type can seem more subjective, be careful to stay constructive.
Providing positive feedback, as well as negative, should go both ways. Similar to 360, employees give feedback on the manager's performance.
The company's employee engagement depends heavily on the team manager's leadership qualities. Knowing how well the manager performs should be critical to any company.
The effectiveness of upward feedback depends heavily on how ready the manager is to receive feedback. Since there isn't necessarily an overseeing figure in the form of a CEO, a lousy manager can easily ignore negative and positive employee feedback. Even worse, it can result in a negative employee experience.
Managers should never focus on who gave feedback but on how credible the feedback is.
How to Collect Employee Feedback
How you collect employee feedback depends on your goals and feedback type. Extensive performance reviews might work the best for some companies, while a brief, direct report will work wonders for others.
Besides traditional surveys and interviews, there are specific ways to collect effective employee feedback. Let's list the most common tools.
New Employee Surveys
There are several benefits to doing a new employee survey. The first two months are essential for every employee. According to Sapling, proper onboarding increases employee retention by 82%. Meaning that you want to find out about the new employee's engagement.
Some companies survey after 30 days, while others do it after 60 or even 90 days. How you wish to request feedback is up to you.
When collecting new employee feedback, focus on questions that allow the employee to express how welcome they feel, did they create connections, and are the goals reasonable. You can combine these surveys with exit surveys. If an employee fails to meet goals, leaves the company, and lists bad leadership as their reason, ask new employees about their leadership expectations.
Engagement surveys are typical surveys where the employer wants to know how engaged the employees feel. These surveys are a great way to collect a more significant amount of data. This can also mean that you get a lot of vague feedback, but the information can still be helpful.
Typically, companies do engagement surveys quarterly, biannually, or annually.
Engagement surveys contain questions about retention, engagement, satisfaction, and everything else that impacts their productivity. These surveys are usually more formal surveys that all teams need to take.
Pulse surveys are a better option if you want to gather feedback more frequently without overwhelming your employees.
Pulse surveys are rapid surveys that contain between three to five questions. They shouldn't take more than a minute to complete, so it's okay if you do them weekly. For example, a company can use a pulse survey to assess employees' satisfaction with weekly work.
By using regular feedback, team managers can be much more responsive to what's happening inside the company in real-time.
Employee net promoter score (NPS) syncs nicely with pulse surveys. ENPS is a measuring tool to see how satisfied employees are with the company. The goal is to ask one or two simple questions where employees use a 0 to 10 scale. The total score of all employee replies is their total eNPS.
You ask employees to express their satisfaction with the company from 0 to 10. Employees who answer 9 to 10 would be your promoters, 7 to 8 passives, and anything below is detractors.
The goal here isn't to pinpoint and punish detractors. But to figure out internal communications and what you can do to turn detractors and passives into promoters.
Everyone probably experienced a team meeting where the uncomfortable silence feels the air, whether in-person or digitally. But if you do team meetings correctly, you can collect valuable feedback without employees even realizing it.
Opinions are like domino pieces. If you manage to incentivize one or two employees to speak their minds, another employee will likely have something to say as well.
Naturally, they heavily depend on the meeting conductor and the topic. Typically, it's better to have team meetings about topics where you're sure the entire team agrees. That way, you avoid unproductive arguments and can find out options to make the team happier and more productive.
It would be too exhausting for mid businesses and enterprises to conduct detailed interviews with every team member. Typically, it's better to pinpoint your top talent by using pulse surveys.
After you know who they are, you can use retention interviews to ensure they stay and figure out what you can do to increase general employee retention.
You can use the collected employee feedback on a single case or across the entire company. Employee retention is essential since turnover costs can leave a severe dent in a company's effectiveness.
3rd party review sites are a fantastic source of employee feedback. It is free, but you can also check competitors' employee feedback examples. If your company is on such a website, you should monitor what employees say about you.
The most famous review websites are:
Review sites are growing in popularity, especially in the current market where remote work is becoming more and more dominant.
Finally, most users of such services are job seekers - meaning that a great addition to your force could be checking you right now, so you want to leave a good impression.
Employee Suggestion Box
According to an AllVoices survey from 2021, 74% of employees are more likely to provide honest feedback if the feedback channel is genuinely anonymous. That's where employee suggestion boxes come in.
Finding genuine employee experience can seem easy on paper but difficult in practice. If you have a weak employee culture, you can't expect feedback on sensitive topics such as the team's thinking of their manager.
An employee suggestion box is nothing new. Whether you're using a physical or a digital box, it's a great way to guarantee anonymity and encourage effective feedback.
The human resources department often struggles with generic feedback that they can't put to good use. By encouraging anonymity, you also promote honesty.
An employee leaving the company is your last chance to gather feedback from that specific employee. While some will be less willing to provide feedback than others, understanding employee experience while leaving the company is helpful in several ways.
The information you gather helps with retention. You can learn what you can improve to increase productivity and engagement. Finally, you can also learn what makes an unsuitable employee for your company. A talented employee doesn't mean that they will automatically engage with your company.
Since they are no strings attached, you can ask anything you feel like as long as you determine the employee will provide honest feedback.
Although some companies feel like collecting employee feedback isn't necessary, many employees' success relies on how you, as the employer, interact with employees.
Collecting and giving feedback creates a healthy work environment, vital in a working culture that values honesty, productivity, and equality.
You can also use employee feedback examples to incentivize and assure recruits that it is desirable to speak their mind. A new employee is like a stranger who needs to settle in quickly. The easier you make it for them, the better. And one way to do so is to know what makes your current employees happy.
There are countless ways to utilize employee feedback, as long as you know where to look. Good luck.
Here you can find the most commonly asked questions and answers about employee feedback examples and tools.
What kind of feedback should I ask my employees?
Questions you ask depend on your goals. Is your goal to improve employee productivity or your management skills? Most of the time, you should focus on easy-to-answer questions and avoid incentivizing biased answers. Answers where you're subconsciously trying to influence the employee to give negative or positive feedback. Furthermore, since your goal is to collect honest replies, ensure that the employee feels comfortable answering.
What are some positive employee feedback examples?
Positive feedback should always be a reaction to positive action. Giving positive feedback left and right diminishes its value and can have a negative impact. Some of the common examples are: your input in today's meeting was extremely helpful. Your contribution to the project made everything easier and more efficient. You are highly proactive. Thank you for that.
How do you give constructive feedback to employees?
When giving constructive feedback, focus on the behavior instead of the person. A popular approach is to include the issue in the question and describe what you think about it. If necessary, use data. Furthermore, be specific and realistic. Don't reply affectively, but keep a cool head instead and always offer further support.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.