By Tyler Bray, owner, The Trailer Parts Outlet.
As a manager, you will have days when you are excited to get feedback from employees and other days when you just wish everyone (including yourself) could sit back and get the job done. You could reach a season in your company where you have virtually no feedback from anyone below you. Does that mean everything is fine? If only.
The reality is that employees sometimes solve their workplace problems by quietly polishing up their resume. The culture you build will determine your retention rates. Retention rates also determine how well your team develops institutional knowledge and hones their skills.
Why is it sometimes difficult for employees to give feedback?
Many employees find it difficult to give feedback because they believe that it is not their job. You may have come from a job that had an “if you don’t like it, go” culture. This means you may not hear about setbacks, inefficiencies, and possible solutions and improvements. How can we solve this communication challenge between employees and managers? Here are a few ideas.
What managers can do to improve employee feedback
Review body language, tone of voice, and reactions to the feedback you give during the meetings. How are your communication skills in meetings? This carries over to your feedback discussions.
Personally, I take the time to speak to everyone on my team. When you develop relationships with employees, feedback isn’t something they intentionally share with you – it naturally becomes part of your workplace culture.
I know that one-on-one conversations with teammates are not scalable. That’s a legitimate point, and I’d say you treat feedback like other aspects of the business like new customers or sales. Don’t wait for it. Go out and get it as often as you can. The improved future of your business depends on it. And remember, feedback isn’t always about measurable aspects of your business. Culture is not always about hard facts, but about abstract feelings.
If the professional walls of some of your employees are too high, you may find it difficult to get real feedback from them. To take a recent example, I have sales reps struggling with our new process, new metrics, and new packaging. Basically, outside of the scope of normal work, I can provide an additional reward if an employee achieves their goal. That could be treating them to lunch or a resort weekend. You will be amazed at the useful conversations that arise in these “after-hours” settings.
How employees can give better feedback
Employees, you are the lifeblood of the team and make everything possible. That is, cultivating maturity will amplify your message and you will never have to raise your voice. Remember the maxim: “Speak because you have something to say, not because you have to say something”. Remember that time is precious and that getting to the point early will never hurt a mature leader’s feelings. Just be honest and mature, focus on collaborations and solutions, and you’ll be fine.
The result of a better employee feedback system
When you use an employee’s idea, they feel like they own the result. You could take responsibility for the outcome like never before. They saw an increase in engagement that cannot be measured in numbers but is felt in energy and attitude. Remember, it’s all about the direction you are moving. Have you moved to or away from more commitment and personal responsibility? Be the kind of business leader that uses feedback to create a dedicated team that has their results.