- Employee feedback is essential to creating a culture in which engagement thrives.
- Create actionable plans on how to best implement needed changes derived from feedback.
- Ensure that your team members know their time and effort is valued for continued success.
We spend a great deal of time at our jobs. It should be no surprise that working in an environment which provides a great experience is something that we all strive for. While salary and benefits are important, they're no longer the sole reason to stay at a job. People look more towards the reciprocity between management and employees or people over process when deciding to commit to a career.
Why workplace culture is important
This reciprocity begins with the exchange of consistent, authentic feedback. Effective managers strive to build a culture that prioritizes two-way communication, inspiring the free exchange of ideas and opinions. Though, in spite of the benefits, receiving criticism can be intimidating for both new and already established managers. Nevertheless, even more important is what you choose to do with the received information and insights.
A healthy workplace culture is derived from honest and robust feedback. It relies on it for direction and efficiency. Without it, teams and even companies remain stagnant and subsequently hold themselves back. A holistic work environment that considers everyone’s perspectives is better poised to retain their team members, increase employee engagement, and drive success forward.
Reinforcing a healthy work culture via feedback
But, how do you use employee feedback to inform your management style? These 6 tips will provide a foundation so you can build a thriving workplace culture and foster successful, engaged teams.
1. Be receptive to constructive criticism
Without other’s analytical perspectives on procedures needing improvement, no growth or change occurs. This hinders the overall success for the team, but also thwarts the manager's own professional development. Becoming a better leader requires an open mindset, and a willingness to hear all your reports have to say, positive or negative.
When actually in the situation, it’s quite common to have a negative, knee-jerk reaction to something critical - often feeling stressed or even defensive. Remember that your team members advice is only with good intention, and try to embrace it. As it is unnerving to receive constructive feedback, it is an immutable part of the personal growth.
2. Listen to understand
Similar to being receptive to criticism, is the willingness to actually absorb the underlying message, rather than just listening to respond. This step is important regardless of the method of feedback, but particularly so when during a 1-on-1 or an in-person meeting.
Active listening is essential to building trust. Ask clarifying questions if something is vague, or needs further explanation. This guarantees not only that you were intently listening and are seeking greater understanding, but that when it comes time to devise an action plan - it’s implemented correctly.
3. Triage your feedback
Particularly if you’re receiving the bulk of your feedback from weekly surveys, triaging concerns becomes an important part of managing. Regularly scheduled feedback can determine which issues are worth addressing, how pressing they are, and the timeframe and resources needed to accomplish a workable solution.
As is it’s intention, gathering employee feedback can highlight complicated issues. These problems may be miniscule or even large in nature, that you may not be able to address. Do whatever is in your power, and start by focusing on small, priority changes. This shows your team that you’re working on solutions - even if there are other issues unable to be resolved currently.
4. Provide a clear action plan
On its own, gathering employee feedback is very worthwhile, but it’s the action taken based on the suggestions of your team that makes all the difference for staff engagement. Once all evaluations are collected, creating an actionable plan to implement the suggested changes is of the utmost importance.
If problems arise that you are unable to handle, ensure you report needed changes to higher management. This shows to both your superiors and your team member’s that you take the initiative to create a better work environment even when you don’t have direct means to do so yourself.
5. Communicate the results
After the time and energy that team members give to provide authentic feedback, there needs to be recognition of the outcomes. Management’s transparency and acknowledgement of necessary improvements inspires trust and loyalty in team members. Afterall, it is this dedication of a good team which drives business forward.
As employees notice change being brought about from their feedback, they’re more likely to participate genuinely again. This affirms employees, makes them feel heard, and reassures them that the feedback they give is not an unneeded burden - but valuable.
6. Thank everyone for their involvement
Employees already have busy schedules. So when they take the time out of their day to provide you their opinions and thoughts, expressing your appreciation for them is an invaluable gesture for positive relationships. Team members need to know that managers genuinely care about their experience, and will do their best to bring it to realization.
Embracing feedback from your employees and implementing desired changes is just one way to increase employee engagement. With the affirmation that their voices are heard, team members feel increasingly connected to their work, increasing their performance and overall success.
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