The higher your position gets in an organization, less the chances are of receiving constructive feedback based on different parameters such as performance, ideas or strategy. Who wants to offend the boss? Employees do not realize that without their input, their development suffers. There are chances that you become remote and miss on having some great ideas. As a boss or a manager, there is something you must do to gather honest feedback from your employees.
Why Employees Do Not Speak?
Ask an employee and he/she will give you good number of reasons to keep their opinions from their superiors. Some of them include:
– Bosses can affect the fate
– They can evaluate negatively
– They can hold back promotions and appraisals
– They have the ability to fire
A study by Harvard Business Review tells that employees have seemingly untested assumptions that lead to silence.
What Can You Do?
Feedback is critical for the growth of an organization and its employees. At times you may witness ideas that would turn the tables for a particular project.
To make the employees speak if they would be able to balance the intangible, untested costs of rewards along with personal acknowledgment. The managers are required to tailor the reward system in a way that the employees are more open about their feedback and volunteer ideas that helps their as well as the organizational growth.
5 Ways to Gather Constructive Feedback
It could be difficult to get constructive and honest feedback from employees. Here are 5 ways that can help you do the same:
1. Get Over the Old and Traditional Suggestion Box
Embrace transparency. The suggestion box will keep the name anonymous but it does not solve the problem to the core. Feedback will become an important part of the organization once the fear factor runs out of minds of the employees. Develop a culture based work environment where people feel free and confident to come up with ideas and feedback.
The suggestion box keeps the ideas hidden and does not empower the ideas of the employees.
2. Ask For It – Regularly
Once in a year if you sit with your employees telling them to speak up, the only thing you will get in return is modest replies stating everything is good. Be active and be a manager who is constantly collecting ideas and feedback. Ask direct questions and do not expect your employees to be honest and open at the first go. You will have to do this again and again until it becomes a habit.
3. Team Outings are the Best Way to Intermingle with Your Employees
Lunches and dinner parties are an awesome way to get people talking. Mingle with your employees and try and get everything about them. It is a way to make them feel comfortable. Also try to know them beyond work. It helps build a bond at personal level and employees can get more open about any kind of problems they have.
4. Request for Examples
When you are reviewing your employee, you make sure that you give them examples to validate a point. Similarly, when your employees give you constructive feedback, ask them for examples. For example if an employee appreciates you for something good or gives you something they did not like, ask for examples so that you know where you go wrong and where you go right.
With examples you would be able to understand the feedback better and ensure what you are hearing is true.
5. Recognize and Follow Up with Employees
If someone is brave enough to come up to you and present his/her honest opinions, they deserve to be recognized. Until recognized, the employees feel speaking up was a complete waste of time. As a manager on the receiving end, you need to thank people for doing it. Witnessing this, the others in the organization will get motivated and open up to share ideas. This is required to create an open culture in the organization.
Some Principal Dos and Don’ts
When asking for constructive feedback there are certain dos and don’ts you must follow. These include:
– End the conversation with a thank you and respond by telling your employees how are you going to act on the feedback you have received
– Ask a few trusted sources about your performances, ideas and how others in the team feel about you as a manager
– Show your employees that you are receptive and available
– Do it once a year
– Do not expect to receive honest review at one go
– Do not give up easily