5 Challenges and 10 Solutions to Improve Employee Feedback Process


Part 1
Why Is Employee Feedback Important?

Exactly how valuable is employee feedback? Why is it something that leaders and managers should strategize to improve on regularly? OfficeVibe, a software company that specialized in employee engagement tools revealed data from a recent employee feedback survey:

  • 27 percent of workers say the feedback they receive helps them work better.
  • 42 percent of millennials want feedback every week.
  • 83 percent of feedback millennials say they receive from managers is not meaningful.
  • 30 percent of performance reviews end up decreasing employee performance

Leaders are missing opportunities to better engage and develop their workforce by not efficiently providing feedback employees can use, or taking the time to listen to their ideas or concerns. Useful employee feedback has far-reaching implications. Efficient feedback systems are shown to increase engagement. A 2013 Gallup Study revealed companies with highly engaged workers were 22 percent more profitable than those who did not. By not having an all-star employee feedback process, leaders are leaving revenue and growth on the table.

Many times, employee feedback will center around performance. Ideally, managers will deliver constructive feedback to employees that are tied to performance and productivity expectations. However, this culture of feedback has to be two-way. Employees should be encouraged to speak up about their experiences whether good or bad. This is the only way leaders will know if current processes or staffing structures are successful. Leaders have to make two-way employee feedback communication a priority for the whole organization.

Part 2
5 Challenges to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback

  1. A Lack of a Culture of Communication

    If employees and managers do not feel comfortable communicating honestly with one another, then companies have a huge problem.

    It is possible for leaders not to value constant communication.
    The lack of a company intranet, online collaboration technologies, mandated employee feedback sessions, or a tendency for leaders to take the time to speak with employees on a regular basis can make employee and manager feedback sessions less productive.

  2. A Culture Where Employees Do Not Feel Heard

    If employees have been shown time and time again that their ideas, concerns, or feedback are not acted upon or even listened to then managers could be missing out on valuable information. Again, employee feedback should not be one-way.
    Managers can learn a lot about the internal workings of the company and any problem areas from employees, but if they feel like nothing will be done, they may be less likely to discuss.

  3. Building Trust

    Employees feel more compelled to share information and take feedback if they think they can trust the organization.

    Leaders and managers have to take the time to cultivate trust with employees. This development is something that cannot happen overnight but will take time to develop.
    The website ‘Great Place to Work’ found that 87 percent of employees who work at organizations where trust is critical are less likely to leave.

  4. Providing Opportunities for Growth

    Workers will also likely be more open to feedback if their performance can be tied to future growth opportunities. This takes a lot of forethought and strategy on the part of the manager and allows both parties to become partners on the path to career growth and development.
    A challenge for leaders is that it takes a lot of time to work with employees to develop these paths to growth. A lot of structures have to be in place for this to work.

  5. Making Sure Everyone Is Doing Employee Feedback

    According to a stat listed earlier, 65 percent of employees want more feedback. This statistic means that employees are either not receiving it or getting enough of it.
    Leaders have the task of making sure managers are taking the time to provide feedback, this can take a lot of time and resources to check into.

Part 3
10 Solutions to Creating Better Employee Feedback Procedures

  1. Discuss Constructive Feedback

    — Leaders should make a point to discuss with managers about the features of constructive feedback, and the importance of a balance between highlighting the positive and negative.

    — Managers do not want to deliver feedback in a way that causes employees to shut down or reject the message. The whole point is to make the team better, and this should be the central message behind any and all feedback.

  2. All Feedback Needs to Be Specific

    — Vagueness and ambiguity cannot be tolerated. Employees have to be told exactly what they need to work on and why.

    — Managers should point to specific instances or results as examples for needed improvement. Data above has shown employees want to be told what to improve on, but managers have to be sure they have the information to give them helpful details.

  3. Developing a Growth Track

    — As employees are on boarded, managers should have a conversation with them to discuss their aspirations and goals with the company. It would then be helpful for these individuals to work together to develop a path for growth (whether it be to obtain a particular position or develop a skill set).

    — This action can then drive feedback sessions since managers can also measure performance with these aspirations and goals. Employees will feel that they know what they need to do to move forward in the organization.

  4. Instilling a Culture of Two-Way Communication

    — Employees should always feel comfortable approaching managers about ideas, issues, or concerns.

    — Leaders should ensure that managers take what employees are saying seriously and take appropriate action when necessary.

    — Surveys, one-on-one meetings, a suggestions box, and company intranet can all be platforms for employees to provide feedback on what managers and leaders are doing well on, and where they can improve.

  5. Hold Managers Accountable for Regular Feedback

    — Feedback does not always have to happen at a specified time. In fact, workers benefit when feedback is regularly given. However, managers should still have a specified time when they are engaging in feedback with employees. This could be once a month, bi-monthly, or some other specified period.

    — Managers should not be able to get away with not giving feedback. Leaders have to stay on top of this to be sure managers are taking the time to do this.

  6. Feedback Should Be Based on Facts and Not Emotion

    — In an office where a lot of events can throw off and frustrate managers and leaders, those in authority always have to keep a professional tone. Nothing can be solved if someone lets their emotions run too high.

    — The focus should be on fixing the problem and showing how an error negatively impacted the team.

  7. Be Objective, Not Subjective

    — Generalized comments like, “You are not as determined as you normally are,” or “You never do X…” can have a detrimental impact on employees and can even make them feel personally attacked.

    — The goal is to get to the heart of why an employee may not be at the height of performance.

    — Making opinionated statements is not going to build trust or a lasting working relationship.

  8. Never Publically Criticize

    — Negative feedback should happen behind closed doors.

    — Employees should never be subjected to public criticism or correction. Not only can these breed feelings of humiliation and animosity, but it sets a bad example for others who witness the event.

    — Any problems should be handled in private.

  9. Communication Should Be Continuous

    — Managers do not have to wait for a required time to converse with employees. To understand their aspirations, experiences, and suggestions; managers should make it a practice to dialogue with employees regularly.

    — This keeps them in the know and also increases familiarity and trust.

    — By the time managers meet with employees for required feedback sessions, there should not be a lot of surprises on either side.

  10. Recognize and Acknowledge

    — Communications do not always have to center on employee work ethic, managers should make sure they take the time to recognize and acknowledge exemplary work when they see it.

    — Everyone could use some positive feedback, even if it is quick and informal. This increases trust and lets employees know that someone appreciates the work they are doing.

    — In fact, the company as a whole should establish a culture that encourages everyone to take the time to acknowledge good work.

Employee feedback is key to any company’s success. What are workers to do if they have no idea if they are doing well or faltering? Leaders have to make constructive two-way employee feedback sessions a priority for all on staff. Leaders who do not make feedback a significant part of growth strategies risk damaging worker engagement and company growth. Studies have shown that employees want to know where they stand, and they value the opportunity to hear from managers about their progress. A well-thought-out employee feedback process benefits everyone.


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