7 Opportunities for Managers to Solicit Feedback from Employees
By Sharlyn Lauby
Feedback is an essential part of business. Organizations solicit feedback from customers all the time, so it makes sense that they would also solicit feedback from employees. HR is often involved in gathering employee feedback, but managers play a significant role as well.
Managers already have a full-plate of responsibilities. It’s possible they might push back on the task of gathering feedback saying, “I don’t have time for extra meetings to gather employee feedback.” Truth is…managers have several opportunities to solicit feedback in the things they already do. Here are seven activities that managers already do regularly that they can use to get feedback from employees.
1. Onboarding: Managers are responsible for helping new hires get set up for success. They should use onboarding time to ask new hires their perceptions of the company and the things that the manager can do to help the employee be successful. One question they might want to ask – What’s one thing your last employer did that you’d like to see here?
2. One-on-One Meetings: Whether your organization has formal one-on-one meetings or not, the concept of regular meetings with an employee happens everywhere. Managers can use the meeting as an opportunity to ask employees about their goals and career aspirations. A “stay interview” question might be valuable – Tell me one thing you like about working here.
3. Performance Reviews: Regardless of your company’s view on the annual performance review, at some point, managers and employees have to discuss performance. Managers can use this discussion to solicit feedback about their performance. A common question to include might be – Name one thing I can do to help you achieve your goals.
4. Training: Many organizations are using training sessions as a way to recognize employees and build camaraderie. Managers can set aside some time during training to engage in a group conversation. Or they can take the group out for drinks/dinner after training and have a little work discussion. One question to post to the group – What can the company do to make sure training sticks?
5. Surveys: Today’s technology allows organizations incredible flexibility when it comes to surveys. Yes, there are the traditional employee engagement surveys managed through human resources. But technology also allows managers to send out “pulse” surveys, a simple one-question survey that provides fast feedback.
6. Department Meetings: We’ve already covered a couple of ways that managers can solicit feedback during individual meetings, but don’t forget the department meeting can be just as valuable. And staff meetings are held on a regular basis, so no extra scheduling is necessary. Managers can ask the team what they would think about a new goal or a change in policy.
7. Offboarding: Just as managers help employees enter the organization successfully, they do the same when an employee decides to leave. Many companies conduct exit interviews, giving employees the opportunity to discuss their employment experience. Managers can spend time with the employee as well asking them the reasons they left and possibly if they would consider returning in the future.
Managers are right – they do have a lot on their plate. But, since they have so many interactions with employees, they also have the opportunity to ask for feedback. Even if it’s one question. The information they could receive would be incredibly valuable.
Not sure where or how to get started? We recently did a webinar on Creating a Company Culture that Embraces Feedback.