And, I get it. Of course, it's not comfortable to be critiqued or hear about the ways you're falling short-- especially if you're aware that there are problems. But, is turning a blind eye to shortcomings or problem areas really the answer?
Human Resources professionals are not typically to blame for dissatisfaction and disengagement in the workplace. However, they are the ones who can initiate and drive change. But, before you can design a satisfaction improvement plan, you must equip yourself with the knowledge of where your organizational weaknesses truly lie. Is leadership the issue? Is it leadership in one particular location or department, specifically? Without the power of the data from an employee engagement and satisfaction survey, you just can't be sure.
Once you've gathered the data and feedback from your employees, you can take action in smarter, more strategic ways that will improve whats most impactful to employee engagement at your organization-- the things that your unique employee group actually responds to.
The Proof is in the Numbers
LinkedIn recently published an interesting article containing stats on feedback. One study, conducted by Gallup, found that managers who received feedback on their strengths showed 8.9% greater profitability. In another study, those who received strengths feedback had turnover rates that were 14.9% lower than for employees who received no feedback. And lastly, a study found that teams with managers who received strengths feedback showed 12.5% greater productivity post-intervention than teams with managers who received no feedback. Increased profitability, lower turnover rates, and high productivity-- these are all results of giving and receiving feedback.
But, they only mentioned "strengths" feedback, so that is just the good stuff, right? According to the article, 92% of respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” So, hearing the bad stuff can be a catalyst for positive change as well.
And since we're on the topic of apprehension, it's worth noting that your employees might be just as afraid to give you honest feedback as you are to hear it. That's why the number one rule in surveying your employees is that anonymity must be protected.
Ensure your respondents' identities cannot be linked to their answers by using a third-party vendor that is trained and experienced in handling, protecting and delivering employee feedback data. Reassure employees of their confidentiality and then act on that trust. Do not attempt to match comments to individuals, rather assess your results and strive to improve problem areas holistically.
Taking the leap and opening yourself (or your company) up for criticism, while potentially painful, can yield worthwhile and lasting results. After all, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve,” says Bill Gates