Human capital is your most important asset. A lot of organizations talk about this in executive speeches, marketing materials and advertisements. If you are one of these organizations, what are doing to support this statement?
- Are you actively reaching out to your employees to listen to what they have to say?
- Are you having informal meetings with them to discuss what they see as going well on their teams, department and the firm overall?
- Are you asking employees for suggestion of how to make the company better?
- Are you providing employees’ updates as to if, when and how these suggestions are being implemented?
- Are you working with third-party partners to create employee feedback surveys to poll the population?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions your organization is on track for establishing what would be consider as a “best place to work”. If you are not there yet, that’s OK too – we are here to help! Below are five advantages to listening to your employees’ suggestions that might be helpful as you consider this approach.
5 Reasons to Seek and Listen to Your Employee’s Feedback
- Invaluable Feedback: Employees can provide a multitude of innovative solutions to your organization’s most pressing problems. Soliciting their feedback in an open and honest forum is an opportunity to discuss topics you may not even know are an issue or learn about a business opportunity you didn’t even know exists. Without this feedback your organization may struggle to grow and adapt to a constantly changing industry landscape.
- Better Industry Position – Perhaps your employees are on the front lines working with clients; they may understand in more depth where your culture or organization stands in comparison to the rest of the industry. Solicit their feedback to understand how your clients, competitors, and vendors view your organization in comparison to the rest of the industry. Are you leading, lagging or meeting industry standards? Employee feedback can be instrumental in helping your organization leap frog other competitors and turn a lag or meet industry standards position to a lead position.
- Attracting Top Notch Candidates – Leaders always say they want to hire “top talent”. One way to attract top talent is to provide an environment that takes advantage of their skill set. Instead of putting this talent on a shelf, putting a sticker on it that says “only solicit feedback if things get really, really bad”, continuously work with your employees to obtain their feedback. Engaging your employees and soliciting their honest feedback will create a culture that attracts other like-minded people to your organization.
- Utilize their Past Experiences to Enrich your Company – Regardless of where you have worked, who you worked for and how long it was for, you can always take something away from that work experience. All employees have some sort of past experience that can lend itself to helping your organization. What your firm needs to figure out is how to tap into that knowledge and utilize it to make big things happen.
- Help you Calibrate your Mission, Vision, Values and Goals – Ideally, your employee feedback should complement and support your firm’s mission, vision, values and goals. If it does not, perhaps your senior management team, and your Human Resources Department, should discuss the ways in which to better align the negative feedback with your mission, vision, values and goals. For example, a client I recently worked with sent out an employee survey at the beginning of the year. The results indicated that employees did not feel the current benefits properly reflected the organization’s values. After some internal discussion, the senior management team decided that the employees were right and made the changes outlined in the survey. In addition, the senior management team made a sincere effort to review all of their policies, procedures, benefits and compensation to ensure the rest of these items were still in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, values and goals.
Your employees really are your most valuable resource. Instead of making Jim, Sally or Bob think they are another cog in the wheel that makes your organization turn, reach out to them and ask them for suggestions. Beyond asking for suggestions, make a sincere effort to listen to their suggestions, bring them to the highest levels of management and provide Jim, Sally or Bob an update on the status of their suggestions. Most employees will understand if a change can’t be made if there are budgetary restrictions. Employee’s really care about being heard and providing the avenue for their ideas, suggestions and opinions to be voiced. Be the organization that doesn’t just say they do this; be the organization that actually does do this.