How to Get Candid Employee Feedback

Do you think there could be serious issues and problems at your company that you don’t know about? What if you could get more candid, valuable ideas and suggestions from frontline employees about these issues?

The challenge is how to get that information out of them. They might be afraid to say anything negative or critical of your company or their fellow colleagues. Try the following five methods of encouraging employee feedback to get the candid business data you need for greater success.

1. Periodic Surveys

Sending out surveys can yield honest employee feedback. There are several great free and paid websites that offer survey technology.

One of the keys is to make survey results anonymous. Put a system in place that shows employees that they can give really honest feedback without getting into trouble.

Another key is that the company needs to be committed to using the suggestions gathered in each survey. Employees need to see improvements as a result of surveys. Make your commitment clear from the beginning and follow through.

2. Ongoing Electronic Feedback

Other electronic feedback methods can allow employees to give valuable suggestions and complaints more often than surveys allow. Most surveys happen only once per year, but employees often have much more immediate needs.

You could set up an online forum where employees can post their comments anonymously in threads where you can start dealing with different issues. You could sign up for a group text service that allows you to send out texts to the cell phones of all employees (or to a sub-group).

Some group text platforms can also give employees the option to respond to group texts using their keypad to select from several options.

3. Outside Complaints Phone Line

Some employees are still fearful even of anonymous surveys. You can engage a neutral company that takes complaints over the phone and compiles them in a way that is guaranteed to be anonymous.

Even if some of these complaints are unfounded, some of them can be very important. For example, they could uncover unethical or dangerous practices in the workplace that employees are otherwise afraid to report.

4. Town Hall Meetings

You may be able to stay closer to your employees by having meetings in the style of a town hall. You might start a town hall meeting by making a few announcements, but the main purpose of it is for employees to meet with leaders and have candid conversations.

You might have to hold several town hall meetings before employees really tell you the whole truth. That’s okay! They want to be courteous and non-critical. Just keep encouraging them. Let them know that they can give helpful suggestions that will improve the business.

5. Exit Interviews

Exit interviews can be frustrating. Employees wonder, “Why am I required to answer questions about a place I don’t want to work at anymore?” But they can also reveal candid feedback about your workplace.

Employees may say they’re leaving a position just for a better opportunity, but a large percentage of employees leave because of problems in their workplace, according to author Leigh Branham.

In order to get better feedback, you need to improve your exit interviews. Don’t let them be a generic reading of questions from a piece of paper. Ask better questions, be more courteous, and do whatever else works to find out the true cause of an employee’s dissatisfaction. If you can find it, you can fix it. You can make your organization better for everyone else.

Becoming more skilled and consistent with even one of these five methods can yield valuable business data. A single insight might save or make you money, reduce turnover, and make your business a better place to work. So pick a relevant method and start practicing it today!