Employee Feedback: An Expert Guide On Importance And Best Practices

Justin Raudys

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For your organization to truly benefit from employee feedback, you need to understand what feedback is, why it’s important, and what are the best practices for gathering it. This strategic guide addresses all of those aspects of employee feedback and more.

Everyone wants to do well at their job, but sometimes they don’t know what they’re doing wrong or what they can do to improve.

Employee feedback helps those at all levels in your organization. From executives and managers all the way down the ladder to your summer interns — everyone at your company needs to know what they’re doing well, where they need to improve, and what steps they can take to do better.

Ultimately, employee feedback leads to greater job satisfaction, more productivity, less turnover, and more success within the organization.

7 ways to get honest feedback from employee surveys

Will your workforce tell the truth? Foster trust and openness with your employees using these tips.

What Is Employee Feedback?

Employee feedback is when peers or supervisors give a constructive assessment of an employee’s work. However, employee feedback should go both ways.

Managers can give constructive feedback to employees, and direct reports should have the chance to do the same for their supervisors.

Both employees and managers can use feedback to affirm what they’re doing well and identify where they should make changes to benefit the organization.

Why Is Employee Feedback Important?

Employee feedback improves performance and helps employees develop in their jobs. These kinds of assessments can also improve the entire organization by helping individuals work toward the shared vision and mission.

The are a number of reasons why employee engagement is important for organizations:

Fuels growth

Continuous feedback is one factor that helps create a growth culture in which managers help employees reach their maximum potential. Employees use feedback to help others identify weaknesses and become their best professional selves.

With ContactMonkey, you can try creative employee newsletter ideas like collecting employee feedback straight from Outlook and Gmail.

Just drag and drop your survey into your email template builder, send off your message, and track results in your email analytics.

Helps managers make better decisions

Seeking feedback from employees and involving them in decision-making can result in organizations performing better.

In addition, employees who are involved in decision-making tend to seek more feedback from their supervisors, furthering employee advancement.

Improves employee engagement

Strong employee engagement leads to higher employee morale, productivity, and alignment with company objectives.

In our Global State of Internal Communications 2021 report, ContactMonkey found that internal communication is “a key driver of employee engagement.” But only 27% of respondents said they were highly engaged with their organizations.

Providing and soliciting more employee feedback is key to improving employee engagement and then enjoying all of the positive results.

Increases job satisfaction

Employee productivity and retention are both tied to job satisfaction.

Asking employees questions tied directly to the components of job satisfaction and making adjustments aligned with their feedback will help you keep your employees satisfied and productive, and make them want to continue working for you.

Improves workplace relationships

People flourish at work when they have good relationships with their coworkers.

While managers can’t artificially build connections, they can use feedback to help eliminate friction points between employees.

Researcher Kerry Roberts Gibson calls potential points of friction “micro-moves,” or “small actions or behaviors that seem inconsequential in the moment but affect how we relate to one another.”

You can avoid the negative impact of micro-moves with communication and feedback.

Supports learning and professional development

More than 80% of employees said that a lack of progression would influence their decision to leave their jobs.

Managers can use employee feedback to understand each employee’s career goals, provide new professional development opportunities, and create promotion and succession plans.

Gather employee feedback with your internal communications via surveys, emoji reactions, eNPS, anonymous comments, and more with ContactMonkey’s employee feedback tools. Our all-in-one internal comms software makes boosting employee engagement super easy.

Turn emails into engaging conversations

Employee Feedback Examples

For many of us, employee feedback is associated with awkward and embarrassing discussions.

One person tries to express concerns without hurting the other’s feelings and the other tries to give honest feedback while being nervous about the repercussions.

In the end, many of these conversations go nowhere and only make us cringe every time we hear the words “employee feedback.”

But employee feedback doesn’t always have to be difficult or cringe-worthy. We’ve outlined some great employee feedback examples that can guide managers in giving effective feedback.

Not sure how to ask your employees for feedback? Try using ContactMonkey’s OpenAI ChatGPT integration to generate effective survey questions. Simply write a prompt describing what kind of feedback you need to collect, generate and select your preferred questions, and edit them for your audience.

Positive feedback examples

Positive feedback shouldn’t just be used to soften the blow before you dish out criticism. When positive feedback is disingenuous, employees will catch on and learn to distrust it, which defeats the goal of this type of feedback.

Instead, positive feedback should be a way of recognizing when someone truly does a great job. It should happen often and be sincere. Here are some great examples of positive employee feedback in action:

Performance recognition: “You did an amazing job on that webinar yesterday! I hear the participants loved it, and are planning to tune into future virtual events. Well done. I really value the hard work, creativity, and enthusiasm you put into it.”

Actions you want to turn into habits: “Thanks for using a spreadsheet to keep track of all our client feedback data. It was super helpful for our team and it helped us quickly find needed data. It was a really effective strategy, I’d like us to use this method in all of our future projects.”

Constructive feedback examples

Constructive feedback can be make or break. It could guide employees in the right direction and make them feel empowered. But it can equally make employees lose confidence and avoid taking on challenges or creative risks in the future.

There’s no exact formula to giving successful constructive feedback. However, there are a few ways that you can frame constructive feedback to increase the chances that it’s received well. The key is to be specific, factual, and to suggest solutions.

Here are a few examples of situations when constructive feedback may be needed and how to give it effectively:

Behavioural issues: “A number of staff have reported hearing you tell some jokes that they found problematic. Our company has very clear guidelines on this. Jokes that could cause offense to colleagues are not appropriate and can’t be tolerated at our workplace.”

Lack of productivity or inability to meet deadlines: “The objective of our performance goals is to ensure that both you and our business succeed. Your weekly tasks are tied to organizational objectives and affect our overall outcomes. At the moment,  I am a bit concerned that you are falling short. Let’s have a discussion about why this may be happening and what changes we can make to help you succeed in the future.”

Employee Feedback Surveys

Employee feedback surveys can simplify and streamline the process of gathering feedback. But they need to be done right to be effective.

The goal of an employee feedback survey is to improve your business productivity by getting a better idea of how your employees feel about their job and what they think about the company.

There are many types of employee surveys out there, and it can be confusing to choose which one you need.

To ease this challenge, you’ll have to clearly define the goals of your employee survey, the key metrics you’re checking for and how often they need to be monitored.

Once you’ve got this down, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about the type of survey that’s right for you. Here are a few options to keep in mind:

  • Employee engagement surveys: determine how connected employees feel to their workplace
  • Employee satisfaction surveys: employers can gather insights on how happy employees feel about aspects of their job, such as compensation, workload, company policies, and benefits.
  • Professional development surveys: let you gauge whether your employees have sufficient resources for career growth within your company and what areas of career development they’re interested in.
  • Employee performance surveys: these are designed for employee self-evaluation and are used to learn where your teams’ strengths and weaknesses lie.
  • Organization culture surveys: allow employers to understand how their staff really see their workplace environment.

For a complete list of employee feedback surveys, check out our post on 15 Types of Employee Surveys You Need to Know About.

Employee Feedback Tools/Software

The goal of an employee feedback platform is to simplify and streamline the way employers collect and analyze feedback.

As feedback can come in all forms and styles, you want a feedback tool that can easily gather, assess, and visualize your feedback data in a clear way. That way, you’ll be able to make better decisions about how to act on it.

With ContactMonkey’s feedback tool, you can take the work out of gathering employee feedback. ContactMonkey, lets you easily embed employee feedback surveys right into your employee emails.

You can also pick from multiple response features to suit the style and scope of your survey. These include eNPS (employee net promoter score), star ratings, emoji reactions, thumbs up/down, and more. ContactMonkey’s surveys also allow anonymous commenting so that employees can contextualize their survey responses.

If you need to collect feedback from only a particular portion of your workforce, you can use custom email lists to target your employee surveys. Using ContactMonkey’s List Management feature, you can create your own custom email lists—without IT—that integrate with your Human Resource Information System (HRIS) like Workday and ADP, as well as Azure Active Directory, so they’ll update automatically.

Whip up emails your employees want to open

Anonymous Employee Feedback

We already know that employee feedback leads to more productivity, higher employee engagement, and less turnover. That’s why it’s crucial to get everyone in your workforce to share their feedback.

While many employees like giving their input on workplace matters, many others withhold their feedback because they’re not comfortable sharing.

Anonymous feedback is a great way for employers to work around this challenge. With anonymous feedback, employees can voice their opinions without attaching their names to it. This will help them speak their minds honestly and authentically.

With ContactMonkey you can quickly and easily gather anonymous employee feedback.

All you have to do is choose your survey question and response style. Pick from emoji reactions, star ratings, yes/no, thumbs up/down, and more.

Once you’ve chosen your first survey question, simply turn on commenting within your email template. Your employees are instantly free to expand on their survey response with anonymous feedback.

Once everyone’s response is in, easily track pulse survey questions on your analytics dashboard.

Leverage These Best Practices to Deliver Effective Employee Feedback

Employee feedback is best when it happens from the top down and the bottom up. That means creating a feedback culture in which everyone expects and embraces feedback, with the goal of improving themselves and the organization as a whole.

Feedback is helpful only if employees are receptive and use it to improve their performance. To ensure this, managers need to give feedback well.

In addition to the feedback practices above:

Base feedback on organizational needs

Give feedback based on organizational needs, not on your personal opinions. For example, feedback can address a business outcome, such as increasing sales, and is more effective than feedback about an individual’s personality.

Be specific

Give specific examples and detailed instructions for improvement. It’s not enough to tell an employee they’re amazing. Instead, tell them that their specific questions during the client meeting helped uncover key information to help inform the strategy.

Focus feedback on patterns, not one-offs

Giving employees feedback about something they did once probably isn’t helpful, unless that one thing was a really big deal. It’s better to focus employee feedback on patterns of behavior that you want to reinforce or change, like being 10 minutes late for work every day.

Don’t overwhelm

Too much feedback at one time can overwhelm your employees and leave them uncertain about what to do next. When feedback preparing, ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing to tell this person right now?” Then, focus on no more than three things that will make the greatest impact on employee performance.

Best Practices for Soliciting Employee Feedback for Managers

Giving managers feedback could make some employees feel uneasy. They may be nervous that their manager will get angry or that it will have consequences for their growth within the company.

This fear of retaliation means that only 65% of employees provide managers with honest feedback compared to 85% of employees who provide honest feedback when they aren’t concerned it will damage their careers.

Employees may be reluctant to give feedback to their bosses, but managers can normalize the process. To encourage employees to provide honest, candid feedback to managers:

1. Just ask

One of the easiest ways to get employee feedback is to request it regularly. Use tools, like ContactMonkey, to ask employees specific questions to solicit the honest information you need. Here’s an example of how you can gather feedback from your employee newsletter. ContactMonkey allows you to gather employee feedback through survey options such as star ratings, emoji reactions, like buttons, or anonymous comments.

Employee Happiness Survey

2. Train employees on how to provide feedback

Helping employees learn how to give feedback eliminates some of the uncertainty and fear involved in providing it. Train employees on how to give effective feedback, including why feedback is important, how to word feedback, and what action to expect as a result of feedback.

3. Model the feedback you desire

Give employees feedback in the same way you would like them to give it to you. Give employees candid feedback frequently, including coaching conversations that focus on the future rather than dwell on the past.

4. Vary feedback methods

Email is the most popular channel for internal communication, according to the Global State of Internal Communications 2021 report, with 95% of those surveyed saying email is their “primary internal communication channel.”

You can use ContactMonkey’s electronic feedback channels, such as surveys, polls, ratings, or open-ended email questions, to allow employees to provide feedback in a variety of ways.

ContactMonkey also allows your employees to provide anonymous comments to explain ratings if they choose to do so.

Screenshot of anonymous employee comment box inserted into an email using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

5. Value employee feedback

Take action on employee feedback to show that their feedback matters, and let them know you’ll do something with it.

The 2020 Global Employee Experience Trends study found that employees were twice as engaged when companies acted on their feedback. Professionals who see workplace changes thanks to their observations are 87% more likely to give honest feedback.

How to Use Employee Feedback to Improve Your Organization

By helping each employee improve through feedback, the organization as a unit will also improve. Let’s take a look at how you can use employee feedback to improve manager performance, employee performance, and your company as a whole.

Use employee feedback to improve manager performance

When employees provide managers with feedback, they need to take action on it. Even if you disagree with your employees, it’s crucial to actively listen to and address the feedback you receive to let employees know they’re not being dismissed out of turn.

To address common employee concerns, managers can try several approaches.

Communicate well

According to the 2020 Communication Statistics survey, “89% of people believe that effective communication is extremely important, but 8 out of 10 people rate their own business’s communication as either average or poor.”

Explain your message to employees in various ways, such as in meetings, via email, and in your internal newsletter. Then, measure employee engagement with the messages.

Show appreciation

Employees who feel appreciated report being more tied to their organization, and they believe they work in a more positive environment.

Avoid playing favorites

What seems like an innocent friendship between an employee and a manager can have a significant impact on other employees.

Your other direct reports may not feel like they’re receiving the same opportunities, resulting in lower morale.

If you receive employee feedback that you’re playing favorites, you need to work to create bonds with all of your direct reports, make assignments fairly, and ask a third party how equitable you are with workplace relationships.

Help employees prioritize important work

A 2018 study found that 23% of employees feel burned out at work very often or always, while an added 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.

Burnout can contribute to high organizational costs. In fact, burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be searching for a new job.

If you receive employee feedback about burnout, you should help create manageable, realistic employee workloads.

Avoid micromanaging

Micromanagers cost 10,000-person plus companies about $600,000 a year and may result in employees leaving.

If your employees give you feedback that you’re a micromanager, you need to delegate, let go of perfection, focus on growth, and ask your employees how they want you to manage them or how you can improve as a manager.

Incorporate internal communications

Using your internal communications to gather employee feedback can save you time and help build a feedback culture at your workplace. ContactMonkey makes collecting employee feedback super easy with our email template builder and internal communications best practices.

Add emoji reactions, eNPS surveys, anonymous comments, and more to your employee emails:

Screenshot of pulse survey inserted into an email newsletter created using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Track employee responses, opens, clicks, and overall engagement with ContactMonkey’s all-in-one internal communications software.

Use feedback to improve employee performance and job satisfaction

Employee productivity and retention are tied to job satisfaction. If you can improve your employees’ job satisfaction, you’ll also improve productivity and retention.

Managers can improve employees’ experience at work by asking employee feedback survey questions related to job satisfaction. Then, adjust accordingly to keep employees satisfied, productive and staying longer with your team.

Here are a few questions you should start asking.

“What aspects of your work do you find meaningful?”

Once you receive this feedback, you can help employees focus on the things they excel at and enjoy the most.

“Are you compensated appropriately for the job you perform?”

Salary matters when it comes to satisfaction at work, but feeling compensated appropriately is more important than employees feeling as if they’re rolling in cash. If you find out via an employee survey that someone doesn’t think they’re compensated fairly, follow up to determine what would make their compensation just.

“What professional-development opportunities do you wish you had?”

More than 90% of employees said they would stay at a company that invested in their careers. This career investment might include helping employees learn, providing professional development opportunities, and showing a clear path to advancement.

“What do you enjoy about your colleagues?”

People who like their coworkers have higher levels of job satisfaction.

To foster a culture of friendship and inclusion, managers should encourage employees to get to know each other and create social opportunities through which friendships can form.

“What would you do differently if you were your manager?”

Employee engagement has remained in the 30% range for more than two decades. Managers are the primary reason employees are disengaged.

The best managers communicate well, set clear expectations of employee performance, and focus on building upon what their employees do well.

“How do you reflect the company’s values through your work?”

Employees are more likely to work hard for and stay with a company when they support and share the organization’s values.

“How well does the company take care of you?”

Employees experience greater job satisfaction when their benefits are comparable to similar organizations and they have safe and healthy working conditions.

ContactMonkey allows for you to measure employee satisfaction ratings through Employee Net Promoter Scores that you can gather through quick rating scales inserted in company emails or newsletters.

Image of employee net promoter score (eNPS) scale used for measuring employee engagement.

How Exemplis Improved Their Internal Communications with ContactMonkey

Exemplis, an office-seating manufacturer in California, wasn’t sure whether their employees were opening their emails, let alone reading them. Now, they know with certainty that both of those things are happening in spades.

Since partnering with ContactMonkey to improve their employee messaging, Exemplis boosted its open rate to 70% and their click-through rate to a whopping 30%.

The average email open and click-through rates for a manufacturing company are 23% and 9.3%, respectively.

Read the full Exemplis case study to learn more about how ContactMonkey helped Corey and her team.

Improving Engagement Through Employee Feedback

Employee feedback helps those within your organization improve individually, and it helps your organization as a unit thrive.

Employee feedback surveys are still the best way to predict and change employee behaviour, making the surveys a must-have for any organization that wants its employees to grow to become as successful as possible and to stay with your organization.

Want to create employee-feedback channels that lead to measurable data you can use to improve your organization? Book your personalized demo of ContactMonkey today!

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