Who knows better than the employees how you can help them excel in their positions and what changes your company should make to foster engagement and success? Here are five ways to tweak how you collect and incorporate feedback into your business plan.
Updating Feedback Collection Strategies
You can almost hear the collective groan whenever your company sends out its yearly employee survey email. It’s not that employees don’t want to offer their feedback, but rather that a long-winded annual survey doesn’t reassure anyone that their compliments and criticisms will have any real power. It’s time to move past the private culture of suggestion boxes and into timely transparency that helps employees find their voice.
Let’s say you just had a training seminar at work and want to gauge how it went so you can structure future training conferences based on the results. Asking participating employees aloudwhile the presenter is still in the room likely won’t yield the most honest responses, but it would be timelier than sending out a survey later. How should you proceed? Embedding a live word cloud generator at the end of the training PowerPoint would allow employees to use their smartphones to answer questions like “How would you describe today’s training in one word?” Employees still enjoy a measure of anonymity, but can see their colleague’s answers in real-time in a way that a suggestion box will never allow. Your business can screenshot this data and use it to streamline future events or open the lines of conversation.
Have Employees Set Goals
As Business speaker Michael Kerr says, “If your boss or employer doesn’t care about your ideas or opinions, they probably don’t care much about you.” You want to send employees the opposite signal. Don’t just pay your employees lip service; ask them to write down goals for themselves, their department and the company. Collect these goals and refer to them several times throughout the year. Collect goals from everyone, including entry-level hires up through senior management, and use them as physical guideposts for redefining your business plan.
Re-Define Roles as You Go
Part of any solid business plan involves divvying up duties between positions and departments. As a company grows, many of these distinctions can become a gray area. While you’re busy with the big picture, employees could be struggling with outdated job duties, a lack of delegation and simmering resentment at the inefficiency of it all. When you’re revisiting the organization chart of authority at your company, take the time to directly incorporate employee feedback on their roles. This will help managers give the right assignments to the right people, and can help expand or shrink employees’ job roles as needed. Bonus: When it comes time to hire, it will be a breeze to update job descriptions to accurately reflect roles and skills.
Diffuse Responsibility Outside of HR
If your company is struggling with company culture and employee engagement, it’s easy to point fingers. According to Deloitte University Press, only 23 percent of organizations hold their CEOs accountable for building a diverse and inclusive environment. Responsibility often falls on the Human Resources department. While HR is a key part of following your company’s business plan, it takes more than one department to put employee feedback into action. Make sure your company is making changes at every level of organization with regards to employee commentary and not depending on HR to blaze the trail. Employees will likely notice their feedback making an impact if their managers take it seriously, and their managers’ managers, and so on.
Update Your Working Business Plan
Get used to updating your company’s working business plan in real time. Bill Rosenthal, the CEO of Communispond, says that “the plan must include ways to show employees [that] their wellbeing aligns with that of the company.” Employee engagement isn’t an afterthought; it should be literally written into your plan of action. Don’t be afraid to update expectations and methods based on tried-and-true results and employee feedback. Keep a working copy of your company’s business plan in a central portal so employees can access it in all its iterations. Thinking of a business plan as a set-in-stone document that served primarily to launch the company will only make employees feel like their feedback can’t drive real change within the organization.
Showing employees that your business plan is a dynamic collection of ideas that are always open to useful change will make them more likely to participate in a meaningful way. It’s your job to collect timely feedback using transparent methods and work hard to put it into action!
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