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3 Ways to Get and Encourage Employee Feedback

Top-down management styles are becoming a thing of the past as employees–and especially millennials–want to feel like they can bring their whole selves to work. The modern workforce also likes having a say in their company’s decisions. To do that, leaders need to encourage employee feedback.

At Dotcom Distribution, I’ve found doing these three things builds community and helps everyone feel like their voice matters.

Host feedback lunches.

It’s important to me that I know the people in each of our departments, from those working in operations in our warehouse to our marketing office. Taking the time to learn about who they are and what they think is or isn’t working has been key to our success.

One way I do this is by having a feedback lunch each month with my employees from different departments. I always start the lunch with “I give you food, you give me feedback.” This usually puts everyone at ease. In these lunches, everyone goes around the room to share:

  • An interesting fact about themselves, such as if they just had a new baby or are a exploring a hobby.
  • One thing they like about the company.
  • One thing they’d like to see improved.

Allow for anonymous feedback.

It’s no secret that sometimes employees don’t feel comfortable sharing feedback face to face, so giving employees a way to submit anonymous feedback is important for uncovering issues they may not otherwise share.

As a leader, if you’re not aware of an issue, you can’t fix it and then it festers. At Dotcom Distribution, we use software called Officevibe that allows employees to submit anonymous feedback. WorkTango also offers employee voice surveys.

The next step is acknowledging that you’ve heard the comments, because it’s not enough to give employees a way to share their concerns if you don’t address them. We address all submissions in our quarterly company-wide town hall meetings, where all the employees meet and the management presents and answers questions about anything and everything Dotcom. This helps our employees know we’re listening. I also do my best to respond to all feedback.

Keep a communication channel always open.

Besides carving out regular face time with leadership that allows employees to share their thoughts and experiences, as well as offering anonymous feedback options, regular communication is vital.

Apps can cut through the email clutter and make it easier for your team to connect in real time. We use Slack to communicate internally, and we maintain a “General” channel that is open to all employees to share and contribute. The General channel has essentially replaced our internal newsletter, as everyone gets live updates on what’s happening in each other’s lives, and can comment or react in real-time. This helps employees feel connected and creates a culture where employees feel safe sharing their whole selves.

Getting to know your employees and giving them plenty of opportunity to share their feedback will go a long way towards attracting and retaining the best talent, and help build a company culture where people feel like their voice is important.

Originally published on Inc.com