Where, When and How Should Companies Implement Employee Feedback Loops?
In many ways that makes sense, right? Most would not argue with the proposition that “the customer is king” or that “the customer comes first.” However, it is possible to derive real competitive advantage from spending more time focusing on employee feedback loops.
Where to deploy employee feedback loops
The most important employee feedback loops are those that capture insights from front-line employees. In other words, focus on the employees with the greatest number of touch points with customers. Those touchpoints are where you will uncover the greatest value for your organization. Often, it is the employees on the front lines who have the best ideas of how to change corporate practices to make them more efficient.
When to deploy employee feedback loops
There is, of course, never a “wrong” time to deploy employee feedback loops. However, they are most effectively deployed when there seems to be a mismatch between what customers are saying and what you are actually experiencing as a company. This also makes it much easier to get employee “buy-in” for these feedback loops – they can see a direct relationship between cause and effect.
For example, what if all the customer feedback you’re receiving seems to be very positive but you’re not seeing any lift in your sales? You’re hearing from a lot of satisfied customers via social media… You’re getting a lot of positive feedback via email and customer survey forms… People seem to have a positive perception of your brand. Yet, somehow, sales never seem to increase as fast as you would like. With the addition of an employee feedback loop, you might be able to detect the reasons for this discrepancy.
How to deploy employee feedback loops
Obviously, you want to make employee feedback loops as easy to manage as possible. The goal is to get actionable content that is specifically tied to your business processes. So, instead of general feedback about the organization, it’s far more effective to drill down on specific business units and specific business processes.
As part of the employee feedback loop, you also want to ensure that you are capturing potential nuances and complexities. Thus, it’s often better to present at least one open-ended question where employees can really explain what’s going on.
The takeaway? The time to build employee feedback loops is when traditional customer feedback loops aren’t telling you the whole story. If customers are raving about your products and are giving you 5-star reviews on Yelp, yet sales are continuing to tumble, there’s something missing. And that something missing might just be the voice of your employees. Listen to them, and you can drive future business success.
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Quote of the Day:
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Ken Blanchard