YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about how they get leadership evaluations from their employess. Here are their answers.
What tools and systems do you have for employees to give feedback to leadership?
1. An open-door policy
One great way to encourage feedback is by adopting an open-door policy. Unless I’m dealing with client-related concerns, my team knows my door is always open. Keeping your door open welcomes discussion and builds an environment where employees will feel confident expressing their thoughts and ideas.
2. Company walks and open access to leadership
We have an informal communication process that allows direct access to leadership whenever there is feedback to be given. This could be done during the company walk, where leadership often comes along to encourage these conversations. However, for virtual staff who want to provide feedback, there are tools like Skype, email and phone calls. All channels are welcomed by leadership.
3. Spontaneous walkabouts
There’s nothing like a stroll through the business to allow time for spontaneous conversations with staff. The have work issues on their mind and you can present yourself as genuinely curious about how they are doing — which one assumes you are, anyway. While this stroll looks casual, it has a serious purpose, so put on your listening ears and leave it at that. Don’t offer judgment, just listen.
4. A suggestion box
Our company culture is such that our employees feel comfortable, for the most part, coming directly to leadership with any feedback they have. I have an open door policy — all are welcome to talk to me nearly any time I’m available. We also have an old-fashioned suggestion box, which is attached to the wall in our operations department, as another route. We have also employed anonymous surveys with success.
5. 15Five reports
Everyone on our team fills out a 15Five report every week, which allows us to ask questions that will be seen by other employees but also questions that are solely sent to the leadership team for honest feedback. We love 15Five (especially their new high-five feature) and it provides ample opportunity to give someone credit for helping out or simply doing something nice.
Something we instituted a little over a year ago was a virtual suggestion box with a free tool called SuggestionOx. The suggestions are completely anonymous unless the submitter wants to include their name. At minimum, we cover these suggestions in our quarterly retreat and discuss them with the entire team to get their thoughts. In most cases we take action on the suggestions.
7. TinyPulse Surveys
TinyPulse solicits frequent snippets of feedback as opposed to bombarding employees with one or two huge surveys each year. Having feedback spread out in this way allows leadership to receive timely and relevant insights from the team, letting each manager address problems and opportunities quickly. And the focus of one question instead of many usually yields much more honest, in-depth replies.
8. Know your company
We use a product called Know Your Company, very simple and inexpensive way to engage your employees without a heavy-handed mechanism. It works great and allows you to tailor the specific questions you ask.
9. Proactive questions
No tool can replace the benefits of a real conversation that you start with your employees. I make time to ask my employees about how things are going, what they are happy about and what they’d love changed. We also discuss their goals for their position at SkyBell, and also their personal goals. This creates safety and trust, and promotes the flow of feedback to leaders.
Our team recently adopted Slack for productivity management and a solid line of communication. However, it has also become a great center for employees to feed into an open-door policy where they can express their ideas, thoughts and feelings to management. Teams can create specific channels to chat within, and surveys can even be created within Slack to weigh engagement, happiness and so much more.
11. WeVue mobile platform
We utilize a mobile platform called WeVue to provide a system of communication for our geographically dispersed team. We also use it to facilitate team input and feedback on all sorts of decisions, from strategy development to selection of our holiday cards.
I didn’t know how to ask for feedback from my staff that didn’t put them in an awkward situation, so I hired Ron Gilbert from GilbertEMS to help with getting me the feedback I needed to help grow our company by learning to become a more effective leader. Ron and his team would conduct surveys and meetings with the staff, without me present, and get feedback I wouldn’t normally receive.
13. Open communication at a weekly company lunch
While we send out occasional surveys for employees to give feedback, leaving time for face-to-face communication each week is the most effective way to find out what’s going on with your people. Our weekly company lunch begins with questions from our employees and provides an opportunity for everyone to voice their comments and concerns on everything from the company to our leadership positions.
14. Management reviews
In our last round of performance reviews, we turned the tables and spent half of our time asking our staff to review us. We asked them tough questions, like “If you managed yourself, what would you do differently that we as managers aren’t currently doing?” It raised some eyebrows and made the team a little uncomfortable at first, but the questions spurred really valuable feedback.
Want more insight on performance management? See Employee Performance Management: Fact Vs. Hype.