We live in a feedback generation. Every time you send out a question via social media, you will get instantaneous answers. If you see a movie, you can rate it right there in the theatre on your phone — as soon as the lights go up, of course. If you read a book, you can communicate directly with the author on Twitter to tell them what you thought. It’s no surprise then that employees want this fast, frequent feedback with their supervisors.
64% of employees want their supervisor to check in with them — on things like opportunities to improve their work environment and their general happiness — at least every two weeks
65% of supervisors want to receive feedback from their employees on how they’re doing and opportunities to improve workplace satisfaction at least every two weeks
Employees and supervisors are on the same page. Their responses are nearly identical, and they show a resounding desire for frequent employee feedback. But there’s a reason employee reviews tend to happen only once or twice a year: they’re time-consuming and a massive undertaking. It doesn’t have to be this way.
What Leadership Qualities Help the Feedback Cycle?
Merely stating that you have an open-door policy won’t make you a feedback-supporting manager. Far too often employees are unwilling to speak their minds for fear — real or imagined — of consequences or because they think nothing will be done to remedy their issues. A manager that truly believes in frequent feedback should have ingrained leadership qualities of being a willing, communicative participant in the dialogue.
Feedback should be built into your company culture, showing that you’re truly open to comments and constructive criticism. And no, those yearly reviews are not even close to enough. If you want to be a true leader, you must respond to employee feedback much more quickly than once a year to be effective.
How Can You Support Fast, Frequent Feedback?
Get those massive, 1-to-5 ranking, yearly review packets out of your head, for starters. Encouraging feedback can be much more simple and even creative than that, and this way it’s even more likely to achieve results. Think of three keywords to build into your feedback culture: Short, Simple, and Flexible.
Short: Because you don’t have to encompass an entire year’s worth of feedback, these new surveys can keep it snappy. If you want to send a feedback survey daily, it can be one question — say, ranking your happiness from 1 to 10 or stating one thing you’re proud of that you accomplished today. Weekly or biweekly surveys should top out at two or three questions.
Simple: If the survey is going to be short, it still has to mean something. Though your questions can be creative — if you were to imagine the company as an animal, what would it be? — but they can’t be complex. If you can see that difference, you are already halfway there. Employees shouldn’t have to think over their answers for an hour because, frankly, they won’t. And then your data is meaningless.
Flexible: Employees crave flexibility when it comes to their work environment and schedule, and the same goes here. They should have time options to respond and, even better, make the survey such so that they can answer it on a mobile device on their commute or at lunch.
Constant and consistent feedback is the backbone of a successful organization, so your company needs to take steps to build a culture where that is possible.