When things are bad or the culture goes sour, oftentimes, employees feel helpless at their organization. They think management doesn’t care about the opinions of the little guys and that these higher-ups are just looking out for themselves. And this top-down leadership style is the source of the great divide — the one between management and employees. Management comes up with an idea and employees are just expected to follow suit.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It turns out that employees do, in fact, have the ability to drive engagement and positive change at their organization. And it starts with giving your workforce a voice through employee engagement surveys.
Engagement Surveys Open Up Communication Channels
When you hear about employee engagement surveys, you think about those 50-question surveys that should’ve gone the way of the dinosaurs. But think about this: what good do those really do when they assess employee sentiment only once or maybe even — gasp — twice a year?
This is where pulsing surveys come into play. Just like a heartbeat is an indicator of a person’s health, pulsing surveys do just the same for organizations. They help management uncover trends and nip problems in the bud because these surveys are frequent and come in every week or every other week.
What About Suggestion Boxes?
No. Just no. These boxes are only good for collecting dust. In today’s digital world, does it even make sense for employees to write an idea on a piece of paper and slip it into a dark abyss known as a suggestion box?
And just because we’re not on working hours, it doesn’t mean our brains shut off. Ideas are constantly ticking, so don’t keep employees waiting until they get back to work to slip their idea into the box. Give them a digital way to do so — and keep it anonymous to eliminate any biases.
Why Do Organizations Need Employee Feedback?
As tough as this may be to digest, management isn’t always in touch with employees. The higher up you go on the corporate ladder, the more removed you are from employees on the front line. And no one’s to blame for that because it’s natural. Just ask the Proximity Principle.
Because most managers and C-suite executives are out of touch, they need a way to stay in the loop. But wait, it needs to be a two-way street because employees also want to contribute to their organization’s success. They’re the ones in the trenches, abiding by the processes that management has set upon them. They’re the ones who know whether these processes are working or not.
In the business world, ignorance isn’t really a bliss. Organizational leaders need to know if their processes are efficient, if their star employee is burning out, or if the new PTO policy is reasonable.
Bringing Democracy Into the Workplace
Countries strive for democracy for a reason. So why aren’t companies doing the same? To add another layer to employee feedback, organizations should consider implementing a democracy system into their engagement strategy.
Now how would one do that? Easy. When everything’s digital and easily accessible to all employees, allow them to "upvote" an idea or feedback. If one employee is feeling a certain way about a new company policy, there’s a good chance that a few others share that sentiment. Or maybe an employee thought up an innovative idea that will encourage team bonding. With this voting system, employees can bring such feedback and ideas to management’s attention. Because after all, you can easily skim over one idea, but if it’s backed by a quarter of your organization, you know it’s something that needs to be addressed immediately.
When employees have a voice and management not only listens but also takes action, that’s when you know you have an employee-driven culture. In the end, employees are your organization’s biggest asset. In order to become successful and beat out the competition, companies need employees to perform their best. When employees’ needs are met, nothing blocks them from producing. They’re satisfied with their work environment, and you’ll be able to retain star employees for the long haul.