Four Classic Employee Feedback Tools: Pros and Cons

by Laura Troyani on Nov 25, 2014 8:30:00 AM

Employee FeedbackHere in your high-tech office, it might be hard to imagine what it’s like to not have a company email address, or a laptop, or an iPhone constantly at the ready. It’s hard to understand how a person gets through the day without putting the web to use to find or verify every last piece of information that comes up. But it happens.

The fact is, any company with a warehouse has a staff of people who do their jobs without these things. Lots of companies have roles which simply don’t rely on mobile devices as much as yours does. And every company, even in the most technologically savvy of situations, has that one guy who doesn’t trust it. (You know the one.)

So how do you reach them?

In a place that meets any of these criteria, there could be critical staff members whose attitudes and opinions are going unheard. We thought it might be helpful to understand the range of methods for collecting employee feedback to see which one is best for you. 

ONLINE SURVEYS

This is the easy one — the one you’re probably already doing and are the most capable of putting into action.

  • Pro: It’s efficient. It’s easy to implement, and it’s easy to gather back results. It also embraces anonymity.
  • Con: Most online survey tools make you program the survey digitally, which can take time. And, you're usually stuck tabulated the results yourself (TINYpulse is an exception to this).

OFFLINE SURVEYS

These take more time, whether surveys are printed up and distributed and collected later, or collected by way of a one-on-one surveys mediated by staff or by an outside survey company.

  • Pro: They’re effective for less digitally-savvy employees, or employees who can’t be reached through digital means.
  • Con: They’re inefficient and cumbersome. They require manual dispersion and collection, and results must often be re-entered into digital form for analysis.

SUGGESTION BOXES

This is one of the two more passive ways of collecting feedback. It involves putting out a box, telling everyone about it, periodically reminding them of it, and hoping for the best.

  • Pro: It encourages anonymous feedback, and its continued presence enables you to collect feedback even when not running a survey.
  • Con: It’s out in the open, so employees risk being noticed while putting something in the box and making anonymity questionable. Besides that, employees can’t always trust that the box is really being checked.

OPEN DOOR POLICIES

This is also a passive method, but it can also yield more personal and in-depth insights you might not be able to gain through survey questions.

  • Pro: It encourages open communication and sharing. It lets you tackle an issue right then and there.
  • Con: Employees might fear being honest about concerns in front of their supervisors. Sometimes it's a nice idea, but no one has the courage to be the first person knocking on the door. 

The one thing that makes all of these tactics is effective is action. If managers don’t act on the feedback they receive, regardless of how they get it, employees won’t continue giving feedback. It becomes a dead end. As always, be sure to do something with the information you get back. Without it, no survey method will do you any good.

 

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This post was written by Laura Troyani

Laura Troyani is a former member of the TINYteam. She's now the Founder & Editor of PlanBeyond, a one-stop shop for getting your end-of-life planning in order. Whether you need to explore last wills, hospice care, or estate taxes, you can trust PlanBeyond to quickly and easily answer all your questions.

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