Honest employee feedback is crucial to building an environment that is conducive to high productivity. Most of us have been an employee at some point, and there is an appreciation for an honest environment where people can express their happiness and concern with the company. There are a few different ways that companies can encourage honest feedback, all of which are easy to implement.

Before deciding which avenue to utilize, it’s important to know what kind of business is being operated. The same strategy for a startup-marketing firm may not fit well for the established community bank. Evaluating and testing different procedures before implanting them company wide will eliminate obvious conflicts and allow for a smooth transition.

Meeting with Team Members

Having a regular meeting with individuals can support open lines of communications. If a problem begins to arise, it would be more likely a person will bring it up in the weekly meetings while the issue is still minor, allowing for a quick and efficient solution.

An example would be to begin weekly meetings with the small teams and review the tasks from the previous week. Begin by asking how everything is going and review the procedures and outcomes of the previous weeks happenings. After the week is discussed, game plan for the week ahead and make sure everyone is on the same page. After all is completed, ask the employees for feedback and change. This is a great opportunity to allow the team and managers to change and adjust while keeping honest feedback genuine. Nothing is worse then unproductive meetings because not only does it waste your time, it wastes company time and productive is greatly decreased.

Anonymous Surveys

Another great way to obtain honest employee feedback is to complete anonymous surveys. This allows a person to be 100% truthful and remove the fear of judgment since they information won’t be pinned to your name.

An example for this is in the state of Indiana, they have a top places to work ranking, and each year a survey is sent to gather data about the employees of the company. The information includes questions on work environment, all the way to benefits. Then after everything is tallied, they are ranked among other businesses in the state. This same method can work very well within a company because employees can as brutally honest as they desire while remaining anonymous.

Upper Management Showing Engagement

A final way that you can empower employees to give honest feedback is to have upper management and executive management engage with all employees. Breaking down the barrier between levels within an organization allows for a clean line of communication. Being able to walk into the office of managers and freely discuss issues or provide constructive criticism will only benefit the company as a whole.

All of these methods are great ways to entice honest employee feedback. As the old saying goes, you’re only as strong as the weakest link, and that holds true working with teams. There needs to be an avenue for everyone to provide constructive criticism and feedback that will benefit everyone. Of course these avenues should be closely monitored because if it becomes used for negative reasons, the company should adjust accordingly. Having honest employ feedback must be cared about and focused on for future success.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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