When it comes to feedback, it's employee-first or nothing


Employee-first feedback is more important than ever.

We speak to managers every day, and they all say the same thing. The traditional ways of surveying employees and holding appraisals have gone the way of the dodo.

Managers are tired of getting their employees to submit infrequent feedback as part of rigid forms. This offers very little value to anyone. It also causes apathy and disengagement to spread among employees who would prefer to be treated as individuals. 

If a committee brainstorms in the dark, will anyone hear a sound?

Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse notes that data collected from engagement surveys is often ‘hoarded by the senior leadership and a committee is formed to brainstorm ways to improve engagement’.

Kruse's sarcasm shows in the word 'brainstorm'. Often these ideas never see the light of day. Or, by the time the ideas are introduced, the situation has changed so much that the results of the brainstorm are no longer relevant.

Although it's important that organisations visibility of their workforce’s feedback, this is often to the detriment of line managers. Correlations identified at an organisational level may not be relevant to all managers. Organisations should therefore assign learning or training resource to the part of the organisation that needs it most.  

Start with the employee's relationship with their manager

Withholding feedback from line managers is a big mistake. Line managers are charged with supporting the individual needs of each employee, so they should receive the information first. They'll be the most likely to act on that employee-first feedback, after all.

We also believe that employees should be given immediate insight on how they're doing at work. With this insight, they can take ownership of their development. Quantitative insight is less timely when it's filtered through HR first. Tools like Motivii can help employees keep a running record of how they're doing over time.

It's all about tapping into the individual's motivation to progress and and achieve. That can only come about when employees are equipped with the relevant tools and technologies to become more conscious of their performance and attitude to work (see our previous article on value exchange). 

How to gather employee-first feedback

When employees give their feedback weekly - not just to HR but also to direct line managers - problem areas can be quickly identified and addressed before they become bigger issues.

A combination of anonymous and named feedback empowers managers across the organisation to better understand their teams, make quick decisions to improve motivation and, ultimately, become better managers.

Employee-first feedback is the only way to find out what's really going on at your organisation. And the only way to affect real change. So why do anything else?

By Alan Wanders, Growth Manager at Motivii

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