“Change is the only constant and it is extremely essential to evolve and keep up with the changing trends and times. Every organization aims to be The Best Place To Work” in order to attract the right applicants and customers and to be able to carve a niche for themselves on the global map.

One of the things that organizations often do to reach the crux of any issue or stay updated with what exactly is happening/lacking in their organization is to make their employees take a quick or at times an elaborate survey. But what they fail to understand is that it is this survey that can also play a huge part in destroying the company culture that they have worked so hard for years to create.

The Senior Management is well aware that the best place to start is to ask its employees for feedback on what’s going well and what needs attention. These surveys are created with the best intentions ie: to motivate the employees, give them more importance, make them realize that their opinion matters and include them in decision making at work to some extent.  

 

But doing this can also have a domino effect and lead to the fall of any organization if not handled with care and clarity…

 

Employees spend a good amount of time filling out an engagement survey that at times fails to measure the actual reason for creating one. Employees are expected to spend precious time giving feedback at the cost of keeping them away from their productive work hours. After this kind of personal involvement and invested time, there are instances when the leaders are unable to address or act upon the concerns that their employees care about the most.

This inability may not seem as important to the leaders but it surely, slowly and steadily destroys the company’s culture. By asking someone for their opinion–whether it’s about work or even what they would like to eat for lunch only implies that you care. Unknowingly, a monstrous expectation is created hoping that some change will be brought about based on what was asked in the survey. At the very least, when you ask for feedback, you make an unspoken promise to acknowledge it.

When you as an organization do not act upon what your employees have suggested to make your company a better place to work, then you’re in big trouble as “You” are the most important hindrance they face or the biggest wall they need to break through. The company’s culture no longer remains what it was earlier. In fact, it gets much, much worse. The attitude of people changes almost instantly and lack of interest and animosity creeps in. “Why speak up if it won’t make a difference? Why invest in an organization that fails to acknowledge your presence or opinion?” These are some of the questions that instantly sprout in the minds of the employees. The engagement survey, that was meant to improve the culture, then takes a downslide

Many a time, employees who are asked to speak up don’t necessarily feel heard. So they tend to build an invisible wall between them and their employers. This industry standard of silence or the inability to fulfill the basic requirements most of the time breeds dangerous resentment. The Senior Management directly or indirectly, by mincing words signal to employees that their time isn’t valued and their feedback is worthless.

But it doesn’t have to be this way… not at all! Nowadays, companies of every size can make simple tweaks to the way they think about measuring the logistics and implementing the necessary changes

 

Here are 4 fundamental ways to ensure that your efforts to seek employee feedback don’t turn futile or backfire:

 

Always have a Plan B

In most cases and most employee feedback surveys that I have come across, whether they are outsourced or created in-house, have nothing but a set of run of the mill questions. Every organization has its own metric or benchmark to measure. So it only makes sense while deciding on survey items (or eliminating others), ask yourself- “Out of all this, what actually makes sense?” “Is it feasible, or doable?” “If it makes sense, how can it be achieved in the best possible way?” “How can we do this better in our own way?” and automatically you come up with the best possible solution most suited for the organization and its employees

 

Close the Loop – Appreciate and Acknowledge

When your employees take time to give their valuable feedback, thank them for it right away! Leaders who acknowledge the value of their team’s responses, share the high points with others and most importantly take the lead in working upon the suggestions to make their employees feel happy and make them come out of hibernation. Upon commitment, the employees are sure there will be a change for the better

 

Act – No matter how small the demand is

To gain the trust and faith of your team, it is important to take action on your team’s feedback even if it is in a minuscule way. Every time you make a positive change suggested by any employee, talk about it- at company gatherings, at team meetings, put up announcements or even send out an email/ a message on any company forum. Let your employees know that you have heard what they said and are doing something about it. Instead of focusing on what was missing, celebrate what good came out of it and then tell people what you’ve improved.

 

Feedback should be taken seriously

Just like how we all tend to take our breath for granted, we take employee surveys for granted and most of the time, dust off all the feedback under the carpet. Surveys are just one way to get valuable feedback…. Encourage your employees to come up with solutions to problems as they arise, and ask managers to do the same. Invite questions during meetings, foster open discussion in team meetings/ internal workshops and ask specific questions eg: “State two ways in which you can do your job better at our organization” and “What kind of help do you seek from the organization to be able to achieve it?” Wherever the feedback comes from, the power lies in connecting the chords and linking it to the source so that something fruitful actually comes out of this connection

 

Now, look within your own organization… Are you following these rules? If not, you’re at risk of falling into the trap of inaction. Brace yourself and gather all loose ends like a leading team. This is how you can improve your existing work culture in which your employees will feel safe, heard, valued & as a result- progress.