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6 types of employee feedback every organization should be collecting

6 types of employee feedback every organization should be collecting

Deskless employees across any company are aware of 100% of an organization’s front-line problems. That’s because they’re the ones who implement new strategies and processes from head office. They’re the ones who talk to customers on a daily basis. They’re a wealth of information – if you ask for it. 

When properly collected and acted upon, employee feedback has a huge ROI:

  • Employee feedback turns ineffective and time-wasting processes into seamless ones
  • Employee feedback turns top customer complaints or requests into business opportunities that improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue
  • Employee feedback turns disgruntled employees into highly engaged employees who consistently show up ready to perform

When it comes to gathering this upward feedback, there are so many different types you can collect. In this article, we’ll cover 6 types of employee feedback your company should be collecting.

Let’s dive in!

1. Employee experience feedback

According to Forbes, employee engagement is defined as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” To simplify that further, organizations can gauge engagement as whether or not employees show up to work and try. Employee engagement is driven by employee experience. And regardless of how engaged (or not) your front line employees are, it’s important to continuously collect feedback around the employee experience because: 

  1. There’s always room for improvement, and
  2. Things change

Take 2020 as a prime example of life and work never being constant. Things are bound to happen, whether it’s a global pandemic, or local policies that impact the workforce. Keeping a pulse on what your workforce feels about their experience at work ensures that you’re addressing engagement issues quickly, and keeping your workforce happy and productive. 

2. Feedback on management

In corporate offices, it’s likely that you’re running skip-level meetings. However this practice is less common for the deskless workforce. That being said, organizations should give their employees opportunities to provide feedback on their manager to higher-ups. Why? As the old adage goes, people leave managers, not companies.

Remember the Iceberg of Ignorance? Only 9% of middle management and 4% of executives  are aware of an organization’s problems. This includes bad supervisors. The best way to find out if your supervisors are fostering an engaging work environment is through offering your workers feedback channels to share concerns privately and without worry of ramifications. 

One thing to note: when you ask for feedback, it’s important that you don’t frame it in a way that makes supervisors feel like their job is on the line. Instead, approach it as a way to collect feedback for the purpose of improving the workplace for everyone, supervisors included.

3. Workplace protocols and process-oriented feedback

You want your stores or locations to be as efficient as possible, right? Well, while ideas and processes sound great on paper, they don’t always pan out in real life. That’s why it’s so important to collect feedback around protocols and processes from your employees.

A big piece of collecting this type of upward feedback is building psychological safety across your workforce so that they feel comfortable sharing their insights on what could make the company run smoother. Like with manager feedback, there can be a fear among frontline workers that their feedback will lead to repercussions. Fostering a feedback culture over time reiterates to your employees that they’re encouraged to safely share critical feedback. 

As you collect this employee feedback, you’ll be able to update inefficient processes and put together best practices that you can roll out to new and existing employees. You’ll also be able to update your onboarding programs to ensure that all new hires are following the most up-to-date training.

4. Health and safety concerns

To talk about health and safety, we need to first talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, motivation comes from fulfilling five basic human needs:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Image via Wikipedia

  1. Physiological needs 
  2. Safety
  3. Love and belonging
  4. Esteem
  5. Self-actualization

Let’s focus on the second tier: safety. Safety is a basic need. It’s perfectly normal for employees to want to feel safe at their workplace. When feelings of safety are high, it increases overall employee engagement. Safety concerns can differ from industry to industry – and even from location to location. It might include: 

  • Trepidation around ongoing cleaning/safety protocols (especially regarding COVID)
  • Safety concerns workers have around workings shifts or opening/closing locations alone
  • Ideas on how to navigate natural disasters or other emergencies, especially in regions prone to hurricanes or tornadoes   

That’s why it’s important to collect health and safety concerns across all of your locations on a frequent basis. Another crucial piece of gathering health and safety feedback is to remain open and welcoming to any and all feedback – this is another type of feedback that requires a lot of psychological safety to ensure your workforce feels able to share their safety concerns without fear of repercussion. But it’s worth it: the sooner you get your staff feeling safe and confident, the faster they’ll be motivated to thrive.  

5. Knowledge gaps

As a company, you’re likely introducing new products or services throughout the year. While your product or R&D team is very aware of what this new thing does, the same shouldn’t be assumed about your frontline workers. 

As the face of the company, it’s important that this segment of your workforce is equipped with the knowledge and training to assist and advise customers. This is even more important in today’s omnichannel approach, especially in retail, foodservice, and hospitality, where guests and customers are coming into locations armed with a lot of information. Nudge COO Jordan Ekers puts it best in an interview with Authority Magazine: 

“Every time an associate has to interact with a customer, that associate has to have more information, more inspiration, and to be more of a brand advocate than the customers themselves. And that’s difficult in these times because customers have access to so much information that they’re often walking into a location with more knowledge than an associate. And we as consumers have all experienced this. That is completely broken and causing a fundamental shift where brands are investing more in their people.”

That’s why companies need to consistently collect employee feedback to identify knowledge gaps in the workplace. If you have the right digital communication platform in place, these knowledge gaps can be identified via quizzes and surveys, but asking your employees what information they need is also a great way to identify problem areas. After all, when your employees feel supported, and when they have the information needed to successfully serve customers, everyone wins.  

6. Customer insights

Frontline employees have the most exposure to your customers. They’re the ones answering questions, listening to real-time feedback, and seeing how customers or guests interact with your brand. This information is solid gold. This is the intel that can improve your CX and drive sales through better insight on:  

  • The products customers are looking for
  • The processes or rules customers are frustrated with (i.e. hours of operation, return policies, etc)
  • What customers love about your company and what excites them most about it

This type of feedback, more than any other type, requires a real-time approach. Here’s another place where a digital communication app can come in really handy – ideally employees can log feedback, customer insights, or other ideas right from their phones, as soon as they happen. If you ask them to hold on to these ideas until after their shift, they’ll likely forget – and in some cases, it might be too late to act on the feedback. 

Deskless employees are the face of your company. As a result, it’s important that organizations make the time to listen to their employees and collect a wide range of feedback to improve your employee experience, workplace, and customer/guest experience – and drive better business outcomes as a result.

A brief guide to upward feedback (and why deskless organizations struggle to get it)

A brief guide to upward feedback (and why deskless organizations struggle to get it)

Upward feedback is essential to any organization. After all, for any relationship to succeed, two-way communication needs to occur. Both individuals should be able to share feedback, listen, and change their actions and behaviors to continue to improve the relationship for both parties. 

The same goes for companies. According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report, employee experience is becoming more and more important for the new working generation. What better way to improve your employee experience than by talking to your employees?

Regardless of your organization’s size, it’s important that you not only deliver top-down feedback, but rather spend time collecting and listening to upward feedback from your employees.

When it comes to collecting upward feedback, there are a lot of challenges that prevent deskless organizations from doing it effectively. Let’s walk through the importance of upward feedback and common hurdles that deskless organizations face.

What is upward feedback? 

Upward feedback is feedback that’s given or received from the bottom-up – from your employees to head office. It’s important that managers and higher-ups consistently have a pulse on the good, the bad, and the ugly. The best way to do that is through upward feedback.

Companies that prioritize upward feedback see a lot of benefits:

  • Iceberg of Ignorance | NudgeThey can address changing customer needs as they come up from the very people who talk to your customers the most
  • They empower employees to drive business outcomes by understanding what motivates them most
  • They become employers-of-choice by fostering a listening culture where employees feel safe sharing ideas
  • They avoid unnecessary turnover from disgruntled or disengaged employees by understanding the problems they face and taking action to resolve those issues

In other words: listening to what your employees have to say matters.

In fact, according to the iceberg of ignorance, only 4% of an organization’s front-line problems are known by top executives, 9% by middle management, 74% by team leads, and 100% by employees. So, if your company’s looking to better understand where you can improve and create a workplace culture that retains employees, it’s time to get more upward feedback!

The challenges of collecting upward feedback in deskless industries

Collecting employee feedback is hard in any organization, but it’s particularly challenging in frontline and deskless organizations. Here are a few of the hurdles that face deskless organizations when collecting upward feedback:

Psychological safety is low

Originally coined by Amy Edmondson, psychological safety is a “sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up.” Ultimately, this means that employees feel safe to share feedback, ideas, or general comments without fear of repercussions.

When psychological safety is low, it’s hard for employees to engage in meaningful conversation, especially ones where they’re expected to share constructive feedback with people higher up. For employees to share their honest thoughts with supervisors or upper management, they need to feel safe to do so.

For upper management, creating that safe space can be even harder because they don’t get to build rapport and trust on the job every day. This poses a real challenge for deskless workforces when it comes to upward feedback. If you can’t create a psychologically safe space, it will be virtually impossible to receive helpful and honest feedback.

Fractured communication between regions

When you get large enough to have stores in multiple regions, it makes things harder to standardize across the organization, especially when it comes to feedback. Not to mention the feedback you get back will likely be different from region to region.

It’s also difficult to maintain timelines for collecting feedback from region to region, especially when you look at how fast each store, region, or floor supervisor works. If one store shares feedback two months prior to another store, then your team will likely delay making any meaningful change for at least two months. And if an organization is lacking standardized procedures across various regions, that leads to misaligned feedback. 

Lack of focus on formal upward feedback channels

When you work in a deskbound organization, there are many formalities that are put into place with a focus on exchanging feedback, like one-on-one meetings, 360 degree reviews, and quarterly or annual performance reviews. There are countless opportunities available for these deskbound employees to receive and share feedback.

This same luxury isn’t extended to deskless employees. Whether they’re full or part-time employees, there are rarely opportunities granted for these front line workers to share feedback with store managers and corporate. 

Less tech in place (especially non-BYOD workplaces)

The fastest way to request and collect feedback is no longer pen and paper (surprise, surprise!). For deskbound employees, there’s plenty of tech to harvest feedback beyond the meetings and reviews we mentioned above. With deskless workforces, it’s more tricky. Some organizations use digital communication platforms (like Nudge!) with a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. However, without these tools and policies in place, employees are no longer sharing feedback during work hours when their experiences and memories are fresh. 

Difficulties reviewing upward feedback at scale

Deskless worker industries have some of the highest turnover rates. With such high turnover rates, it’s important that feedback is actioned as soon as possible. But with larger deskless organizations with thousands – or even hundreds of thousands – of employees, it becomes harder and harder to not only collect feedback, but distil it down into actionable chunks of information. 

For deskless organizations to thrive, two-way communication must occur frequently. Employees must be able to share feedback with head office, and organizations should facilitate safe spaces where feedback is encouraged. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s easy for deskless organizations to make feedback mistakes and come up against hurdles. However, it’s worthwhile to put the processes and tools in place to overcome these challenges in order to empower and engage your deskless workforce. More on that soon….