How to run Ask Me Anythings at your frontline organization

How to run Ask Me Anythings at your frontline organization

Ask Me Anythings (AMAs) are a must at every organization – even frontline ones. After all, nobody likes being kept in the dark, least of all frontline employees. In fact, according to The Deskless Report, 40% of workers are hungry for more company updates. Your staff values transparency from management in nearly everything – including company successes, failures, and future plans.

This kind of transparency matters. In a recent study, Paychex found that 84.2% of employees were satisfied with their jobs when their employers were transparent, while only 54.4% claimed to be satisfied when employers were not transparent. 

This thirst for information is partially why Ask Me Anythings are becoming so popular among companies. Formerly the province of Reddit, Ask Me Anythings are being adopted by executive leadership as a means of having live, authentic conversations with their employees. Essentially, AMAs provide an opportunity for employees to submit questions to leadership in advance, and leadership provides candid, honest responses. 

The online nature of Ask Me Anythings makes it an excellent communication channel for frontline organizations whose workforce is scattered across different locations. It completely sidesteps the need to assemble employees in a single physical venue, and even offers opportunities to collect and even answer questions asynchronously, which works well for navigating various employee schedules and time zones. 

If you would like to explore the idea of running an Ask Me Anything, but haven’t ever run one before, don’t fret: we’ve tapped Brennan McEachran, CEO and co-founder of management support software platform Hypercontext (and avid AMA advocate) for a few insider tips!   

On to the tips!

1. Use a practical Ask Me Anything format

Consider your staff’s needs when deciding how the AMA will be conducted. Frontline employees are often shift workers, which means you need to be mindful of timing when collecting questions, and sharing the answers. 

Rather than collecting questions verbally, over email, or in a dedicated meeting, the more practical option might be to use a forum for staff to share their questions (psst… you can do that in Nudge!). 

When it comes to answering the questions, live-streaming the AMA may be convenient for office workers who have ready access to a laptop, but it will be much more difficult for frontline workers to participate. A recording might make more sense, or even having senior leadership answer the questions right in the forum, which makes it easy for staff to comment further or even refer back to the answers over time. 

2. Crowdsource top questions

McEachran advises, “If you have the right tools in place, you can collect questions and items to address during the Ask Me Anything prior to the actual meeting. Leading up to the AMA, your broader team can vote on what their most burning questions are for senior management.” 

Using a forum like we mentioned above means you can encourage other employees to comment on or upvote their favourite questions. This is a great way to ensure you’re answering the most popular questions, rather than only favoring those who feel more comfortable speaking up.

3. Make a plan 

“When it comes to running AMAs,” McEachran says, “it’s important that you use an agenda and stick to it. It’s easy for these conversations to go off-kilter, so you want to ensure that you’re using your time productively. Be sure to use a meeting agenda that everyone has access to prior to the AMA.”

Sharing an agenda in advance also prepares your staff for which questions your leadership team will answer. Be clear about why you’ve chosen those questions – i.e. they were upvoted the most, they had the most comments on them, they’re closely related to the company’s roadmap, etc. 

4. Allow for anonymity

“Give your team the opportunity to ask questions anonymously,” McEachran suggests. “It can be incredibly scary for frontline workers to bring up problems to upper management because they might fear being punished for bringing up concerns (that’s a whole other problem in itself). Remove as many barriers for feedback as possible.”

If you’re not keen to build anonymity into your Ask Me Anything, focus on building psychological safety with your team to help build rapport with your staff and alleviate any worries around repercussions. 

5. Create an Ask Me Anything policy document 

Just because Ask Me Anythings include the word “Anything,” doesn’t mean employees can say or do whatever they like. 

A policy document can help guide employees in how to best format their questions, and help them understand any topics or language that are off-limits. The document also lets you lay out expected standards of behavior. This is especially important considering that frontline employees may be working under a great deal of stress, and could see the AMA as an opportunity to vent their frustrations. 

6. Prep your leadership team

Don’t just brief the executive who will be running the Ask Me Anything. Brief the rest of the leadership team, as well. Every department head should know that they could be called upon to answer difficult or topical questions.  

Those who have never seen or run an AMA before would benefit from one or two coaching sessions so they can get used to how questions are presented, how to answer in a timely fashion, and the tone they should adopt when talking to employees. 

7. Follow up

Ask Me Anythings usually have a finite end time, and there isn’t always time to address all of the questions. Be clear about how and when leftover questions will be answered, and any next steps that will be taken on the insights provided. 

After the event, post updates on issues and action items that were discussed during the AMA so that employees can see the company is making progress. If you don’t post these kinds of follow ups, the employees may think that any promises made during the AMA are mere lip service, which will lower morale and reduce trust in management.

Ask Me Anythings can be an effective way for company management to engage with a deskless workforce at scale. It establishes a clear line of communication that executives can use to keep employees up-to-date on important issues and gives you insight into what’s important to your people. Making AMAs work for your frontline organization just needs a bit extra planning – and the right tools. 

6 Signs your feedback loops are falling off the rails

6 Signs your feedback loops are falling off the rails

Feedback loops are a well-loved tactic for advocating a culture of improvement and empowerment among frontline workers. But what happens when the feedback loops you have in place stop being effective? Sometimes organizations forget that these loops can’t simply be a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution. You must actively maintain these channels and manage them to ensure things flow. 

While you may have done the work to put feedback loops in place, things can sometimes go awry. Things can go wrong when trying to capture feedback from your frontline employees. 

When feedback loops fall off the rails, it can disrupt team dynamics and the trust you’ve built. It can lead to problems with employee engagement and psychological safety, which can take time to regain. And keeping an eye out for warning signs is just as important as having a way to resolve the situation when it happens.  

Here are 6 signs that your feedback loop has hit a snag and how to get unstuck.

1. The feedback you’re receiving is too vague

Clarity and action are the name of the game: when it comes to feedback, unclear feedback can be worse than none at all. It can lead to miscommunications, reinterpretations, and misused energy. But vague feedback can often be traced back to problems with the feedback loop – from overly vague questions to a lack of psychological safety. 

Here are a few ways to remedy an overly general feedback loop:

  • If you receive vague feedback from an employee, work with their floor manager to ask for more details. Get specific when you give feedback and ask for that specificity in return. 
  • Encourage a “radical candor” approach with direct, clear language. Lead by example with concise, direct language when sharing communications or updates with your workforce 
  • Diversify your approach and offer different avenues for feedback, including open forums as well as anonymous and secure employee input feedback channels. 
  • Connect feedback to business outcomes. Showing your employees through action that their feedback has yielded a great outcome, and they’ll be more likely to share in the future.  

2. Feedback is coming in from outside of designated channels

What happens when an employee has feedback but isn’t sure how to report it? Or if they are not using the tools in place to share thoughts or ideas? The solution comes down to education. Employees can’t provide feedback if they don’t know where to go. And if they use a non-designated channel, you run the risk of losing vital information in the mix. 

Don’t assume all your employees know how and where to give feedback. Find ways to share your channels consistently and push the systems you have in place. Be clear and direct about the type of feedback you want. Coupling that with a digital communication tool (we know a great one!) can keep all your communication channels in one place and promote a culture of feedback with your staff. 

3. Feedback is all the same 

If you keep receiving the same feedback over and over from your employees, it’s not them. It’s you. Chances are there is a blind spot, or programs and processes in place may not be working to your advantage. If you receive the same feedback time and again from your team, it could mean one of three things: 

  • There are significant issues that need addressing
  • You’re not processing feedback properly, and crucial feedback is going unactioned
  • There may be some groupthink or hive mind inadvertently happening, and employees are hesitant to share their dissenting views 

And that last one is particularly troubling. When combating employee groupthink, diversity may be the answer. Broadening your feedback channels and finding creative solutions can lead to better business decisions. Strong D&I efforts in the workplace foster high levels of engagement and a strong sense of belonging, and inclusive teams reportedly make better decisions 87% of the time. Bringing in different voices to help make decisions can help you avoid costly mistakes and smartly identify missed opportunities. 

4. Feedback is getting lost, forgotten, or ignored

Now let’s go back to the issue we mentioned above – not processing feedback properly. Feedback loops are only as effective as the action you take afterward. Action is as vital as collecting the information itself. Inaction around collected information is a miss at the head office level and demonstrates a break in the process. If your organization doesn’t have the tools to capture and act on shared feedback, you risk alienating team members – not to mention miss out on valuable ideas that could drive better business outcomes. Plus, companies that collect and act on feedback are more likely to retain their employees. 

And we know – processing feedback when you have hundreds of thousands of frontline employees can seem daunting. But these tips on acting on feedback at scale can help!  

5. Your feedback flow is uneven…

Certain feedback loops you promote may function better than others. Some may bring great feedback, while others…not so much. But if you’re not collecting inputs from various sources, you’re not getting a complete picture. 

Here, we share different types of feedback that you should be collecting. If you find that you’re receiving one kind of feedback most often (such as manager performance) and not enough of others (like knowledge sharing), then that’s your cue to intervene. Go deep into these areas, and use these tips on tracking and improving employee feedback programs on an ongoing basis. 

6. …or feedback dries up altogether

Despite having these multiple channels in place, what happens when feedback stops coming in at a steady pace? 

When the feedback stream stops flowing, there isn’t enough information for you, as a leader, to use to create new inputs for your processes. Without insight into your team,  you won’t have a way of knowing what is and isn’t working. You will have a harder time reporting back about programs or finding ways to improve customer service. Not only does your team stall, but on a larger scale, your company’s overall growth may take a hit. 

With deskless employees, finding ways to receive feedback continually is critical. They are the source of truth for an organization’s frontline problems. They’re your direct line into what’s working and what isn’t. Avoid losing touch with this vital resource. 

If you find your well of feedback running dry, go back to the source. Whether it’s a widespread drought or specific channels that have stopped flowing, create more touchpoints with your employees, and be creative. Use mechanisms like surveys, Ask Me Anythings (AMAs), and build more face-to-face time into your days. 

If that doesn’t help, look at the feedback culture you have in place. After all, you can’t have a strong feedback loop without having trust in place, and vice versa. When psychological safety is failing in a work environment, employees will believe there that they will face repercussions for providing upward feedback, voicing opposition, or making a minor error at work. As Stanford University instructor and executive coach Laura Delizonna, PhD., shares in a Q&A, “Frontline workers aren’t stupid. They’re not going to say things that are going to be poorly received or have negative consequences for them. They’ll stay silent.” 

One final tip: collecting feedback is a daily responsibility. Avoid creating a culture where you only collect feedback once a year. In fact, according to one study, 58% of employees want more frequent employee engagement surveys. 

When you open up opportunities for feedback, upward or otherwise, to all your employees, your chances of increased profitability and retention grow. But leaders must focus on making both giving and receiving feedback easier through technology and processes that encourage real-time sharing, ease of use, and closing the loop. 

6 reasons employee recognition is good for business

6 reasons employee recognition is good for business

Across all industries, frontline and deskless workers have faced many challenges in the last two years. Organizations are struggling with burnout, a lack of connection, and abysmal morale, with many workers choosing to leave their jobs in hopes of finding more fulfillment and growth elsewhere. 

As the great resignation takes hold and the competition for talent continues to mount, it’s become exceedingly vital for organizations to show how they value their employees.

And recognition tops the charts as the number one ask from employees in the post-pandemic return to work. Finding ways to weave a robust employee recognition program into your organization’s day-to-day is way more than just an HR play. It can positively impact your culture and, by extension, on the engagement and retention of key players – not to mention, of course, your bottom line. 

A quick primer on employee recognition: it comes in many forms but generally refers to how an organization actively applauds its employees’ work. Companies equipped with strong recognition programs are 12x more likely to see strong business outcomes. Just be sure to pay attention to who is doing the recognition. A Deloitte study of 16,000 employees revealed that 44% of employees value recognition the most from leaders above their direct supervisor. 

Let’s take a look at how you can build strong employee recognition programs that result in strong business outcomes. Here are 6 reasons employee recognition is good for business: 

1. Recognition drives engagement (and excellence!)

Employee recognition forms part of the bedrock of company culture that places exceptionalism and excellence at its peak; it helps foster appreciation and can empower each employee to do their best. Recognition fortifies relationships and provides team members with a clear purpose aligned to achievable company goals. 

Companies that promote a culture of excellence can trace their efforts back to higher retention levels, culture, and employee engagement and satisfaction. It connects your people and culture to a shared purpose. Companies that provide clear feedback and recognition also see positive, measurable impacts on employee engagement levels. The SHRM/Workhuman Employee Recognition study, for example, found that a whopping 84% of respondents said recognition positively impacted engagement. 

2. Recognition fosters employee retention

As we already mentioned, the labor crisis has left organizations struggling to retain loyal staff – and employee recognition is proven to be a major driver of retention. Why? Workers celebrated by their leaders are more likely to stay at an organization for the long term. Nearly 91% of employees say that a strong culture of recognition makes a company an attractive place to work. 

It even transcends financial motivations: employee recognition is cited as one of the top non-monetary factors for employee retention. One study even found that Companies with recognition programs had 31% less voluntary turnover than those without. Those numbers are hard to argue with. 

3. Recognition promotes productivity

Appreciation pays dividends. Recognition is instrumental in boosting employee engagement at an individual level, but it can also increase productivity, which drives business outcomes and can be tied to higher retention levels. 

How? What behavior gets recognized gets repeated. One study found that 92% of employees are more likely to repeat activities they receive recognition for. And 90% of employees say that some form of appreciation motivates them to put more effort in at work. And in companies that employ internal communication tools or have an employee recognition program, both employee productivity and performance are seen to be 14% higher

In other words: an employee recognition program is a great way to encourage (and scale!) the behavior you want to see – and discourage the behavior you don’t want to see. 

4. Recognition nurtures trust 

By recognizing your employees, you can help build trust with them – you can help them see that their company values both them and their contributions. And depending on the type of positive feedback you offer, you may increase trust in various business areas. For example, encouraging peer-to-peer recognition can lead to higher feelings of belonging, a more robust culture, and a 26% increase in engagement scores.

Why does this matter? Trust and efficacy go hand-in-hand. High levels of organizational trust and in the company as a whole can be linked to profitability. Trust is also a key component of employer branding, essential in this new age of talent search and retention. 

5. Recognition increases customer satisfaction (and profitability!)

Frontline employee recognition doesn’t just stay in the ranks of your employees. It trickles down to many other areas of the company and, in some cases, can have a direct impact on your customer experience. Here’s an example: By weaving recognition efforts and programs into day-to-day operations, The Walt Disney World Resort saw a 15% increase in staff satisfaction. Not only did that rise impact engagement, the results correlated with higher-than-average guest satisfaction scores at the resort. 

Here’s another one: U.S.-based superstore chain Meijer found that increasing employee recognition from twice a month to twice a week increased customer satisfaction by 5%. The same study found that the higher the employee recognition rates went, the  higher customer satisfaction was overall. 

Alas, the opposite is true, too. Less appreciation leads to lower engagement levels, and according to Gallup, disengaged employees have a negative impact on profitability. They tend to exhibit 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and, for the companies who employ them, 15% lower profitability. In dollars, that’s equal to around 34% of a disengaged employee’s yearly salary, or $3,400 of every $10,000 you pay them.

6. Recognition provides you with vital employee data 

Depending on the tools you use to run your employee recognition program, you might be able to gain access to a whole new arena of workforce analytics that can help you make data-driven decisions about your workforce, your processes, and the organization as a whole. 

Data derived via employee recognition programs provide an honest, impartial line of sight into the performance of your team and your company. Leveraging a communications platform (like Nudge!) to drive employee recognition gives you access to data on your top performers and scalable best practices that have garnered praise. This data can also show you regions or locations with low participation in your recognition program, which can be a red flag for disengagement or culture issues.

When it comes down to it, people are more likely to repeat behaviors they are recognized for. If you seek to build a robust, profitable, and inclusive culture, an employee recognition program might be the solution.  

5 ways to encourage more upward feedback

5 ways to encourage more upward feedback

Upward feedback is essential to every frontline organization. How better to truly know the ins and outs of your business than to take the time to listen? This could mean everything from safety concerns and process improvements to customer insights – and it’s all valuable. Plus, upward feedback can inspire a two-way conversation where all individuals have the freedom to express themselves, which is crucial to the success of the organization and the happiness of your team. 

However, it’s not always easy to encourage upward feedback from your team. Maybe your workforce doesn’t love your feedback channels. Maybe, in the past, your organization hasn’t taken action on the feedback they’ve received. Your team could also be afraid of the repercussions that may come after providing potential negative feedback – in fact, studies show that 34% of employees don’t speak up when asked because of fear of repercussions.

No matter what the reason, if you’re seeing upward feedback lag, it’s time to take action. 

While collecting employee feedback can be challenging, especially in a deskless organization, it’s all about the approach and methods you take to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s working, what can be improved, and what strategies you can eliminate completely.

Here are 5 ways to encourage more upward feedback from your staff:

1. Start with open-ended questions

Yes, we’ve recommended focusing on more specific insights when collecting employee feedback at scale, but if you’re seeing a lull in responses it might be time to try the opposite approach to allow for more open conversation. Whether it’s feedback related to management, the overall employee experience, protocols and processes, or any knowledge gaps the team may face, you can start the conversation with open-ended questions. For example, instead of asking, “What do you think about our recent changes in end-of-day cleaning procedures?” you could ask a more broad question like, “Are there any policies or procedures in place you would like to see changed?” 

Here are some other examples of open-ended questions: 

  • What is holding you back from getting your day-to-day responsibilities complete?
  • What new program would you like to see rolled out or completely removed across the organization?
  • What products do you think our customers would benefit from most?

While more specific questions are easier to process and act on, these open-ended questions can uncover issues or problems – or amazing ideas! – that you might never otherwise see. 

2. Reward feedback

We all know the phrase “what’s in it for me?” – and your employees could very well feel this way when asked to provide upward feedback. So finding ways to reward your staff when they provide feedback is a great way to encourage more of it. 

One way to reward feedback is to gamify it. If your communication and feedback channels allow you to do so, award points to your workers for sharing ideas and concerns. Not only does this drive participation in your channels – doing so can go a long way with your team’s mood and morale. One study found that 87% of employees feel more socially connected when there are gamified activities in the workplaces.

The Nudge digital communication platform makes gamification easy! Workers get points for engaging in forums, completing surveys, sharing ideas, and more – and shares points on a central leaderboard for a little friendly competition. 

Another way to reward feedback is to recognize employees sharing feedback and the positive change they’re making on the company. This is especially important for employees sharing best practices – thank them for sharing their amazing ideas by showcasing them in your communication and recognition channels. You could even send them a little branded swag – letting them know how much you appreciate their feedback can go a long way and also inspire them to provide more input in the future.

3. Close the feedback loop

Your staff will never provide upward feedback if they don’t know what is actually being done with it. Because of this, it’s essential to close the feedback loop. A lot of organizations miss this mark when it comes to the great ideas their team provides. 

And that’s a major mistake, because acting on the feedback you collect is crucial. Let’s stop and consider that 90% of workers said that they’re more likely to stay at a company that takes and acts on feedback. And, according to Qualtrics, companies that act on feedback have twice the engagement score compared to those that don’t — 80% vs. 40%.

So while closing the feedback loop is important for encouraging more feedback, it also drives engagement, loyalty, and more. Remember that this goes beyond just using the idea. While this may be the first step in the feedback loop, it also means showing the employee how the idea was used and its impact on the organization. 

Let’s say an employee came forward with an idea to change your return policy. You put their idea to paper, and then you let them know how you plan on updating this policy with their idea – great. But a  big part of closing the feedback loop is keeping your staff informed after the fact. What did customers think about the change? What was the response from senior leadership? How did this change impact customer loyalty and revenue? Sharing back this information with the workers involved is a great way to help them feel empowered and committed to driving more business outcomes. 

As Amy Douglas of Spark Coaching LLC told Forbes, “Employees will stop giving feedback if they think it is a futile process. Follow-through is far more important than the approach used to get the feedback in the first place. Thank employees for their feedback, share decisions that were made (even if you went a different direction than was suggested), and be sure to explain the ‘why’ behind those decisions.”

4. Take the fear of repercussions out of the scenario

Sharing upward feedback can be scary for your team – especially if this feedback leans negative. Ensuring staff members know that they won’t receive any repercussions from providing upward feedback can help to build psychological safety in the frontline workplace, which is a huge component of any successful feedback loop. This will take time. You’ll need to do more than just saying “no repercussions” – you’ll need to walk the walk to really show your workforce you mean it. 

That also means ensuring you have the right feedback channels in place for the right types of feedback. When collecting sensitive or more personal feedback, consider secure or even anonymous channels. When collecting feedback about managers or peers, be sure to avoid public-facing channels. But those public channels, like forums, will be crucial to larger crowdsourcing campaigns to solicit big-picture ideas or best practices. 

5. Make it consistent and frequent

A big part of encouraging lots of upward feedback is, well, asking for it. Your frontline staff has a lot to say, and you limit your business if you’re only asking them to share this feedback once a year. In fact, studies show that 58% of employees wish their company conducted employee engagement surveys more frequently.

Encourage upward feedback to be an all-year type of thing. An employee can have the next big idea at any time, so be sure they’re encouraged to let their manager or team lead know of this idea as soon as it strikes. This also means having the right feedback channels in place to capture ideas and concerns in real time – and process them quickly and efficiently. 

Once you know how to encourage upward feedback from your workforce, you’ll see a surge of new ideas, comments, and concerns that get unearthed. And that’s exactly what you want. You never know what new idea will be the catalyst that inspires the right change or update your organization needs to succeed.

Acting on frontline employee feedback at scale

Acting on frontline employee feedback at scale

You know collecting employee feedback from your frontline workers is an absolute must. And you know there are a number of ways to collect this valuable intel.

But once you’ve gathered this employee feedback, what happens next? 

Especially when we’re talking feedback from thousands (or hundreds of thousands!) of employees, how do you take the ideas and feedback they’re sending you and put it to use? 

This is where the difference between deskless and deskbound workers really comes into play. For deskbound workers, employee feedback is often more of an HR KPI. Gathering upward feedback is about giving employees a voice, and making sure their concerns are heard. 

The same benefits are there for deskless workers, but there’s also a huge business opportunity to tap into as well. Your frontline workers are just that: on the front line. They are seeing things that head office isn’t. So the feedback they’re sharing can make-or-break your business: customer insights, updates to tactical processes, ways to boost productivity, and more. 

That’s why it’s so critical for deskless and frontline organizations to have a way to organize and act on employee feedback – because they can turn those ideas into increased revenue, higher sales, and more efficient processes. Plus, acting on feedback is the best way to ensure your workforce continues to engage in your feedback loops. As one writer put it, there’s no such thing as survey fatigue when you act on employee feedback.

Here are 5 ways for frontline organizations to use employee feedback at scale:

1. Find common sentiment

A great place to start with employee feedback is finding common sentiment with what your frontline staff has to say. This is particularly useful with types of feedback like process change ideas or manager feedback, where finding that common thread amongst thousands of ideas is a huge time-saver. Knowing more than one staff member has the same feedback to share gives it more weight.

Gathering common sentiment can be done a few different ways. Using forums or surveys, you can seek feedback around a question or topic, like “How can we make our inventory update process more efficient?”

Depending on the communication tools you have in place, you can then identify those common threads through word clouds, sentiment analysis, or other analytics tools. After all, there’s strength in numbers, and when you find shared sentiment, you’ll have a better understanding of what actually needs to be changed or updated. 

Nudge’s digital communication platform makes it easy to collect feedback at scale and highlight the key sentiments coming from your team! Learn more here

2. Focus on specific insights

Being specific about the feedback you’re looking for is another way to leverage the intel quickly and easily. This relates to the types of feedback you’re collecting, but also the topic. Be clear on why you’re asking for feedback, and what outcome you’re hoping for. For example, if you’re looking to improve your loyalty program, you want to be more specific than just asking for “Feedback on our loyalty program.” instead, you could reach out to your workforce and say “We’re launching a forum to collect thoughts on how we can improve our loyalty program. Enrollment has been down, so we encourage you all to share best practices and ideas on how you’re enticing customers to sign up.” 

That way, you’ll get at the specific insights and ideas that come straight from the frontline. When you’re collecting specific feedback like this, it’s much easier to act on it quickly. 

3. Let your workers identify great ideas

Again, this tactic depends on what feedback channels you have in place. But when your organization utilizes features that allow employees to engage with each other’s feedback (through likes or comments) some of the heavy lifting is done for you. 

For example, if you’ve asked your workforce for feedback on your health and safety protocols, a company-wide forum allows all employees to see all ideas. So instead of repeating the same feedback again and again, workers can just engage with the ideas they agree with – and head office can focus on the comments that get the most engagement.

This can also work to foster communication around specific ideas and let your teams build on feedback with additional suggestions or constructive criticism. Who says collaboration can’t happen in dispersed teams? 

4. Zero in on tips from top-performing (and worst-performing) regions

Quick: where are your top-performing regions, locations, or employees? (If you don’t know how to identify them at scale, here’s a quick primer.) Knowing these top performers will help you to focus your attention when it comes to employee feedback. Focusing on the tried-and-true suggestions from these regions or locations can help to identify quality feedback quickly – and find best practices to implement at other locations.

The same can be said for your lowest-performing regions and locations. If you see regions that are struggling, pay close attention to their responses to feedback requests. They’ll provide a lot of insight on what isn’t working, and what changes can be made for improvement. 

5. Use numbered-focused feedback

Open-text responses are obviously crucial to any organization. But need to get a fast look at the opinions, morale, and overall mood of your workforce at a scale? Consider feedback that’s numbers-focused, like surveys with multiple choice responses or ranked answers. 

For example, if a survey asks “how safe do you feel at work?” with the prompted response being an answer between one (not safe at all) and ten (extremely safe), you can use the responses to see at a glance where your workforce is at. 

It can be challenging to parse through what seems like an endless list of employee feedback, ideas, and best-practices – but using the above tips will help you to identify those game-changing ideas quickly and easily. 

How to learn from the star performers (no matter how big your frontline is!)

How to learn from the star performers (no matter how big your frontline is!)

Your friendly neighbourhood Customer Success Associate is back! I’ve already talked about how you can identify star performers without visiting every location, even when your workforce numbers in the thousands. But what should you do once you single out these magical employees, locations, or regions? 

It’s time to tap into their knowledge and best practices so that you can share these across the business. 

But how do you do this?

Here is my 4-step plan for capturing great ideas and best practices from your star performers – no matter how large your organization is. 

1. Ask them  

The first step in learning from your star performers is simply asking them – and, of course, establishing a process for gathering this information. 

Make it clear that your business is seeking input from these frontline workers. Letting them know that you want and value their opinions will start this process out on the right foot and ensure that you’ve put idea creation on your employees’ radar. Pro tip: rather than throwing out a blanket statement of “we want ideas”, be sure to define the areas in which you need support. This will help direct their innovation and ensure you get the absolute most from them. 

2. Launch an ideas forum (specifically for star performers!)

We’ve talked before about the value of employee forums when it comes to capturing the great ideas your star performers have to share. Why? Employees need a space they can go to where they know their ideas and knowledge will be seen, considered and actioned. Nothing is more demotivating to high performing individuals than being asked for ideas only to have them fall into a black hole (more on that later). 

But here, I’m going to suggest creating a dedicated space on your communications platform, Intranet, or other channel, to share exclusively with the workers, locations, or regions you’ve identified as top performers. On Nudge, I love setting up an ideas forum where top performers have space to let their knowledge fly and share it with other top performers. This ideation only spurs more ideation. The pinnacle of sourcing best practices from your high performing workers is having them drive other top performers to improve and better themselves. Top performers helping other top performers can exponentially grow their knowledge and abilities.

3. Offer rewards and recognition for innovation

Offering employee rewards and recognition to star performers for their hard work can only help them improve themselves and the company at large. It’s also one of the best ways to get employees to share their ideas. 

“(High performers) need to feel the love,” explains leadership expert Sara Canaday in a recent article for LinkedIn. “Giving them a tangible sign of appreciation will make them feel valued and reinforce the message that they play a critical role for the team and the organization overall.”

My go-to as a CSA at Nudge is recognizing associates on the app for all their peers to see. This way, you benefit by: 

  1. Recognizing the associate
  2. Promoting the desired behavior or idea

You can also accomplish this outcome in your company newsletter, social platform, or in employee meetings. Through all of this, the goal is to not take your high-performing employees for granted. They work hard and accomplish a lot for the organization; you should acknowledge their successes wherever possible, and make sure their scalable successes and ideas don’t go uncelebrated.

4. Action the ideas

There are a few ways to action great ideas and employee feedback. But because a lot of the insights you’ll collect from your star performers are best practices, that’s what we’ll talk about here. 

The first step in actioning best practices from your star performers is to share them as far and wide as you can. If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this tip: it will be more impactful when these best practices come from “one of them” rather than distilled from Head Office. This is something that many companies struggle with. They’re always looking to optimize top-down or bottom-up communication, but fail to see the gold mine that is inter-colleague sharing. You can tell your employees 100 times to perform a task a certain way, but when they hear a tip or trick from a colleague, they’re more likely to take it in and remember it. The impact can be meteoric. 

Work with your star performers to share their ideas using any (or all!) tools you use to connect with your frontline – app, email, company newsletter, social platforms or employee meetings. Even shout it from the rooftops of HQ. Just be sure to spotlight the most helpful and actionable insights for the frontline to see. Recognizing employees and attributing these ideas, tips and tricks to them, will help validate not only the employee themselves, but the idea as well. 

Once you’ve shared your top performers’ ideas, be sure to follow up and check for compliance. Whether you have your managers monitoring in-store or you simply poll the frontline, it’s always helpful to check in and see the effect. This can also help you course correct as you go. Re-testing on knowledge and behavior not only allows us to identify top performers but those on the lower end of the spectrum as well – those that could use some additional support and mentorship. 

The ultimate goal with sharing best practices from your star performers is to create a culture of continuous learning, improvement and collaboration. What you really want is to establish trust with your employees and show them that their actions and ideas have real influence and meaning. Sharing these insights has countless benefits – for the high performer and for the frontline in general. The knowledge will help all employees grow into leaders by providing insights and access to these more experienced individuals, while also giving high-performing employees recognition and responsibility. 

Proven ROI of 484%

Forrester Consulting's Total Economic Impact™ study found a 484% ROI with Nudge!*

*over three years.