Employee Feedback – 8 Alternatives to the Employee Survey

Employee Feedback AlternativesCommunication is the key that opens the door to great success to all things in life. So, how prominent is communication within your organization?

Your employees are the backbone of your company and as such, you should be well in touch with what their thoughts are regarding their work and ultimately the company. Be it via team building exercises, town hall meetings or one-on-one employee feedback meetings, it’s crucial to hear what your employees have to say.

Keep in mind, a growing number of employees do not feel surveys are an adequate forum through which to gather feedback. Some feel that surveys (particularly those conducted by in-house resources) are not truly anonymous.  In fact, surveys tend to have a notoriously low level of response as employees don’t feel they see any direct correlation between their input and desired changes within the work environment.

Thankfully, there are alternative methods through which to gather vital employee feedback. Check out these 8 options:

1. Business Team Building Activities
Corporate team building is an excellent way to not only bring employees together to facilitate cohesiveness, but to find out how your team is actually doing. Request input from your staff both before and after the event. Ask them if they felt the team building exercises were helpful and what types of things they would like to see happen within the organization to improve work life and the success of the company.

2. Focus Groups
Holding a focus group is a very direct way to gather information. Depending on the size of your organization, it may be helpful to hold focus groups per tenure, position, department, location, etc. As well, consider interviewing managers and staff separately to garner more honest answers.

Should folks be uncomfortable presenting their thoughts in a focus group, there is always the option to conduct one-on-one interviews – this also works for managers who are looking for private feedback.

3. Department Meetings
Regular departmental meetings are a great way to keep staff up-to-date with company happenings, important news and info, as well as to invite feedback and comments from your staff. An advantage to holding meetings regularly (E.g. monthly), staff know that they will have a scheduled opportunity to bring forth any concerns or news of their own.

4. Town Hall Meetings
Similar to department meetings, town halls may serve as a larger forum for multiple departments during which people who normally do not work with one another have the opportunity to come together and voice their opinions amongst a larger audience. This opens the door for healthy discussion and debate, as well as receiving feedback on a grander scale.

5. Stay on Top of Company Media
According to Burson-Marsteller’s Global Social Media Check-Up 2012, Fortune 100 company names are mentioned more than 10 million times per month on the top five social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest) alone.

If your company has a website, social media accounts, of even just intranet, it could be worthwhile to read the comments left by staff on various articles, monitor blog posts by employees and study social media that is company related. What kind of a tone is apparent? Does the content seem respectful? Instilled with company pride? These are the types of things to look for.

6. Have an Effective Onboarding Process
What kind of a hiring process is in place for new employees? Does it allow for questions and feedback? Even feedback from new employees is valuable.

7. Exit Interviews
Interviewing employees that are leaving the company can serve as an incredibly insightful and effective method to collect feedback. Why is the employee leaving? What would have made his or her term of employment more satisfying? What would have enticed him or her to stay? An employee on the way out the door has nothing to lose by telling you how it really is.

8. Outside Resources
Employ outside resources, such as respected industry analysts, to analyze your company and report back about how you’re rated as an employer. Bringing in someone from the outside is one way to ensure feedback results are bias-free and the confidentiality of employees stays intact should that be an issue.

The above are just a few ideas to consider. Before choosing a method, consider what kind of an organization you are and what the best-suited approach would be for your company.  Then get the conversation going.