Taking action is often the hardest and most crucial step organizations can take to create a better employee experience (EX).
When companies invite employees to share feedback and then fail to do anything with that feedback, it causes more harm than good. Employees feel like they wasted time by participating and are less likely to participate in future listening initiatives. Worse, they may actually experience higher rates of disengagement.
So how should organizations implement this important step? First, understand who is responsible for taking action. Then, help them do so by making it simple and rewarding.
Who should take action?
Team leaders are in the best position to improve engagement through feedback-based action. Why? They can dig into results and take action at a local level. Imagine the impact when managers across an organization and up and down each hierarchy directly improve EX for their immediate teams!
Senior leaders or HR leadership should identify one or two feedback-based areas to impact at an organizational level. This will align the company as a whole around people-focused goals and fuel continued interest in and awareness of the EX program.
While team and organizational leaders need to lead the charge, employees themselves can also support action by participating in feedback-based changes. For example, if managers implement more regular one on one meetings as a result of feedback, employees have a responsibility to participate fully in that new initiative.
How to take feedback-based action?
While leveraging feedback to act will look different for direct managers versus organizational leaders, the process is largely the same for both.
1 – Review and understand employee feedback
The first step toward taking feedback-based action is to review and understand the feedback received! In the context of surveys, leaders should explore themes, trends, and responses to questions that correlate highly with engagement. If the feedback came in an unstructured way, such as through an interview, conversation, or email, leaders should review the qualitative data for context but be careful not to take it to heart – especially when feedback feels negative or personal.
2 – Review the feedback together
Once leaders have absorbed the feedback and feel ready to move forward, a good next step is to review feedback with employees.
This is particularly valuable for team leaders and their direct reports. While the team may already have seen results, walking through feedback together will allow managers and their team members to identify items that resonate with them and talk through it at a local level. Managers may also be able to help team members put some of the broader themes and responses into the context of the larger organization.
Meanwhile, organizational or HR leaders should also review listening results with employees. By doing so, they reinforce the company-wide message that feedback is important to leadership and will be addressed.
3 – Choose simple, relevant actions
As managers explore feedback with their teams, they should look for opportunities to make small tweaks in their day-to-day work that will move the needle on relevant items.
As with any goal-setting, these tweaks should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. HRIZONS EX recommends that they also be small. Managers and teams should commit to one or two of these small changes and implement them as soon as possible, alongside any larger, more ambitious goals. These small, quick, feedback-based changes create an immediate feeling of impact.
4 – Communicate commitments and actions taken
Finally, communicate. Employees need to know that:
- Team leaders and organizational leaders are taking action;
- Actions being taken are based directly on employee feedback;
- Ongoing feedback about how these changes are being felt is welcomed
Branding around EX initiatives can be especially helpful here, and leaders should not be shy about repeatedly discussing what they’re doing and why. Now is not the time to be modest! Communicating action positively impacts employee engagement and facilitates ongoing feedback.
If you would like support moving from feedback analysis and into action, HRIZONS EX team can offer consultative guidance, hands-on resources, training and more. Contact us to learn more about how we partner with organizations delivering world-class EX.