Anonymous Employee Feedback for Maximizing Business Profits
Successful companies are working their way up by consistently searching for ways to better themselves. Employees are the most valuable assets of a company because it is their efficiency and talent that decides the future of an organization. Though conventional incentives like bonuses or benefit packages, and spacious offices are still useful, they are no longer enough to attract and retain a talented workforce. Giving them the benefit of offering feedback can be a crucial first step for a company seeking to make changes to its workplace culture.
Building a company is not just about meeting the obvious measures of growth like increased sales and revenue, but also maintaining a positive corporate culture. A strong workplace culture attracts talent, drives engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance. The biggest mistake organizations make is letting their workplace culture form naturally without knowing or defining what the employers or the employees want it to be. Feedback is, thus, the cheapest and the most powerful management tool for receiving company insights. Whether the feedback is verbal or anonymous, it highlights the strengths and weaknesses of an organization. It gives the employees an opportunity to express their concern. For that reason, conducting feedback surveys or management surveys have become extremely important. A 360-degree feedback program can be a powerful way that offers the executives the information they really want in order to improve the workplace and drive performance.
However, starting an honest conversation in an open or public environment might trigger conflicts or tensions rising from emotional responses. Having to deal with a management problem is not an easy task. There are times when people are ready and willing to share honest feedback but decide against it because they do not want to hurt their coworker’s feelings and taint their relationships. Sometimes it also becomes difficult to openly discuss sensitive issues like sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind. Employees also refrain from speaking the truth when there is office politics involved or fear of jeopardizing relationships with managers. In some workplaces, the possibility of getting fired or complaints falling on deaf ears discourages reporting issues to a higher authority. Lack of communication between the employees and the managers is one of the main reasons behind declining job satisfaction and high employee attrition. Gallup’s 2015 report on management in the US revealed that employees whose managers were not approachable were 65% more likely to be actively disengaged. In such situations, feedback app which allows sending anonymous feedbacks instantly from their phones has the ability to cut through the fear and give the leaders the valuable, direct insights of a company they need to know. Allowing employees the opportunity to give feedback without signing their names gives them the freedom to deliver unfiltered opinions without fear of judgment or retribution.
Implementing tools or platforms for anonymous feedback is the best way to make the employees feel safe and open the line of communication with the executives. The existence of fear in most company culture makes the employees hesitant to express themselves, so much so that they feel the need to remain anonymous and speak their mind freely. When a person is newly hired or when an employee is extremely shy and reticent, they’re afraid of being ridiculed or criticized by his peers or seniors. No matter how friendly and approachable a manager or leader is, such employees do not feel safe and comfortable enough to share their thoughts through feedback when they know their names will be attached to it. Removing the identification factor by posting feedback anonymously, the executives can win their trust to make the employees give undiluted opinions honestly. Designing and maintaining a structured and well-organized program for employees to openly share their thoughts is an absolute necessity to create a workforce that feels valued and engaged. Companies with strong internal feedback have seen high levels of employee satisfaction and engagement. Harvard Business Review has shown “ when employees can voice their concerns freely, organizations see increased retention and stronger performance.”
Effective feedback, whether positive or negative, is always an invaluable element for a company’s growth and development. It can ease people to give more honest feedback rather than passing on the opportunity or heavily dilating it with praises. This will eventually help create a culture of honesty and trust where employees are eager to give each other feedback for their personal as well as professional growth. They might be a little hesitant at first, but their feedback gives a clear picture of the office culture and increases transparency by seeing things from a wider context. In an article on conducting employee surveys, Harvard Business Review (HBR) specifically outlined that when asked to submit feedback, anonymity is the number one concern for employees. When employees are certain that their feedback will remain anonymous, they are not only more likely to submit honest, productive feedback, they are likely to submit it more often. This type of positive communication cycle can quickly help employers take an employee-driven approach to improve workplace culture.
Feedback consultants Leanne Atwater and David Waldman observe that anonymous surveys offer manager the opportunity for “increased self-awareness and improved individual performance.” The employees’ perspectives can always challenge a manager or an executive to learn, grow, and overcome a shortcoming that he or she always wanted to address. A Gallup study of 469 business units found that managers who received feedback on their strengths showed 8.9% greater profitability post-intervention. Feedback help managers get a detailed report of their employee’s present state. Information, by nature, is sensitive. As such, choosing the option to maintain privacy will improve employees’ willingness to share their ideas and opinions.
Companies put a lot of effort and time to set up a process in order to make their employees feel comfortable enough to submit feedback, but they fail to effectively follow up. There is nothing worse than taking the time to give a suggestion, and not have any acknowledgment of it. The managers or executives need to respond to the issues quickly. Employees might get disappointed about not being heard and they might completely lose trust in the company’s motives and values, resulting in no feedback or repeated complaints that never get resolved. In a CareerBuilder survey, 48% of employees said that they would stay with a company that asks them what they want and acts on that feedback. Managing employee feedback can be one of the most daunting aspects of leadership. What is often mistaken for negative criticism is actually constructive criticism, which helps the leaders to make a better decision and increase performance. When executed correctly, anonymous employee feedback can assist in creating proper strategies, balancing employee and employer relationship, improving customer services and operations, and many more. As a leader, the manager must foster trust and respect. They can interpret the report to provide some real and meaningful action plan to curb the actions and behaviors that impede individual or organizational, reflecting on development opportunities. Anonymous feedback, thus gives a better chance of understanding and resolving workplace challenges. As said earlier, top performing companies are well aware of its importance, and hence strongly recommends employee-driven feedback not only for the refinement of culture but also for business advancement.
Written by Subhana Faujia Rahman