Will employee feedback change the way we manage?
By Robin van der Meulen | 06/06/2016
In the past decades, customer feedback changed all stages of the product development cycle. And with good reason. Engaging your customers in product conceptualization, design, testing and maintenance has proven to be a successful strategy and has become common practice in most successful businesses.
In the past few years, a lot has been written and said about the role of employee feedback as well. In one of my favorite articles “Feedback is the killer app”from @Josh Bersin, the following sentence got me thinking; Just as customer feedback has transformed the customer experience, employee feedback is transforming the employee experience.
Will employee feedback indeed have a similar influence on people management as customer feedback had on product development? In that case the lessons learned from customer feedback could be interesting input for innovation in employee feedback. I was curious and decided to put it to the test by taking the lessons learned, changing the word ‘customer’ to ‘employee’ and then testing the new premise.
Lessons learned from Customer Feedback
There is a lot to be learned about the value of customer feedback. How to do it, when to do it and not in the least, why to do it. For example, in the Forbes article “3 reasons to ask for Customer Feedback” produced by the @YEC, they distinguish three reasons to ask customer feedback.
Learn what your customers like and don’t like – Knowing your customers’ preferences and priorities allows you to change your product directly to their needs.
Make customers feel important and involved – Asking your customer for feedback shows you value their opinion. It makes your customer feel important because you are treating them as such.
Constantly improve – When you consistently gather feedback, you keep track of what’s important to your customer and what’s not, allowing you to continuously improve the added value for your target group.
Translation to Employee Feedback
Now let’s see what the lessons learned from customer feedback look like in context of people management.
Learn what your employees like and don’t like – This seems to be equally valid compared to the value of customer feedback. Knowing what your employees like and don’t like will enable you to invest in a great employee experience more effectively.
Make employees feel important and involved – The lesson learned from customer feedback applies to employee feedback even more so. Not only do they feel more involved, by actively asking employees for their feedback and acting on it, they literally are more involved.
Constantly improve – Just as continuous processing of customer feedback has become a constant force in product development, I can imagine continuous feedback from the work floor taking a similar position in people management. Keeping track of how employees feel makes it easy to relate trends to events such as changes in work environment, workload, change of staff and more.
This example, and others I’ve read, have inspired me to think differently about employee feedback. And, building on Josh Bersin’s statement, I do expect the changing role of employee feedback to cause disruption in the way we manage for the years to come.
So if you are ever looking for inspiration to improve the way employee feedback is handled in your organization, I advise looking for lessons learned from customer feedback and interchanging the word “customer” for “employee” – I am sure you will come up with something interesting and new.
Please visit www.2daysmood.nl to learn more about our cloud solution to continuously process employee feedback into actionable reports.
By Menno Wielhouwer, Co-founder of 2daysmood