Employee morale, productivity, and a company’s bottom line, usually go hand-in-hand. This equation keeps business owners working toward boosting worker satisfaction. An effective means of keeping employee morale and engagement levels high, thereby enhancing employee retention rates, is to give employees a voice.
Tim Donnelly, writing for Inc.com, advises, “Show your employees you're interested in their opinions and they'll be more likely take a personal stake in the business. They'll go from feeling like they're working for the man to feeling like they're a part of the team.”
To harness employee input, or feedback, today’s employers can take advantage of a number effective tools.
A common tool in today’s businesses is to have an open-door, face-to-face policy. Allowing employees to know the manager’s door is open if and when an employee needs to air a grievance, request help, or discuss another workplace related issue will go a long way in cultivating a satisfied employee.
Another useful tool is to have employee and manager group meetings. This will provide an environment that will allow specific times for employees to pitch ideas, make suggestions, and offer other types of input.
A third means of harnessing employee feedback is the employee survey. It is the most effective and most often used tool for gathering the needed data, and it is also the one recommended by professionals.
A company survey should be designed specifically for that company’s employees. Along with present issues being addressed, the employer will want to know how satisfied employees are with the work environment and business culture. This means the survey should be comprehensive.
"We have a lot of clients, and every single questionnaire is different," notes Lisa Wojtkowiak, a client relationship manager with Opinion Research Corporation. “You want to make sure you have enough information so you can make good judgments based on good data."
Along with this, it is recommended to limit full surveys to only once a year. For those employers who chose to conduct employee surveys more often, Wojtkowiak advises using a six-month “pulse” survey. This type of survey is brief and limited to 10 questions or less.
The added benefit of the employee survey is that it can be completely anonymous. Often employees are reluctant to offer honest feedback due to a fear of consequences. If the fear is eliminated through anonymity, employees will be motivated to be honest. It provides a safe voice to all employees, thereby fostering employee satisfaction and engagement.