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9 Expert Tips on Using Feedback to Increase Employee Engagement

By Amelia Peacock
October 31, 2016

Part 1 of 4: Clutch HR Employee Feedback Survey 2016

 

Increasing employee engagement can be a vague, stressful, and unrewarding process for many businesses managers. You might be asking yourself: Where do I start? Will my efforts actually work? I'm stressed as it is, how will I even find the time? How important is engagement anyway, can't my employees just show up and do their job?

Experts say that employee engagement is one of the best indicators of business success and shouldn't be considered secondary to other business processes. But don't worry if the prospect of increasing employee engagement at your business seems daunting--there are many little things a manager can do to make employees feel valued and fulfilled.

A recent survey from Clutch asked 1,000 full-time employees about their job fulfillment. The results show that one concrete step managers can take towards bettering their employees' job experience is to provide more accurate, more consistent, and the right kind of feedback and evaluation to their employees. 

Take a look at what these experts have to say about Clutch's findings and becoming a better manager through improved feedback and evaluation.

 

 

1. Managers need training, too.

"Employees need a reward system as well as feedback to understand how their work is being received or they will move on. Managers need training too. Just because someone is promoted--POOF!--they don't automatically know how to then manage people. Managers need training in how to give feedback and how to motivate their team in order for their promotion to be successful."

-Christy Hopkins, Human Resources Staff Writer, Fit Small Business

 

2. Leaders should act like coaches.

"While feedback sessions are supposed to encompass the last 6 to 12 months of work, most leaders do not keep accurate notes and only focus on the most recent work of the employee. Imagine if you played a professional sport and your coach waited until the end of the season to share feedback. Would it even matter at that point? Absolutely not! Leaders need to act like coaches, providing ongoing feedback, so employees can continue to build on their strengths and overcome any shortcomings."

-Amber Hunter, Director of Employee Performance,  A Plus Benefits

 

3. Do more than Hawaiian Shirt Day.

"You'd better be doing something to make sure that your millennial staff doesn't quit! Yet few companies do more than Hawaiian shirt day or a happy hour. If this were a non-people related risk, say cyber security, it would have an entire risk mitigation plan around it. Companies must be active to do things to reduce the chance their staff will leave... In my experience millennials hate formal review processes. They want continual feedback, weekly or even daily, about how to get better and learn. They don't want letters or grades or rankings, which is very baby-boomer."

-Ben Brooks, CEO,  PILOT, Inc.

 

4. Reward collaborative attitudes as drivers of business success.

"In the past, 'work excellence' was the criteria for advancement in companies.  Attitude was important, but behavior was frequently competitive. Cooperative behavior, collaborative attitudes, and skill excellence are today’s driving indicators of business success. They are measurable in the business bottom line and justifiable for raises and advancement. They are also indicators that people skills and work skills are required for advancement in high performance organizations."

-Dianne Crampton, Founder, TIGERS(R) Success Series, Inc.

 

5. Small businesses should make feedback a higher priority.

"Most small business employees wear multiple hats and believe they do not have time to develop a consistent, concrete plan for offering employee feedback. This is a key indicator of employee engagement, and managers should make feedback a high priority on a daily, quarterly, and yearly basis. Options available to these managers include taking a course on employee engagement and feedback, and working with a learning consultant on how to design and implement an internal feedback structure."

-Tammy Bjelland, Founder & President, Learning in Bloom

 

6. Consistently ask for anonymous feedback.

"To increase retention of the modern employee, it’s important to consistently ask for anonymous feedback, which allows for complete honesty and candidness. This feedback allows you to consistently make changes in the areas that need improvement and also shine light on operations that are working for you so that these may continue. The younger generation is looking for excitement and engagement in the workplace and expect a higher level of satisfaction than previous generations have been known to. If they are not feeling like their needs are met, they are going to look elsewhere."

-Christian Vanek, CEO,  SurveyGizmo

 

7. Support employees in developing towards their dream career.

"If the employer does not offer the employee the growth, income, flexibility or training that the employee considers important, then they will look for it elsewhere. That does not mean that they are poor employees or that they cannot make a great contribution to the employer before they leave. Communicate with a young employee that you understand that this may not be their dream job, and support them in developing towards that dream career. This will create loyalty and dedication and make the employer more desirable to other potential employees.

Our experience is also that many great young employees who have contributed to our company for a couple of years before moving on to bigger things have gone out of their way to fill their position before they left.  We once had a chain of 4 admin/researchers in a row who brought in friends to take their position when they left.  All were bright, educated, eager and hardworking who used our positions to gain experience while they were taking additional courses and working towards an HR career.  It was great for us."

-Henry Goldbeck, President, Goldbeck Recruiting

 

8. Include behavior and attitude in ongoing discussions.

"Have you ever looked around you, to see someone with a bad attitude perform well on a year-end review? Nothing is more demotivating!  A positive attitude and effort are signs of engagement, and an engaged team is productive. Employers need to find a way to do this. They need to include behavior and attitude in their ongoing discussions, and consider this in compensation and promotional decisions."

-Matt Cholerton, Founder Ping Labs, Ping Labs

 

9. Measurable output evaluations can lead to a poor corporate culture.

"Twenty years ago there would've been more emphasis on measurable outputs as to opposed to behaviors/attitude. That's telling of a generational shift that is taking place but also the realization that organizations that just measure output end up with, in many instances, a poor corporate culture. Today, there is a real shift towards: what do we value inside the organization? How do we make sure that our people display those traits?"

– Joe Carella, Assistant Dean, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona

 

Consistent employee feedback takes time and effort, and often the process of creating a robust feedback system is postponed in favor of more immediate business processes. However, these experts show that tackling these issues pays off in the long run. Use the talent of your managerial team to support and understand what kind of feedback your employees need to feel fulfilled in their work.

For more information, check out the second part of this survey: Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Much Needed Employee Feedback.

 

About the Survey

Clutch's survey included 1,000 respondents who are fulltime employees in the United States.

Respondents worked at companies with 1 to 50 employees (38%), 51 to 4,999 employees (43%), and 5,000+ employees (20%).

Data was collected throughout September 2016.