You spend a lot of time creating valuable resources for your employees. From training sessions to workshops, gamification-inspired events, you work hard to engender a sense of belonging, participation, and engagement across your workforce and make your employees’ lives easier.
But how do you know whether your efforts are paying off and your staff are making the most of these activities? The answer is simpler than you might think: feedback loops.
A feedback loop is a hassle-free, cost-effective, and incredibly valuable way to ensure you’re providing employees with the right tools and resources to perform at their best. Not only this, but managers will also get valuable feedback as part of the ongoing process of giving and receiving feedback. As a result, not only will you be able to deliver exceptional content that boosts morale, dedication, and productivity, but you’ll be able to raise your company’s profitability too.
Interested to find out more? Then read our handy guide to feedback loops in the workplace.
Feedback Loops: Definition
In the context of internal communication, a feedback loop defines a cyclical process in which input is continually provided, reviewed, assessed, and utilized to inform future (and better) decisions.
In today’s workplace, feedback loops tend to be increasingly digital, although you can also choose a hybrid approach that combines both online and offline feedback.
Types of Feedback Loops
While this article will be discussing employee feedback loops specifically, it’s important to note that there are, in fact, two types of feedback loops: internal and external.
The former collects feedback from employees. This type of loop focuses on promoting participation, motivation, and engagement within your workforce by gathering as many inputs as possible and delivering new and improved tools, resources, and services to make staff feel empowered.
On the other hand, an external loop is concerned with feedback from outside actors such as clients, customers, suppliers, partners, and other third parties. The insights unveiled thanks to these feedback loops are used to improve customer-facing services and support and strengthen sales and marketing activities.
The Advantages of Feedback Loops
Keeping a close eye on what employees think of the support manager’s offer is of paramount importance and will help both of you. Both parties need these feedback loops in order to develop their skills, and improve productivity. This process allows employees to feel more involved in the day-to-day planning and operational side of the business while encouraging them to perform better and meet their targets. The bottom line? Morale and productivity levels are both boosted. This also results in more team harmony and a more collaborative working environment. From a managerial perspective this can also help reduce the ‘them and us’ attitude that can exist between employees and managers in some offices, and it offers them ample opportunities to learn and develop their managerial skills.
Specifically, having a strong feedback loop strategy in place for employees helps you to:
- Better understand their pain points
- Tap into people’s skills and talents
- Uncover new ideas
- Provide support via the creation of fresh content, services, or products
- Strengthen your brand identity
- Boost employee satisfaction and retention rates
- Sharpen your competitive edge
Feedback loops can be a great tool to use if you want your employees to feel happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled in their jobs. They tell workers you care about them, their opinions, and their support, and are willing to implement practical changes to improve how they perform. If you manage to create a more positive, empowering, and supportive work environment, not only will morale grow significantly but productivity too.
Recent research has highlighted that 4 out of 10 employees who are not involved in a feedback loop start to actively disengage from their roles. A situation like this can eventually lead to employee churn and turnover rates skyrocketing, which is something no savvy business owner or manager wants.
How to Create a Powerful Feedback Loop within Your Company
After reading the above, you probably want to know how to create a feedback loop within your company and boost employee morale and productivity. Feedback can be gathered either manually or via automation (or sometimes with a combined hybrid approach).
For this reason, we won’t be discussing any specific methods, but we will be offering some hands-on, actionable ideas on how to build a process that works, whether it relies on manual or automated feedback tools.
Step 1: Get your leaders fully on board
Firstly, you need to gain the approval of your workers—specifically, of your team leaders. While most employees are happy to get involved with feedback loops, they can create more work, so it’s essential for them to agree before you begin.
Getting business leaders on board will allow you to communicate the value of feedback loops to teams and individuals. This is important as different leadership styles might require you to provide different types of support.
Step 2: Select the right tech tools to use
Collecting feedback manually is certainly possible, and you can do this via telephone calls, surveys, questionnaires, and so on. Nonetheless, it may be more advantageous to adopt a digital approach.
This will require you to either implement a digital feedback tool or build one. There are pros and cons to both.
Choosing to use a pre-made tool, such as a communication or collaboration platform like Slack, Google, Zoom, or SurveyMonkey, is generally easier and more affordable.
On the other hand, creating a bespoke digital tool to collect feedback offers a greater level of customization. This could give you an advantage when it comes to delivering the type of support your employees want and expect.
Whichever approach you choose, one thing is non-negotiable: its simplicity. You want to make leaving feedback as stress-free as possible.
Step 3: Collect feedback
Once you have your feedback tools in place, start using them to gather feedback from relevant people. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is by running an employee survey. Make this as specific as possible, while at the same time keeping it short and sweet (you don’t want to take up too much of their time).
It’s vital that you remind and encourage your staff to leave feedback, and you can do this by sending email and phone alerts or adding notes to their work calendars.
Once they’ve left their feedback, it’s a good idea to send a short thank-you message, which should hopefully create goodwill and spur them to keep providing you with input on a regular basis.
Step 4: Gather insights from your feedback
Once you’ve collected the feedback you need, it’s time to review and analyze it. This will enable you to uncover potentially eye-opening insights into a myriad of topics.
There are digital tools for everything these days, from distributor agreements to analytics, and with an automated platform, you can view all the data within a single dashboard to help you extract meanings and insights quickly and easily.
If you’ve instead chosen to gather feedback manually, this process will likely take longer and raise the risk of errors, so try to be efficient yet thorough with your analysis.
Step 5: Take action based on your findings
With your pressing questions answered, you can get to work on putting all that feedback into practice. You might find it easiest to organize feedback by topic, department, and sentiment.
Cross-check all the data you’ve collected, and then plan actions targeted at resolving any issues raised. This will vary depending on the team, department, and so on. For example, HR staff will likely have different challenges, goals, and needs compared to your salespeople.
By dividing feedback as we suggest, you can highlight what, specifically, each department wants, what their pain points are, and what they like about how things are done currently. This way, it will be simpler to build new tools or improve existing ones to address individual requests.
Step 6: Restart the loop
A feedback loop wouldn’t be named thus if it didn’t have an element of continuity to it. That’s why, at its end, you need to start all over again. This is not because you did something wrong but because people’s needs, objectives, and pain points are ever-evolving.
Ergo, a continuous, cyclical feedback loop is the best (if not the only) way to succeed at keeping your employees happy, satisfied, and productive in the long term.
Empowering your employees with the tools and resources they need to thrive requires you to know what they want and expect from you as an employer. To achieve this, implementing feedback loops is essential.
With a feedback loop, you can gather input in a fast, easy, and cost-efficient way. This will help you uncover important insights into your employee’s feelings, difficulties, and wishes, which in turn will support you in building new and better tools and resources for them.
The result? Happier, more dedicated, and more productive employees and a healthier and more profitable business.
The blog article has been kindly provided by PandaDoc, an all-in-one document management tool for different types of document.