Is Retirement Planning the Key to Job Security?

For most American workers, retirement planning is a part of the conversation from early on in their careers. You enter the workforce with your first “real” job and shortly thereafter, ideally, you begin to put money away in a retirement fund, usually supported by your employer.

And while that’s a reality for many people, it’s often different for those in the trucking industry. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

Consider that retirement planning, through outlets like 401(k)s, stock options, or other retirement funds, does much more than allow a person to plan for retirement.

In fact, there's more to “retirement” planning than just retirement. When you’re able to set up an account and begin socking away money for your future, it opens up a world of possibilities for your present, too.

When you know that you’re setting yourself up for comfort down the road, you begin to plan a little differently — allowing you and your family to make decisions about your work, plan vacations, and even invest in big-ticket items such as a home or a car.

That’s why it’s essential for businesses, including trucking companies, to take steps to help their employees through the retirement planning process. It creates a sense of peace about the future, one that is truly invaluable for workers.

The Positive Impact of Retirement Planning for Truckers
The financial variables at play in the trucking industry are unique. Companies deal with a high rate of turnover, which can be detrimental for both employers and drivers.

“You can make a lot of money while you’re driving,” says Justin Jolls, Director of Operations at WorkHound. “But those opportunities are often few and far between. When drivers churn and move to a new company, it’s expensive for them and the company. During the transition between companies, a driver’s timeframe for earning is shortened, meaning potential income for a given month may be reduced.”

Beyond the financial considerations unique to trucking, drivers are also thinking through a different set of daily scenarios than most people. Offering them retirement planning benefits can allow them to broaden their horizons and find stability, making them less likely to leave a company.

“For drivers, they’re thinking through things like ‘where am I going to sleep tonight’ or ‘where can I eat,’” Jolls says. “Having a retirement fund or support in planning for retirement expands their time horizons so that they can make better predictions for the future. If they know that in 20 or 30 years, they’re going to be able to retire, they’re going to be able to make decisions with their lives that will better affect their future.”

How Offering Retirement Planning Benefits Businesses
There are many benefits for drivers when it comes to retirement planning, but offering support and services related to retirement planning also directly benefits companies.

Retirement programs don’t have to look the same for every business, either. One company may be able to offer a retirement plan with matching contributions, while another might provide education about financial planning and assistance opening a retirement fund.

Regardless of what shape your company’s retirement program takes, it’s truly the thought and investment that counts.

“Offering a retirement program of some sort shares with drivers that the work they’re doing now is important enough to you to invest in their future,” Jolls says. “That level of confidence and stability makes a real difference for drivers.”

This is especially important in that first 30 to 90 days drivers are working with a company when they’re most likely to leave if they’re unsatisfied.

“We know that the highest rate of turnover occurs within the first 90 days,” Jolls says. “If something doesn’t sit well with them, they’re going to begin looking for new opportunities. Having a retirement plan in place and explaining the benefits drivers can expect shows them they are valued and offers them an incentive to stick with your company for the long haul.”

Want to gain true insight into what your drivers need and want from your company? That’s what we’re here for. If you’d like to learn how using our tool could gain your organization the feedback you need, set up a free demo today.

The Top Perks to Boost Your 2020 Employee Benefits Package

Benefits. You want the best for your team, but studies show that the benefit packages offered often don’t match up to the perks employees actually need. The good news is that feedback can be the key to unlocking the needs of your employee benefits package.

What do employees really want?

As we explored this topic, we noticed several trends surfacing in a variety of the studies we reviewed:

Telecommuting and flexibility in scheduling: It’s no secret that we’re becoming more and more connected. As technology improves, we’re enabled now more than ever before to complete our duties remotely — and workers are noticing. Two of the top three most valuable work perks are more flexible schedules and the ability to telecommute, according to a recent Robert Half survey.

“Not every industry is going to be able to offer telecommuting as a benefit, but what we’re seeing is that even industries that historically could not operate remotely are using technology to achieve this goal,” said Cindy Wincek, Sr. Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “Take telehealth, for instance. A quick search on a job board will uncover the growing demand for remote telehealth nurses, and many job listings highlight the ability to work from home. This also goes for telehealth as a service for a dispersed workforce. Make sure your employees can remotely connect with a healthcare provider.”

Transparency: Back in 2016, Glassdoor predicted that overall company transparency would give employers an advantage over companies that held their cards close to their chest. Why? From Glassdoor’s perspective, employees are searching for jobs much in the same way as consumers purchase goods. Consumers and job seekers alike search for reviews and additional information online — and if they come up short, they may feel there is something to hide.

“Requesting regular, ongoing feedback from your teams is one way to stay ahead of the game on this touchy subject,” said Wincek. “If you’re aware of issues as they’re happening, you have the opportunity to address them. When issues go unheard or aren’t handled properly, employees may turn to social media, company reviews, or other outlets that could dissuade a quality candidate from pursuing employment at your business.”

On the flip side, a company that has a positive presence feeds into this growing trend toward openness and mutual respect in the workplace.

Feedback as a benefit (for your employees and for you)

The common thread we noticed in all of these concepts is that requesting feedback from your employees can be a benefit to them, as well as to your business.

“If you’re using an anonymous feedback tool like WorkHound to solicit your employees’ thoughts and wishes, you’re no longer guessing about what they want or creating a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to your company benefits package,” said Wincek. “Instead, you’re opening the line of communication to allow your employees to provide regular feedback about what they like, what they don’t like, and what could be changed to improve your benefits.”

And through this exercise, you’re boosting your overall company culture, retaining talent, and attracting great new hires.

Talk about a work perk we can all support.

If you’re interested in seeing how WorkHound can be a benefit to your team and your business, request a demo today!

WorkHound Secures $1.5 Million Seed Round Funding

The fundraising round gives the feedback platform that reduces avoidable employee turnover the capital it needs to dive deeper into the supply chain realm, while expanding into new industries.

WorkHound announced today that the company has successfully completed a fundraising seed round of $1.5 million. The capital will, in large part, be used to add to the company’s technology team headcount and support its growth deeper into the logistics space and additional industries.

“To date, we’ve been fortunate to fuel WorkHound growth primarily with our revenues,” said Co-Founder and CEO, Max Farrell. “But as we eye an aggressive expansion into new industries, as well as building out our transportation and supply chain presence, raising a substantial seed round became imperative for us. This capital will enable us to hire more top-notch talent who will power us into the next phase of our company.”

WorkHound was launched in 2015 by Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani in Des Moines, Iowa. Today, WorkHound is a dual-office company with anchors in Des Moines, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tenn.

How it works: The WorkHound platform enables employers to receive instant and anonymous workforce feedback so management can address those matters as part of their employee retention efforts. Initially, the company focused on the trucking space since driver turnover is a pain point experienced across that industry. However, as WorkHound grows, leadership is eyeing a rollout into additional sectors, such as non-hospital healthcare, that feature large distributed workforces.

"Among other positions, this funding will allow us to aggressively grow our engineering team. We have strong core talent and are excited to add several experienced developers,” said Co-Founder and CTO, Andrew Kirpalani. “We need more people on our team who consider the word 'average' to be substandard. This capital will allow us to attract and compensate those people appropriately. We have developed a roadmap of features to be implemented with cutting edge technologies like machine learning and we're eager to bring on the people that will help us deliver that value to our customers."

The fundraising round was led by San Francisco-based Right Side Capital Management, and included other notable funds such as SaaS Ventures, Stout Street Capital, Acceleprise, SpringTime Ventures, and Comeback Capital.

“We’re very excited about WorkHound because employee retention is such a pertinent issue in today’s work environment. Their customers are seeing dramatic reductions in employee turnover, which of course goes straight to their bottom lines,” said David Lambert, Managing Director of Right Side Capital Management. “We believe the WorkHound product is relevant to any industry that has high-skilled employees in high turnover positions. Their growth has been exceptional to date, and we see that continuing for a long time.”

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Why WorkHound is telematics for drivers

The addition of computers into vehicles is still relatively new, dating back only a few decades. Over time, computing and data have steadily taken on a larger role in how vehicles perform, particularly in the trucking industry where vehicles can run over 100,000 miles per year.

That data, known as telematics, can seemingly do it all these days — helping us know how to drive more carefully and what’s happening under the hood. And that’s great because it helps us know and better understand how to optimize the performance of a truck.

But what if you could tap into telematics that would help you better understand how to optimize the performance of your drivers while also improving their job satisfaction?

Well, you can. Enter WorkHound.

Keeping a Finger on the Pulse of Employees

One of the biggest problems faced in hiring and retaining truck drivers is not truly understanding what drivers are facing at any given time. Couple that with a reluctance for employees to share their insight, a belief that leaving feedback is too difficult to explain, or it's possible they’re not even asked to share.

No matter the reason, the end result is the same. Without feedback, you can be completely unaware of why drivers are dissatisfied with some aspect of their work.

That’s why a tool like WorkHound is important.

“This is about maintaining a finger on the pulse of your personnel and keeping a general idea of what is going on with your workers at all times,” says Katie Love, Customer Success Manager at Workhound. “This tool becomes a part of your operations, checking in with employees to see what is going on, especially when you’ve brought on new drivers.”

But it goes beyond simply providing a method of keeping tabs on new hires. WorkHound also provides an ongoing and easy mechanism for drivers to share their feedback at any time, especially when they’re facing challenges.

“In general, the nature of the job of a professional driver is very hard,” Love says. “It is strenuous on the body and mental health — and ultimately, if a company isn’t working hard to nurture their people and make them feel they have a place and support, the drivers probably won’t be in it for the long haul. If a driver isn’t given the opportunity to vent, the driver will look for it in other places and could use social media or interactions with another company to damage your brand.

“On the other hand, if you give them opportunities for feedback and the driver has a more positive perception of being supported and heard, your company can reach out about that concern and have an honest, human conversation. It may even provide the opportunity to intervene.”

To date, when WorkHound customers have been able to have conversations with drivers who have revealed their identities, at least 90% of these drivers have been retained for an additional 30 days.

Regular Feedback, Not Just Occasional

While many companies survey their drivers every so often, it’s much more effective to have continual insight into how drivers are feeling and doing. When given the opportunity to share their feedback at all times, drivers are more likely to share when there’s an issue.

“We know that a driver can be happy on Monday, something ticks him off on Tuesday and there are so many available opportunities for drivers that they can have a completely new job by Friday,” Love says. “Real-time feedback is important because satisfaction can change so quickly.”

After all, you keep a careful eye on how your trucks are performing, so why shouldn’t you also know how your drivers are doing?

Ready to see how WorkHound can help keep your drivers satisfied with your company? Let us go to work for you. Request a demo today!

Negative Feedback: How to Tame Your Knee-Jerk Reactions

Let’s face it. Taking criticism is never easy, especially at work. But when you’re a manager, it’s your job to make good use of feedback — even when it involves you, your peers, or other areas of the business.

Having a leadership role doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but it does mean you’re called to a higher standard. And for good reason. When internal divisions persist at a company, the effect can be destabilizing.

“Negativity has a knack for spreading, particularly at companies that don’t take it seriously,” said Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success for WorkHound. “When their workforce thins out and they start losing customers, the damage can be tough to reverse.”

Wherever your employee dynamics currently stand, it’s wise to consider your approach to feedback — both in how you request it from your workers and in how you react to it — long before an issue arises. The way you handle negativity sets the tone for everyone around you. And if being better in conflict feels overwhelming, don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to check your perspective.

The next time you catch yourself having a knee-jerk reaction, here are some practices to avoid and embrace:

Try to Avoid...

Letting emotions flare

Alright, it’s easier said than done. But think about it: How many times have you let your feelings jump ahead of the actual situation at hand? Whether it’s about you or a team member, oftentimes the best way to process negative feedback is to take a step back.

“If a worker leaves critical feedback about you or a cohort on your team, try tapping into your emotional intelligence before getting too carried away,” said Vanderford. “One piece of criticism is never the whole picture, so do your best not to take it out of context.”

Bottom line: When reviewing feedback, don’t put the focus on yourself. Your priority is to identify what the worker is saying, why it matters, and what you can do about it.

Rushing to point fingers

When uncomfortable feedback rolls in, never try to guess who’s behind it. If you spend your time trying to determine who said what, you’ll miss the point of the entire process. On WorkHound, communications are anonymous for a reason. That's why we leave it up to the worker to reveal their identity.

“People who ask for changes or clarifications are typically those who want to stay at the company,” said Vanderford. “If they don’t feel comfortable voicing their concerns, your company loses out on valid perspectives.”

And in many cases, an opinion expressed by one employee is actually the opinion of many.

“The goal is to build worker trust,” said Vanderford. “That means honoring the expectation of anonymity. Even if one of your reviewers is able to link identifying details to a specific piece of feedback, it doesn’t mean their assessment is correct.”

Try to Embrace...

Boiling down the message

If you find yourself getting defensive about a negative review, remember to try and strip away negativity to unveil important details. When you look closely, you may be surprised at what you find. A review fueled with negative emotions may have some valuable information inside.

“Don’t let negative language distract from the issues hiding beneath it,” said Vanderford. “Oftentimes when a worker has been harboring discomfort for a while, they’ll wait to speak up until they have reached a breaking point.”

For instance, an employee may have an issue with a time off policy, while also dealing with medical expenses they’ve incurred as a result of an ongoing health problem. This may lead them to leaving an emotionally charged message about their manager’s inflexibility with the sick time policy, when what they’re actually trying to suggest is more leniency or medical leave in times of need.

When you provide a solution to a long-standing issue, that negative becomes a positive and a great opportunity to not only keep a worker but to also grow your workforce.

Seeing feedback as an opportunity to improve your company culture

At the end of the day, taking criticism can be tough — but when you start to view it as a necessary and critical component to the forward momentum and success of your business, you and your team will only benefit.

“Feedback should be reviewed strategically in the work environment,” said Vanderford. “It’s a tool for tracking trends, understanding your workers, and adjusting your path forward. And not all adjustments require massive change. In some cases, simply acknowledging issues and taking small steps toward updating policies can make all the difference.”

Some changes are bigger than others. And sure, maybe you can’t always control how some of your workers feel. But understanding your influence over some of the underlying issues is a great place to begin building or enhancing your company’s feedback culture.

WorkHound provides an easy-to-use feedback platform that gives employees a voice. If you’re ready to learn how WorkHound could improve the feedback culture at your business or organization, request a demo today.

How worker feedback is the key to recruiting

Companies that start using WorkHound initially expect to only see negative anonymous feedback from workers — and while our data shows that more than 70 percent of employee feedback is negative (and negative feedback is the road map to help make big changes – check out our 2018 trends), that statistic alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

When handled appropriately, even negative feedback can be used to create positive outcomes.

We’ve found that positive feedback comes in small, frequent doses and that the comments are fairly general and less specific than negative comments. “I’m happy here at my company” or “Love my job” are typical of the positive responses we see when employees are prompted by WorkHound to tell us about their workweek. It might be tempting to write these comments off, but they actually provide a useful opportunity for recruitment.

How Does Feedback Help with Recruitment?

Recruitment is one of the biggest issues facing the trucking industry. Drivers often work as contractors, and one bad experience can lead drivers to find a job at another company. Drivers often spend their downtime scanning online job boards, looking for new opportunities or a path away from their current employer.

When a driver leaves a positive comment on WorkHound, companies can use our reach-out tool to thank him or her for that feedback. Management can ask for more specific details to drill down into why employees are happy right now, and even offer them incentives to help spread the word about their positive experiences.

And What About Referrals?

Referrals, another feature of the WorkHound platform, asks drivers to share hiring information with other qualified, experienced professional drivers in their networks — whether it’s a former coworker, family member, or friend. Referrals are sometimes paired with financial incentives for both the person who refers a driver and the person who accepts the opportunity.

The referral process gives companies the chance to replicate a driver’s positive experiences. It helps happy drivers use word-of-mouth reviews to recruit others and grow the company’s fleet — and we’ve found that word gets around between drivers. When their positive experiences become known, recruitment efforts are significantly enhanced. WorkHound customers like Cold Carriers even share referral incentives in their weekly broadcasts. As we say at WorkHound, “a happy driver is the best recruiter.”

A Strategic Partnership

WorkHound meets with companies every week to track feedback, get insight into how they’re taking action in response to negative feedback, and craft broadcast communications to be sent out to the whole workforce. Positive feedback often appears in these communications, as well as in social media content and other promotional materials.

The Bottom Line

Positive feedback shows a company what it’s doing right, but negative comments shouldn’t be seen as a nuisance. Negative feedback shows management what issues it needs to know about: Perhaps the conditions at a terminal aren’t up to a driver’s expectations. Maybe a pay policy is unclear or needs attention. These are issues that should be dealt with promptly.

Conversely, positive feedback can provide a perspective about the conditions, policies, and benefits employees are excited about. This feedback often comes when a company fixes a situation that previously caused stress in the driver’s professional life.

We’ve seen this numerous times in our conversations with companies. When they start using WorkHound, employees quickly tell them what they’re unhappy about. But once companies begin to remedy those issues, drivers intuitively understand that their voices are being heard. A negative situation last month, solved through company or policy changes, can lead to a positive experience the next.

If you’re ready to take an eyes-wide-open approach to employee retention, request a demo today!

WorkHound’s Guide to Taboo Feedback from Professional Drivers

High tensions, divisive opinions, charged sensitives — every company has them. But when conflicts pit employees against leadership, especially on topics like company policy, that’s a bigger issue. When you’re a manager and you’re busy, wading into a problem with no clear alternative can seem risky, especially when it's easier to say "that's just the way it is" without a clear response.

But in a competitive industry like trucking where workers are in short supply, the biggest risk is to ignore the problem, even when their feedback is about something as taboo as pay, speed, or in-cab recording devices.

The better move is to make a big change where it counts.

At WorkHound, we’ve built our business around soliciting driver feedback and taking action on it in real-time. We wanted to share some of the most common concerns our customers hear from their teams, along with recommendations for successful solutions.

Speed Limits vs. Drivers’ Limits

Capping driving speeds below the legal limit is standard practice for companies in the trucking industry. And for many drivers, it’s a standard headache — especially for those who are paid by the mile. Slowdowns on the road inevitably find their way to the driver’s wallet. Add federal drive-time restrictions to the mix, and the frustrations compound. To complicate the problem further, speed caps vary from company to company and some are more lenient than others. Drivers know that, but they don’t always know why.

How to Shift Course: At its core, the speed limit issue is about pay. The fact that speed caps vary from company to company can leave workers skeptical about who the speed caps actually serve. While limits on drive time and other federal regulations are outside your control, your compensation structure isn’t. Consider implementing a system that offsets losses drivers incur due to traffic jams and reduced speed limits, and remember to work with your employees to ensure the changes fairly honor their concerns.

Event Recorders: Good for Who?

Vocations like trucking have long been an oasis for workers who value independence on the job. So it’s not surprising then, that new technologies like event recorders are a common source of resentment among drivers. Thanks to these devices, companies can now monitor everything from truck speed to mechanical error, while also protecting their drivers, all in real time. For employers, electronic recorders are great safeguards against liability. But for drivers, they can feel invasive and adversarial. Allowing discontent over this issue to go unattended can endanger workers’ morale, which is why it’s important to engage drivers’ opinions early and often.

How to Shift Course: Start by rooting out your drivers’ perceptions and misperceptions about event recorders. Workers should know these devices are ultimately meant to protect their safety. They can help discourage practices that put drivers at risk, such as texting and driving or standing up to back in and out of loading zones, rather than trusting the rearview mirror. Electronic recorders can also shed light on common challenges drivers are encountering on the job. These insights inform training priorities and curriculum so workers are safer and better equipped to handle obstacles as they arise. And when accidents do occur, data collected on truck speeds and other variables can help shield drivers from blame and liability.

Pay Grievances: Kick Uncertainty to the Curb

This is a big one. In an industry where worker retention is an ongoing difficulty, the payment system your company employs is consequential. Here’s how chinks in some of the most common systems play out for your workers:

Practical Mileage or Hub Mileage: In practical mileage, drivers are dispatched to drive the most efficient distance between the origin and the destination, thus drivers are paid the dispatched distance rather than the actual distance. For hub mileage, drivers are paid the actual mileage on the truck, including all hours of service miles accrued including stops and reroutes. In either scenario, when a driver is dispatched for only one load a day and the distance is short, so is the pay. If these types of assignments become a pattern, financial planning can become pretty difficult for drivers.

Household Goods Mileage (HHG): HHG miles are calculated and paid out using the shortest distance between two zip codes. Restricting compensation to the distance between departure and destination zones does not account for the mileage traveled within them. And when those ZIP codes encompass large areas, the work-to-earnings ratio can be pretty unfavorable. Adding to that frustration are impractical policies that require workers to take the shortest route possible — even if it includes roads unsuitable for trucks or jammed with traffic.

Percentage Pay: Generally, the system of paying drivers a percentage of profits on individual load deliveries is considered fair and often favorable. But in certain scenarios, it has its drawbacks. When the value of loads drops or fluctuates too frequently, drivers can end up in a financial bind and persistent state of stress.

How to Shift Course: Try implementing the guaranteed compensation system. Each pay period, this model provides qualified drivers with a minimum baseline pay to offset any potential income irregularities that could jeopardize their financial stability. Companies can offer this option as an incentive to workers and potential hires who agree to meet eligibility requirements, such as availability.

To Move Ahead, Talk to Your Workers

Your workforce is the lifeblood of your company. If you want to keep your drivers committed, make them and their concerns a priority. The best way to start is by asking for their feedback.

WorkHound provides an easy-to-use feedback platform that gives employees a voice. If you’re ready to learn how using our tool could improve the feedback culture at your business or organization, request a demo today.

So your company won’t change? Here’s how to fix it:

Change is hard. No matter how young or old your business is, change can be difficult to accept. Even leaders with the best of intentions learn that a policy change could have a drastically different impact on workers than what was intended during the planning phase.

But at the end of the day, change is an inevitable part of running a successful business. That’s why we wanted to share some of the most common reasons leaders may be reluctant to change, along with tips for seeking out and encouraging change within your organization.

Myth #1: “Old habits die hard.”

The truth: “Old habits die hard, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…” As a culture, we’ve come up with kitschy sayings that excuse our inability to adapt. The reality is that old habits are difficult to break, and new ones can be difficult to learn and implement. But if you’re made aware of an issue that’s affecting your employees’ productivity or workplace satisfaction, you really can’t afford not to address those issues head-on.

Our tip: Successfully implementing new policy is complex. But one way we encourage our clients to think through change is to truly consider how a particular change is going to impact the individuals who will be carrying out the new policy — and then ask them for their input.

“When workers feel they have a voice in new policy decisions, they are far more likely to comply with and have a positive attitude about the changes,” said Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success at WorkHound. “Additionally, if a particular change is the result of feedback you’ve received from your team, let them know that. They’ll feel heard and valued and know that their thoughts and ideas are taken seriously — all of which contribute to a healthier, happier workforce.”

Myth #2: “Change is expensive.”

The truth: As with Myth #1, this reason for avoiding change can be true. But if you think change is expensive, let’s talk about worker turnover.

According to the NSI National Health Care Retention and RN Staffing Report, it costs an average of $52,100 to replace a bedside nurse. Consider a scenario in which a festering issue goes unresolved, and four nurses leave within a month of one another. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses — not to mention the loss of experience and organizational knowledge.

Our tip: If you’re considering the human capital cost of putting time into reworking outdated policy or the sticker price of an internal review or feedback system that could enhance transparency and communication within your organization, we challenge you to compare those costs to employee turnover. (We have a hunch that the cost of change won’t seem quite so exorbitant when considered in this light.)

Myth #3: “Our workers never complain, so they must be happy.”

The truth: If your workers aren’t presenting problems to leadership, there’s a good chance they don’t feel their feedback would be well received. In many cases, workers withhold valuable insights because they fear they will be treated differently for sharing candid feedback or because they simply feel it’s a waste of time and energy. This is just one of the reasons why an "open-door policy" might not be enough to earn worker trust.

Our tip: Prompt your employees to offer feedback — and then do something with it.

“Helping employees see that feedback is welcomed and championed takes time,” said Vanderford. “It’s really a trust-building process where people begin to see that you listen, you don’t retaliate if they have negative experiences to share, and you implement changes that support their needs.”

And once you've made the change based on worker feedback, be sure to celebrate it by giving your worker feedback the credit it deserves.

Ready to Change?

WorkHound is a great option for employers hoping to understand where to prioritize change while also building a confident feedback culture. Not only does our tool help you collect invaluable anonymous feedback, but our team can help you develop a plan of action for responding to it.

Click here to learn more about our platform, or request a demo. We’d be happy to help you learn more about what feedback can do for your organization.

How to build the right team to review worker feedback

When you’re operating in an industry where jobs are more abundant than workers, losing talent to a competitor is an ongoing risk. It can be hard to know when an employee is planning to jump ship, and it can be even more challenging to bounce back when several of them choose to leave at once.

But even in competitive labor markets, high employee turnover doesn’t have to be a given. For companies that want to keep talent, few resources are more valuable than honest feedback from workers, even beyond an open door policy.

Those insights, coupled with the right response from leadership, can have a powerful impact on both employee retention and the company’s long-term stability.

Before that can happen, though, the feedback must first fall into the right hands. And if it doesn’t, that’s where the positive opportunities break down.

Encouraging Quick Action

“For many employees, the idea of speaking openly with management about their work experiences can feel intimidating or even futile,” said Katie Love, Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “That’s why it’s essential that the managers who are tasked with reviewing it are properly empowered to respond. They need to have the authority to make changes, the training to handle sensitive issues in the workplace, and the capacity to respond in a timely manner.”

At many companies, worker feedback review teams include one or more members of the HR Department and other managers or company leaders responsible for employee retention. Regardless of job titles, qualified reviewers typically have the authority to make broad internal changes or decisions that arise from the feedback process.

“If the people on your review team have to run proposed responses through a long chain of command before taking action, it puts the feedback process at risk,” said Love. “When employees feel their questions and concerns are being ignored or are not being taken seriously, trust and morale can take a hit.”

Companies that are truly serious about strengthening their employee retention efforts will already have buy-in at the highest levels of leadership, said Love.

In practice, that might mean higher-level managers will sit on the review team, or it may mean that others with similarly relevant decision-making capabilities will assume the responsibility as a core function of their job.

Equipping Teams for Difficult Interactions

The ability to implement change is not the only critical qualification for sitting on a feedback review team, however. Tough feedback can be hard to swallow, especially if it comes off as personal. This is why it's important to know if and when you're ready.

Knowing how to maintain an open mind and remain professional while bearing the brunt of criticism is an essential part of the process. Ideal reviewers have already been trained to handle sensitive workplace issues or have a track record of success in this area.

“Overly defensive attitudes can subvert the employee feedback process entirely,” said Love. “The idea is to build trust between employees and employers. It is never wise to try to find out who left negative feedback or to retaliate in any way. There’s always a productive alternative. That’s why having the right reviewers in the room is so critical. These are the people who can see the big picture and are best equipped to help identify it.”

And when the right people are in place, she explained, that’s when the breakthroughs happen.

“We’ve seen time and time again that when companies engage the interests and concerns of their workers, they feel valued and choose to stay,” said Love. “Even in industries where workers are in high demand, people will often commit to companies they feel are committed to them. So when you equip your leadership to create that environment, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

WorkHound provides an easy-to-use feedback platform that gives employees a voice. If you’re ready to learn how using our tool could improve the feedback culture at your business or organization, request a demo today.

Exit Interviews: An Autopsy

The notice is in, the papers have been signed, and now you’re down an employee. Though it’s too late to reverse course, you still want to know why this individual opted to leave the company. That’s where the exit interview comes in. It’s your last shot to find out what went wrong, and you want to make it count.

Feedback about an employee’s experience on the job is critical for refining your company’s retention efforts. But how much meaningful information can you gather when that individual already has one foot out the door?

To departing employees, being candid about the choice to leave your company can sometimes feel like a lost cause. Oftentimes, there’s little incentive to engage in an uncomfortable conversation when a new job is already waiting in the wings.

And then there’s the matter of whether or not these individuals felt their feedback was valued to begin with. Did they express their concerns while still employed? If they did, were those issues ever addressed? And if they didn’t, what was the hesitation?

In an exit interview, these insights are key. You may learn the decision had nothing to do with working conditions and everything to do with more a more compelling offer from one of your competitors. Or perhaps it was another reason entirely. Maybe this person felt disconnected from management and simply wanted a change.

Whatever the reason, it’s up to you to incorporate these insights into your employee retention strategy. Your ability to prevent further departures often depends on it.

Don’t Wait to Ask

However, you don’t have to wait until a worker leaves to find out what went wrong. In many scenarios, engaging in honest dialogue with current employees can prevent them from leaving to begin with. You just have to listen and make the most of what you learn.

“An employee retention strategy that relies too heavily on exit interviews is bound to fall short on its potential,” said Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO. “If you engage in regular conversations with your workers about their experiences on the job, you get an opportunity to address their concerns before they decide to leave.”

When you have a distributed workforce and employees start feeling isolated, Farrell explained, being a proactive communicator can make the difference between keeping and losing your talent. But initiating the conversation is just the first step.

“Dialogue without trust is a dead end when it comes to keeping employees happy,” he said. “It’s important to show your workers that their feedback matters in tangible, actionable ways.”

Take this scenario, for example: Say an employee is having trouble enrolling his wife on the company insurance policy and feels he’s getting the runaround from those responsible for helping. Feeling frustrated, he articulates the problem through your company’s employee feedback platform.

This is your opportunity to step in and make him feel heard. Whether the issue is due to an administrative error or simply unclear communications about the policy itself, it’s important to be responsive and admit fault so the worker feels his concern is valid.

And if resolving the issue entirely on the employee’s terms is not a possibility, use this challenge as an opportunity to meet in the middle. A meaningful compromise, even if not ideal, can go a long way in making workers feel valued.

In a competitive labor market, reciprocity is everything. Engaging in open dialogue with your employees is an investment in the future. Successful companies are built on strong teams, and finding the smartest ways to keep them starts now, not later.

WorkHound provides an easy-to-use feedback platform that gives employees a voice. If you’re ready to learn how using our tool could improve the feedback culture at your business or organization, request a demo today.