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 Cindy Wincek, Sr. 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 Wincek. “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 Wincek.
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 Wincek. “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 Wincek. “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, talk with an expert today.