Understanding employee needs and concerns is a critical part of creating a thriving and engaged team. And what better way to get to know their needs and concerns than asking employees directly? Unfortunately, the long-preferred methods for gathering feedback — annual surveys and exit interviews — have inherent limitations that hinder their effectiveness.
Today we’re exploring some of these approaches and talking through why they fall short in capturing the real-time pulse of an organization.
Employees are human. And like any human, they can be influenced by emotions. Sometimes, emotions can be so powerful that decisions are made based on feelings instead of based on rational thought, which is where trouble can brew.
Emotions are natural and will exist in every workplace. It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a way for employees to channel their emotions so that they’re not put in a position where feelings are in the driver seat. This means creating a safe environment where they can share thoughts, concerns, and other feelings, without fear of reprisal. It also comes with the added responsibility of caring for those concerns and solving those issues on behalf of the employee.
Annual surveys aim to capture some of these feelings, giving employees a chance to sound off anonymously about what’s been bothering them. While the intention is right, the execution is all wrong. The problem is that surveys miss the nuances of these emotions — and any opportunity to do anything about them. Surveys may provide a snapshot of employee sentiment at a particular time, but by the time data analysis happens, that moment is long gone, along with the chance to fix the problem or change minds.
The pace of work in the contemporary workplace is rapid, and employees’ needs are ever-evolving. Relying solely on retrospective surveys hampers the ability to address current issues promptly, leading to missed opportunities for improvement and challenging the company’s ability to adapt to emerging challenges in real-time.
Exit interviews also have altruistic intentions: to have a frank conversation with an outgoing employee to understand how the company might learn lessons from their departure. Of course, these interviews are conducted when employees have already decided to leave, serving as a reactive measure rather than a proactive solution. While they can provide valuable insights into the reasons for departure, exit interviews offer little scope for retaining talented employees who might have left due to unresolved issues. By the time an exit interview is conducted, it is often too late to salvage the situation and retain the departing employee.
To bridge the emotional gap and stay connected with the pulse of the organization, employers need a more agile solution. Frequent, real-time feedback can capture employee sentiments and experiences as they occur, enabling employers to make data-driven decisions promptly and solve issues for their workers as they happen. This approach ensures a proactive response to evolving employee needs, ultimately fostering a culture of continuous improvement and a supportive work environment that keeps employees engaged.
Real-time employee engagement and anonymous feedback provide employers with an accurate understanding of their team’s sentiments on an ongoing basis. Armed with these real-time insights, employers can identify trends, address concerns promptly, and implement meaningful changes to boost employee morale and satisfaction.