Feedback from Employees: 3 Simple Questions to Ask

The first thing I do in any almost any new client engagement is survey their clients and employees. It’s critical to getting the information I need to get the results the client wants. It immediately tells me if the client is living their brand promise, if there are customer service issues that need to be addressed and if our messaging and positioning is on track.

It also yields an amazing amount of content such as case studies and testimonials. I’ll discuss surveying your clients in a future post. In this one, I want to tackle surveying your employees.

How do you get valuable feedback from employees about your company and its customers? Ask them. But just asking them for suggestions won’t work unless you’ve shown you’re open to ideas. That requires you build up trust.

You have to actually listen and acknowledge the ideas of your employees, even if you don’t end up using them.

Here are three useful questions to ask, to start the feedback ball rolling. (I was reminded of these in the book Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish, an excellent resource.)

Ask your employees a three-part question:

  1. What should we start doing?
  2. What should we stop doing?
  3. What should we continue doing?

This survey starts off by giving employees a chance to get things off their chests, especially if you haven’t been asking for their opinions a lot. It works well when you preface it by reminding them that no one knows their jobs better than they do. Where they come into contact with customers, no one knows the issues about customer service better than they do.

Some companies keep an online log of customer complaints and employee suggestions. The effectiveness of feedback from employees is contingent upon:

  • The level of trust in the culture (they have to know they’ll be heard and not dismissed)
  • The level of engagement and responsibility of employees (they have to care enough to see the problems)
  • The responsiveness of management (there has to be some acknowledgement of action taken or why it wasn’t taken)

You can compile the data, call a meeting, and brainstorm solutions for the more relevant issues. But it’s important to make this fun and creative, rather than a chore or a complaining session.

By using an electronic logging process you can track complaints and problems, both of employees and customers. This allows you to start seeing patterns so you can address the more relevant issues first.

In the work I do with some pretty smart business leaders, you’d be surprised at how many assume they know what the issues are. You can’t know unless you ask those people in the company who are closest to the action.