Do you want to get more employees to provide feedback on your intranet? Make sure you're listening to them. You'll get more comments if your staff believes their voices will be heard, considered and acted upon.
This really is a cultural issue. Companies that model a consensual decision-making style have no problem gathering employee feedback. Their cultures are transparent and inclusive, not risk-averse.
Here are five ways to encourage employees to offer feedback:
1. Get a direct appeal from a senior leader.
A straightforward, honest and sincere appeal from a senior leader is the best way to approach this issue. And, the senior leader's blog is an appropriate channel in which to share it.
The blog post should clearly state why the leader requires employee feedback—to guide her decision-making process—and include examples of how feedback changed her thinking in the past. If applicable, ask the leader to acknowledge past mistakes to emphasize the importance of gathering direct, unfiltered employee feedback.
2. Ask for feedback on relevant topics.
The senior leader's blog post must be relevant to the work people do every day. The senior leader should find out which topics resonate most with the workforce readership. Toby Ward offers an example where a CFO solicited ideas to save money for front-line workers.
This topic was within the workers' purview and was something they could comfortably speak about. The response was overwhelming.
3. Offer more than one way to provide feedback.
Employees should be able to provide feedback in a number of ways. For example, they should be able to like posts, share posts with colleagues via email or social media, and leave comments after each post or message.
The frequency and quality of these interactions are important success metrics. Two-way interaction should exist after every post or message, not just in a dedicated area for feedback. People want to weigh in on the post they are currently reading, not in a general feedback area.
4. Provide a feedback mechanism.
Every email and corporate message should have an option for feedback, or link to the full story on the intranet where there is place for employees to weigh in.
5. Build a culture of feedback.
Feedback should be part of your corporate culture. Encourage it not only at town halls and annual engagement surveys, but during one-on-one meetings, staff meetings, Web chats, and manager walk-arounds. Feedback should also be a vibrant tenet of the performance management process. Once you ingrain feedback into your culture, it will flow.
What best practices do you recommend to encourage feedback?
Dom Crincoli is a senior strategic consultant at Dulye & Co., and blogs at DomCrincoli.com where a version of this article originally appeared.