Employee feedback gives team members an avenue to express their feelings and opinions on your company’s management team and organizational processes. But it can be hard to collect honest feedback from your team. Use these strategies to do so effectively.
Giving feedback is important if you want team members to reach their full potential. But sourcing effective, honest feedback is equally as critical in order to build—and improve—a healthy team.
When you know how to give and receive feedback, you’ll strengthen team performance and develop an effective leadership style. After all, as a manager, your goal is to guide the team toward success and create a safe space for honest communication. Learn strategies to encourage employee feedback at every level—from interpersonal to organizational.
Employee feedback allows team members to express their feelings and opinions on management and organizational processes. Companies often focus on giving feedback to employees, but getting feedback from employees is also beneficial.
When you encourage upward feedback, you’re giving your team members a chance to feel heard. Ultimately, employee feedback can help strengthen your management style and improve team synergy.Free employee satisfaction survey template
Employee feedback is important at every level, but it most commonly happens at three levels: interpersonal, team, and organizational.
On the interpersonal level: This represents 1:1 feedback between a manager and employee. Effective interpersonal feedback can increase team trust and improve the relationship between a manager and their employee.
On the team level: This represents feedback from (and between) the broader team. Collecting team-feedback can help you understand team dynamics and build effective relationships.
On the organizational level: You may not be involved in collecting organizational feedback, but as a manager you can encourage your team to participate in that feedback—and share results, if you have any. Sharing and collecting feedback on the organizational level is important to encourage transparency and build an effective organizational culture.
As a manager, your role is to build trust to ensure your team feels supported enough to give honest organizational feedback. In turn, your team members can strengthen their communication skills when they feel comfortable and willing to provide feedback on each of these levels.
The best time to ask for employee feedback depends on the level of feedback. Depending on the level, you may need to change your approach.
Below are the ideal times based on the different levels:
Interpersonal feedback: The best time to ask for interpersonal feedback is right after you give a team member feedback. As a manager, it’s your goal to build a good relationship, ask specific questions, and source this type of feedback at the same time you give your own feedback.
Team feedback: Source broader team feedback at important milestones. The best time to do this is at the end or beginning of a period of time—like an end of quarter review or end of year review.
Organizational feedback: Source on a predictable schedule that works for everyone, like biannually. This is typically done by the HR or leadership team.
As a manager, the trust you build at the interpersonal and team level will make your team feel more confident and comfortable being honest at the organizational level.
Team members won’t always feel prepared to give feedback face to face. In addition to asking them individually for their opinions, offer an anonymous way to submit feedback that they can fill out at a later date. That way, team members can express themselves without hesitation.
It’s difficult to know whether team members are being forthright with you when you ask for their feedback. Use the tips below to create a respectful, communicative environment.
Team members who trust you are more likely to give you an honest answer. However, trust takes time, so be patient while building that foundation. The best way to gain team members’ trust is to match your words to your actions. Let everyone know from day one that you plan to be honest with them, and encourage them to be honest with you in return.Read: How to lead by example, according to one Asana leader
Anonymity provides a blanket of safety for team members that may be shy or nervous about expressing themselves. Even team members that trust you may not feel comfortable offering constructive criticism because they’re unsure of themselves or don’t know what to say in the moment. Offer additional, anonymous ways to share so team members have time to process their feelings.
Asking the right questions can be the difference in receiving no feedback versus receiving multiple, useful responses. Consider the following scenarios:
Scenario 1: You ask for employee feedback in person. The only question you ask is, “Do you have any feedback for me?” Most team members respond by saying, “Not off the top of my head” or “No, I think you’re doing well.”
Scenario 2: You ask for employee feedback with a detailed survey. You include specific questions, such as “In what ways could your team’s dynamic improve?” and “What would strengthen the relationship with your manager?” Team members give specific responses that address each question.
In the first scenario, team members must come up with feedback for you without guidance. In the second scenario, you’re requesting specific information from team members, which makes it easier for them to respond.
Let team members know you take their concerns seriously. If you notice trends in the feedback you receive, you’ll know that the feedback is worth addressing. For example, if multiple team members say they struggle to launch a project, they may need more guidance during project planning.
Whenever this happens, express to the team that you’ve heard their concerns and plan to make changes. When team members see you make those changes, they’ll feel valued and respected.Free employee satisfaction survey template
There are many ways to collect employee feedback. Offer various opportunities for team members to express themselves so you receive detailed responses. The employee feedback examples below can give you ideas on how to gather feedback.
After a team member completes onboarding and their 30-60-90 day plan, source feedback on the experience. Ideally, collect this feedback in a questionnaire that asks specific questions about the onboarding process. Questionnaires work well for new team members because you may not have a strong relationship with them yet.
What did you like about the onboarding process? What could have been improved?
Which aspect of the job are you excited about? Which are you worried about?
What would be the best use of our 1-on-1 time?
What area of the company would you like to learn more about?
Surveys are a great tool to gauge not just engagement, but honest feedback. It’s a tool to identify how an employee is feeling about their role, the team, and the organization.
Responses can shine a light on manager performance, employee sentiment, and give teams a voice to help drive organizational growth.
Do you find your work for [organization] meaningful?
Do you feel like [your manager] is invested in your success?
Do you have a clear path for career development at [organization]?
How can leadership improve at [organization]?
Performance reviews provide a space for you to both give and receive feedback. Check in during a meeting with your team and create an open dialogue. Follow up any feedback you give by asking team members to share how they feel.
Which goals did you meet this [timeframe]? Which goals fell short?
What accomplishments are you most proud of this [timeframe]?
What deliverables were you least proud of this [timeframe]? Why?
What goals will you focus on in the next [timeframe]?
Exit interviews are a valuable tool for receiving effective employee feedback. When a team member leaves the company, set up an exit interview on their last day of work. Parting team members may be more likely to give you transparent responses.
What is your main reason for leaving [organization]?
What does the [organization] do well? What could be improved?
How could we have supported you to continue in [role]?
How can [organization] improve our training and development?
Team members perform better when you meet their needs. To improve performance and group dynamics, ask for employee feedback and, most importantly, listen.
Receiving feedback is the first step—but once you have the feedback, you need to act on it. Once you receive feedback, use project management software to record your responses and take action. Asana provides a shared source of truth so team members can see the changes you make in real time. When team members know you value their feedback, they’ll value yours in return.Free employee satisfaction survey template