Employee feedback is important for HR professionals to understand how well teams are running and how managers are leading their teams. Yet sometimes workers choose to only say what their HR departments and managers want to hear, instead of communicating about what they are truly feeling and seeing in the workplace. This honesty is crucial, because without the truth, HR professionals are unable to have effective human capital management. This lack of sincere communication can also negatively impact talent management and retention at the company because HR professionals may not be able to accurately identify the state of the workforce's morale.
Here are four ways HR professionals can encourage honest employee feedback:
1. Advise Managers to Be Truthful with Workers
Employees often follow their leaders' actions, and one of the best things HR professionals can do is to encourage managers to be honest when workers ask them hard questions. According to Inc. magazine, leaders who provide useful feedback can motivate workers to do the same.
2. Have Open Door Policies
HR professionals need to be open to receiving feedback, and having an open door policy is a great way to do this. According to Entrepreneur magazine, an open door policy means more than just leaving the office door part-way open – it means being approachable. Workers aren't going to take up offers to talk whenever needed if their HR professionals aren't accessible and receptive to the information they are being presented.
Entrepreneur also noted HR professionals need to reiterate that they have open door policies in place. Leaders must ensure workers feel as if they aren't necessarily winning time with their HR professionals, but rather believe it is a right they have within the workplace.
3. Listen and Acknowledge During One-on-One Meetings
Workers may feel as if they aren't allowed to say what they need to if their concerns aren't taken seriously on a regular basis. According to TLNT, HR professionals need to allow workers to talk during individual discussions and show them their opinions and feelings are valued and acknowledged. Employees may be more apt to provide honest feedback when they feel it will be heard. Every time HR professionals are presented with information – even if it is negative – they need to respond without becoming defensive and show workers what they are saying is important. TLNT noted it can be easy for HR professionals to discourage all employees from giving truthful feedback if they shut workers down when they give it.
4. Develop Mechanisms that Allow Workers to Express Their Opinions
Town hall meetings and one-on-one discussions can give employees spaces in which to communicate their true feelings, but these ways to gaining feedback can backfire for HR professionals. Workers may feel as if they are setting themselves up as targets when they are giving feedback face to face. While these methods are beneficial, HR professionals should also adopt anonymous methods of communication that allow workers to think about what they want to say and for them to do so without fearing for their jobs.