David Hassell

No doubt you’ve fine-tuned the art of communicating to your employees. But what about turning the tables the other way? Since employees are closest to your business, they are the most likely source of new and innovative ideas. Do you really know how to tap into that valuable resource and what to do with that data once you have it? Read on, to find out.

Get feedback regularly and often to help keep small issues from becoming big problems. These days, workplace conflicts can pop up quickly, and just as quickly be overshadowed by the Next Big Issue. That’s why gathering feedback is not only vital to do, it is vital to do regularly and often. If feedback reveals a few issues that can easily be addressed and resolved in their infancy, they won’t rear their ugly heads six months from now as hideous beasts that are difficult to contain.

Make it easy for employees to provide regular feedback. Cumbersome, time-eating meetings and tedious self-evaluating surveys rarely work. But if your feedback vehicle is easy and quick for employees to contribute to, they’ll incorporate it into their weekly routine and you’ll have data to work with all the time.

Invest in a feedback vehicle that’s priced right for your organization. Don’t over-invest in something that saps overhead with development, implementation, compilation and evaluation costs. Employees won’t take the time to use it, you won’t see the value, and you’ll scrap it and be right back where you started.

Draw insights from the collective feedback. Make sure information that’s gleaned from your employees is reported in a way that allows you to draw conclusions from the information you’ve gathered, as well. Piles of data are of no use if they don’t lead you to clear strategies about what actions to take strategically within your organization, right now.

Act quickly on insights to resolve issues. Resist the urge to gather data, draw conclusions, then consider it a job well done. Insights are only as great as the actions they motivate. Strive to get actionable insights from every information-gathering effort you make within the organization.

Get it right the first time, so small issues don’t snowball. When you find a problem -- act fast and act thoroughly. Strive to find the root, what’s involved, who’s involved. Listen closely to employee suggestions for solutions. You can contain small problems. But leave them to fester, and they can easily become a virus that infects the morale company-wide.

So, listen. Keep listening. And, quickly act on what you learn. It all adds up to getting the best information and ideas from those who represent the most valuable asset your business has: employees.

David Hassell is a serial entrepreneur and presently Founder & CEO of 15Five, a SaaS company focused on helping individuals and organizations reach their highest potential. Hailed by Fast Company as the "15 Most Important Minutes of Your Work Week" 15Five creates an internal communication process that enables the most important information to flow seamlessly throughout an organization, to surface issues before they become problems, to celebrate wins, discover great ideas and stay tuned in to the morale of the team. David formerly served as President of the San Francisco chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization and was named "The Most Connected Man You Don't Know in Silicon Valley" by Forbes.


Martin's picture
These are some very valuable tips on managing your employees. With some of my more difficult employees, simply showing that the challenges of their job was recognized and appreciated made a world of difference in their attitude and performance. At my company we accomplished this by an open-door policy and an anonymous email service.

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