< Back to all blogs

How To Get Honest Feedback From Your Employees

David Law

Thu, 30 Apr, 2020

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes

It is no secret that happy employees are more effective and a positive environment in the workplace enhances well-being. Developing an environment in which workers can give you truthful feedback helps managers to be successful leaders and workers to feel engaged, creating commitment and loyalty.


There is plenty of interesting statistics on how workers actually feel. Development Dimensions International's global research found that 60 per cent of workers surveyed said their employer had damaged their self-esteem. And a Gallup survey found that after introducing feedback improvements, managers who received feedback on their strengths reported 8.9 per cent greater profitability. Yet how do you know if your employees are genuinely happy?


Here are a few tips on how to get honest feedback from employees …   


Do you have trust from your employees?


Having your employees trust is the first step in finding out how they really feel. Employees can be honest with you only if they trust you first. You want people to feel confident offering feedback and the best way to demonstrate your transparency is by showing you've incorporated ideas beforehand. When employees see that you are listening to their feedback and eager to make adjustments, they will then be more able to express their feelings.




Beware of nonverbal behaviours. Are there any particular business practices or circumstances creating stress among your employees? Is there a particular department that is less communicative than the others, or do you regularly see the same workers who work long hours? Feedback isn't usually formal. Daily check-in on people after work with a casual conversation, a coffee or in social settings.




Share plans with your employees, and recognise their problems. As a leader, you need to be honest about your own views around culture and performance and where you believe there are areas for change or a few weaknesses. An effective type of encouragement can be to lead by example. When people see you identify issues they know as well, they are more likely to express their own feelings or propose suggestions and solutions.


Understand their viewpoint 


Think about why your employees should give you constructive feedback or may choose to give it. Place yourself in their shoes and think about their possible objectives. Is it personal growth, a bridge between work and life or new opportunities? Will you satisfy those needs? Are there any obstacles facing your workers, or are they blocking their own path to success? And think about the way they would like being noticed. Would they prefer an anonymous survey, or e-mail or visually submit ideas?




Not everyone is going to feel comfortable providing feedback, especially if it's negative or a sensitive problem. If you're collecting input, you'll need to explain why you're doing it to staff, what it means and what the results will be. They need to know that their views do not have any consequences and affirm that you want to hear their thoughts, too. To ensure authenticity, allow online surveys to become anonymous. Those are easy to set up with software like Survey Monkey, or you could even go to a typical recommendation box in a communal area.


Ask the correct questions 


We don’t mean, ask the right questions to get the answers YOU WANT.  You should ask the right questions to get the answers YOU NEED.  On too many occasions, when gathering feedback, the employer even subconsciously can manipulate the style of the question to influence the answer outcome.  To prevent this, ensure that the creation of the survey is performed by both a senior and junior employee. Do not use questions with only YES or NO answers. Ask open-ended questions that will make them give thoughtful answers and then give people a space to add lots of comments.


Some popular examples are: 

  • What can be done to correct or change the process?

  • What part of your work is most meaningful?

  • When are you having the most fun at work?

  • Was there a recent conversation or team meeting, which you could not express your thoughts? If so, tell us more…..

  • Is there anything that makes you frustrated?

  • How do you feel about the company culture?


Implement change 


There is no point in gathering feedback, if you want to ignore it instead. Expect a real mix of both positive and negative reviews. Don't take it personally, and critically consider every opinion. Look at whether there are clear trends, obvious problems or fundamental areas which need to be changed. Identify any errors you may be working on and on your own. Thank your employees for their input and convey that you listened attentively and that you will be making improvements. Work with the senior leaders to outline fast yet realistic deadlines for an action plan. Inform workers as you make and bring in improvements, and track performance levels carefully.


Continue reading

See how we can improve your recruitment process and retain better talent.

Contact Us