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Three Crucial Components to Receiving Honest Employee Feedback

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

"I wish they would have told me!"

It's the number one thing I hear from leaders when their best employees leave the company. My response is always the same.

"Did you ask?"

More times than not, I get a sheepish smile in return.

"I guess I never did..."


When is the last time you asked their employees what they were thinking? Not how their current project is going, but how they're doing at the company. My guess is it's been a while - and you're not alone in that!

A cartoon image of a man standing in front of a conference table with 4 other men says, "what if, and I know this sounds kooky, we communicated with the employees."

We get so busy and wrapped up in the day to day, that we often forget to pause and take a look at the bigger picture. It's not until the resignation letter hits your desk or the scathing Glassdoor review pops up that we really halt to consider how our employees are feeling about the big picture.

The problem is that by then, it's too late. At least when it comes to that employee.

Instead of waiting for the other foot to drop, we need to start being proactive in seeking out employee feedback. That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Here are three key factors to receiving honest, actionable employee feedback.

Thoughtful Questions

It's crucial that you spend time thinking through the questions you plan to ask and what types of answers they'll elicit. "Are you happy here?" is a lot different than asking "What do you enjoy most about the work you do? Least?" Always ask open ended questions over ones that can be satisfied with a simple yes or no.

Psychological Safety

This is the most crucial (but also the most difficult) part of collecting real feedback. In order to give really, meaningful feedback, employees need to feel like they are safe to speak their mind without repercussions. If they're worried their criticisms or suggestions could impact their chances of getting a raise next quarter, they are only going to tell you what you want to hear - which completely defeats the purpose of the conversation.

Follow Through

There is no quicker way to kill morale and trust than asking for genuine feedback and doing nothing with it. No, you do not need to act on every single grievance or idea, but you do need to show your employees that their voices matter and that happens through action. Decide what changes can be made, put a plan in action, and then share it with the entire team or company. Knowing their opinion matters to the organization will make them even more eager to share feedback the next time around.

Open, proactive communication is core to building a better workplace, retaining your top employees, and maintaining a positive employer brand.

If you agree, but are not sure where to start, swing back next week when I will cover three easy ways to collect employee feedback.

To happier employees,



Are you ready to learn how to build an intentional employee experience at your company?

Learn more from the Want to Work There Podcast

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