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The Massive Potential of Employee Feedback


What if the one thing that could propel your company toward massive growth wasn’t a billion-dollar idea, but rather a small investment in new office furniture? For many businesses, this is not outside the realm of possibility.

To see what I mean, consider the employee who’s become noticeably distracted.

This fictitious person, who originally came to the job full of inspiration, has been having a hard time meeting deadlines lately — let alone coming up with new ideas. Her manager is confused. Nothing significant seems to have changed for the team, and yet every day this employee seems even less engaged than the day before.

Well, what if that manager were to find out that his team member has been experiencing unexplained, acute back pain? Or that she’s been having a hard time sleeping at night, and wakes each morning stiff, sore, and dreading the office?

He might decide to press the issue. And if he did that, he may discover how difficult it’s been for her to sit in the office’s trendy new chairs. Calling for an ergonomic evaluation, he’d then be led toward purchasing new standing desks.

That’s when the real magic would happen: As the employee is freed to focus on things that matter to the business, rather than her own physical pain and suffering, she could start to innovate once again. She may even come up with that billion-dollar idea — all because her needs were being recognized and met.

This example is one of a hundred different scenarios that could be playing out in work environments across America. Because when your employees are truly cared for in the ways that matter most, engagement soars.

Even the smallest changes can have massive impacts. And all you have to do to get started is to ask employees what they need to thrive.

Identifying Small Changes for Maximum Impact

You may be skeptical that such a small change could have such a huge impact, but Emplify’s work with hundreds of business leaders and their thousands of employees suggests otherwise. Here’s why:

For a company to be truly effective, its employees must be engaged. Companies with the highest levels of employee engagement are 22% more profitable and have operating margins that are three times higher than those with low levels of engagement.

In other words…

The more engaged your employees are, the more successful your business will be.

But there is a catch. For this process to work, you have to continually assess what people need to be truly engaged.

And that can sometimes be the biggest challenge of all. Even at companies where leadership is actively measuring and improving engagement, pockets of low engagement can persist. Whether from a pain-inducing chair or something else, your job is to get to the root of the problem. Only then, after you find and fix the small issues, will you truly begin to open the floodgates to better business outcomes.

So, how do you achieve this? Start gathering employee feedback!

Employee Feedback in Action

When it comes to identifying small improvements for maximum impact, gathering employee feedback is one of the easiest, most effective things you can do. For example, the companies Emplify works with have used employee feedback to:

Understand a sudden or drastic drop in engagement. When one company realized that many employees had become extremely disengaged immediately following an acquisition, leadership followed up with a short poll to ask for feedback. It quickly became clear that employees had a limited understanding of their new employer’s goals, and as a result feared being undervalued or replaced. With this information, the parent company was able to create a plan to expand professional development opportunities.

Get specific recommendations on what employees need to reach their full potential. In another instance of a company soliciting ideas, the feedback was concrete and actionable. When asked for ideas, employees at one law firm said they needed better training programs for younger attorneys and paralegals. The company then knew to pair entry-level employees with individualized mentors — no guesswork involved.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to garnering high-value employee feedback, at its core the process relies on a single question: What do your people need to reach their full potential at work, and how can you help provide it?

Recently, we took a deep-dive look at companies that are asking just that. Our report, Insights for Executives: Employee Engagement Trends Report, offers even more examples of employee feedback in action. If you’d like to get a process in place and could benefit from ideas, take a look to see what’s working at other companies like yours.

Unlock the true potential of your people.

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