Lessons learned #2: How to get the answers for success from within your organization

Most answers are within your organization. How can a leader in an organization get honest answers and feedback, and create a continuous communications feed-back loop, which will help give you the answers for effective project engagement?

Effective leadership communication requires a long-term focus, not just short-lived initiatives. There are multiple venues where employees can receive information from senior leaders, ranging from quarterly call-ins to in-person and virtual town hall meetings.

Effective leadership communication requires a long-term focus.

The key to bringing out truly honest feedback from employees is to take the time to meet with them in an informal, one-on-one setting, and to provide ways for anonymous feedback.

Take the fear out of feedback

Knowing what to ask employees during individual meetings, whether they are performance check-ins, lunches, or exit interviews, is crucial to drawing out honest, actionable feedback. Asking questions such as these can help employers to gain better insight:

  • What would you change tomorrow? Why?
  • What are you hearing from our customers?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job? Least?
  • How can I help you be more successful?

According to a 2015 Entrepreneur Magazine Article on employee communications, Motley Fool, the multimedia financial-services company found a way to take the intimidation factor out of the feedback process. Instead of having employees report to their boss when it comes time to give or take feedback, they encourage employees to choose from a list of designated “feedback coaches.”

These coaches are well-versed in handling employee feedback, and most importantly, they take some of the fear out of the review process. Designating a select few to handle employee grievances could be the key to eliciting honest, constructive feedback on everything from management issues to business solutions.

Designating a select few to handle employee grievances could be the key to eliciting constructive feedback on everything from management issues to business solutions.

Create an “Virtual” suggestion box

You can try and build your own internal virtual suggestion box, and there are several tool vendors that offer a SaaS solution to collect feedback. It is critical that the feedback be anonymous to gauge your employees’ happiness.  Actionable data, accompanied by associated goals and corporate change will help to build a healthy culture.

 A culture of appreciation and collaboration

To empower your employees, hand them a little more responsibility on the projects which are of most interest to them. Let them make important decisions regarding the company direction. Recognize and praise hard work, and collaborate feedback and ideas. Trust their expertise and understand that this will help build confidence and trust.

What are the benefits?

You have taken the time to invest and implement these changes within your organization, so what are the benefits?

  1. Keep your “A” players on the important projects and avoid wasting valuable resources on the wrong projects
  2. Understand the risks and execution aptitude for innovation and organization change
  3. Uncover new ideas and opportunities for transformation

Summary

More and more organizations understand that distributed ideation unlocks more diverse ideas, which in turn dramatically increases employee satisfaction and uncovers great ideas. Successful business leaders have also widened the diversity of their objectives from the broad and sweeping, to the precise and strategic. Some companies are setting up formal Ideation programs, which are part of their larger corporate innovation strategy. Employees want to be engaged and know that their voice matters, and as leaders we need to think about the best ways to help and enable that process.

Want to see more lessons learned? Check them out here.

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