Employee feedback is integral to the success of every business, so why do so many ignore it? If you’re part of a small business, you’re already no doubt aware of the positive impact that effective communication can have on productivity and team morale. The more we’re connected, the more we know. And the more we know, the more effectively we can tend to our businesses’ overall wellbeing. Of course, communication stems into a variety of different avenues across any business: perhaps most important of all, however, is employee feedback.
Effective employee feedback forms the foundation of any successful office dynamic. A strong feedback loop is synonymous with workplace alignment, employee engagement and increased productivity. Feedback helps us provide others with the information necessary to make accurate and informed decisions. It also helps employees to feel valued, connected and engaged. Whilst feedback is important within any business, when it comes to a small business, it can mean the difference between failure and success.
As a small business, the resources that may be available to larger companies just simply aren’t there. We work with fewer staff, take on a variety of different roles and are (generally speaking) more pivotal to the overall success of the business. We’re not just small cogs in a machine. We are the machine!
Communication is vital and with it effective employee feedback. Ineffective feedback can lead to miscommunication and from there a string of what could potentially be very costly mistakes. As you no doubt already know, unnecessary expenditure is something that we’d be wise to steer well clear of. Especially if the remedy is completely free! The importance of an effective feedback loop cannot be overstated, especially for the financial wellbeing of small businesses.
Paint a Bigger Picture With Employee Feedback
Feedback is a great way to assess the overall performance, perception and problems that surround your business. When we work, it’s all too easy for us to fall into our own patterns and to become solely focussed on what we think are the most important outcomes for the business. The problem is – one viewpoint doesn’t always constitute a full picture. General perspective is everything, our own personal perspective isn’t. By liaising with others in your team with different viewpoints, skill sets and areas of expertise, you can make more astute observations based on the experience of the company as a whole and not your own personal take. Whilst working for a small business can often mean that your role is more generalistic, it doesn’t mean you should rely solely on your own experience to address problems. Utilise the feedback of those around you to help paint a more vibrant picture of your business and to address any issues in a more holistic way.
Keep Feedback 360
Feedback shouldn’t necessarily be restricted to being provided by those that are immediately around you. It shouldn’t always be in the form of employee feedback, either. In fact, when operating in a small business, you should try and take as much constructive feedback as you can, from anywhere that you can find it. Feedback can exist in a variety of forms and each can prove to be just as important as the last. By operating with a constant, 360 feedback loop you’re better placed to make business decisions across all avenues of your business. Here are just a few examples of how you could make feedback work for you and your business.
This style of feedback exists between a manager and an employee. A hierarchical form of feedback, it allows those in leadership positions to provide praise, give advice and steer employees in terms of alignment and direction. This type of communication could be in the form of a letter, a memo or verbal instruction.
To get an unbiased view of company operations, a manager should be able to facilitate a constant, steady flow of upwards information. Managers will be able to identify what’s working, what isn’t working and where improvements need to be made and where; courtesy of those directly on the front lines. This sort of feedback can include (but isn’t limited to) surveys, employee feedback forms and reports that employees then deliver to their managers or team leaders.
This is the sort of feedback that can take place between colleagues and fellow employees. Whilst this may be slightly more informal, it’s still a very important aspect of communication within the workplace. It can happen in a variety of different ways: verbal discussion, messaging, email, employee communication systems. This type of communication can be internally between departments or even with the department itself. Frequent interaction and communication between employees plays a key part in the maintenance and upkeep of employee engagement and productivity.
For small businesses, external business feedback can often be one of the most crucial forms of feedback. The outside perception of customer to business can mean the difference between failure and success. Try embracing trusted review sites like Trustpilot or Feefo to capitalize on valuable customer insights to help you improve your product, offering or service.
External business communication
Is any communication that happens with those external to the business that aren’t already customers. This can include vendors and even partners. Unlike all the internal business communications types, external communications happen on a less regular basis but can still be beneficial all the same.
In short, it pays to listen – literally! There are a variety of different ways for businesses to enact employee feedback, each proving to be as important and potentially rewarding as the last. When a part of a small business, it goes without saying that we want to be firing on all cylinders at all times. Without employee feedback and a strong sense of communication, however, you’re already at risk minimising your businesses’ potential. Criticism isn’t always easy to take, but by ignoring it the consequences could prove much more damaging. Listen to those around you and rely on their expertise to help your business fly.
Josh is a passionate marketer and employee engagement expert at Oak Engage. With experience working with a number of small businesses around the UK, he loves delivering positive results and helping businesses get the most out of their people.