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6 ways to get the employee feedback you need to hear

Are you struggling with how to unlock honest feedback from employees? Here are six ways to get the employee feedback you need to hear.

Feedback is critical to getting great work done. When you get honest feedback, it helps you make better decisions, it helps employees do their best work, and it helps you be a better leader.

Yet the same time, it’s far from easy to always unearth the employee feedback you really need to hear. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  1. Dive in first. You’re the leader. You can’t expect coworkers to be open and honest with you unless you’re open with them first. If you open with something you’ve been struggling with, you set the tone that employees, too, can share areas where they may need some help.
  2. Use key words. We’ve found that asking for “advice” unlocks honest feedback. Interestingly enough, asking for specific “feedback” doesn’t have the same impact as asking for advice. Keep this in mind during your next one-on-one.
  3. Zero in on targeted questions. As a leader, asking specific questions is your most underrated management tool. Unless you want to hear the response, “fine,” don’t ask “how’s it going?”
  4. Ask these four questions. You can’t get good feedback without asking good questions. Here are four to ask every employee, whether that means during a coffee chat or incorporating them into your next one-on-one.
  5. Handle the truth,” or, at least, get a handle on the truth. Having an honest, open one-on-one conversation with an employee is the most effective way to get to the truth.
  6. Avoid the temptation to solicit anonymous feedback. In fact, avoid it at all costs. Anonymous feedback can easily backfire, it breeds a culture of distrust and it’s difficult to act on.

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Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Canopy. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.