Biggest mistakes managers make when asking for employee feedback

Now is a great time to work on your listening skills. 

A young worker leans back in their chair, sighing and looking exasperated. In the background, their boss is leading a meeting.

Giving and receiving feedback is one of the best ways to improve how your team functions. However, many managers make common mistakes when asking for employee feedback, undermining the whole process and giving them less-than-useful data. Now more than ever, workers are willing to leave their job for what they feel are greener pastures, so hearing and learning from your employees is essential for managers.

Only asking managers for feedback

If you're only asking for employee feedback from your managers or leaders, you're not getting an accurate representation of what your workforce thinks and feels. Employees at different levels have different perspectives, so it's important to collect feedback from a variety of sources to get a complete picture of what's going on in your company.

When you only ask managers for feedback, you also run the risk of them covering up negative responses from their team. Going straight to your employees for feedback is always the most accurate way of gathering data.

Asking vague, leading, or inconsistent questions

Vague or leading questions should be avoided at all costs, as they’re one of the least-effective ways you can solicit employee feedback.

Vague questions might be more confusing than anything, leaving your employee unsure what kind of information you’re asking for. An example of a vague question would be: “Are you happy in your current position?” This will likely result in a yes/no answer with very little useful data.

Suggestive questions, also known as leading, might look something like this: “Even though you earn a competitive salary, what other work benefits would you like to receive?” This kind of question implies that your employee is happy with their supposedly competitive salary. You’ll probably not get any meaningful responses to these questions as they make the respondent feel like you’ve already come to a conclusion about their opinions.

Asking inconsistent questions to different employees will only result in confusing data that’s almost impossible to interpret. If you ask one group of employees “What do you think of your paid time off benefits?” and ask another group “Do you get enough paid time off?” you’ll get wildly different responses, even though the questions might look very similar at first glance. 

Not acting on employee feedback

One of the most common pitfalls when carrying out an employee survey is not acting on the feedback. If your data shows that most employees are not satisfied with their benefits package, then it’s in your best interest to do something about it.

Asking for feedback and then ignoring the responses you get raises false expectations and shows that you never had any intention of improving your organization in the first place. This can create resentment in your company, severely damaging your internal reputation, your external employer brand, and even your ability to retain talent. 

Using the wrong kind of employee survey

There are dozens of different employee surveys that you could use to gather feedback but using the wrong one might just be a waste of everyone’s time. Here are some common employee survey options:

  • On-boarding survey
  • Salary satisfaction survey
  • Exit interviews
  • Organizational culture survey
  • Employee satisfaction survey
  • Employee engagement survey

Do you know which ones you should be using to get the data you need? Do you know how often you should be carrying out each kind of survey? Leveraging the right employee survey can result in a highly valuable data collection opportunity that will help you improve your business. Using the wrong surveys can be pointless, or worse yet, can damage employee engagement in the long term.

Adecco can help with employee feedback

At Adecco, we have a decades-long history of helping businesses across all industries improve how they work. We recently made it possible for one customer to save $50,000 a year in overtime payments by surveying and interviewing its food production workforce and re-structuring its approach to work schedules.

Get in touch with the Adecco team today and see how we can make it easier for your organization to reach its full potential through employee surveys, staffing solutions, and onsite management.

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