The Importance of Asking Employees for Feedback on Your Performance
How often do you ask your employees for feedback on your own performance—and actually receive an objective answer?
It’s a difficult question to answer, but as a manager, you should consider it nonetheless, because there’s a lot of truth to the saying, “People don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.” Over the past years, a number of reliable surveys have been conducted into the reasons employees quit their job. As Christian Schappel states in his HRMorning article titled “5 biggest reasons employees quit jobs quickly,” a boss who was “a jerk” was the number three reason for employees to leave a job. In the SHRM article “If 1 in 3 Workers Wants to Quit, HR Had Better Find Out Why,” Dana Wilkie points out that almost 25 percent of workers would leave a job due to interpersonal problems with a manager—and 14 percent stated they’d already left a position for precisely this reason. Furthermore, 20 percent of employees would leave if they had a micro-managing boss, and more than 10 percent would leave if their manager wouldn’t relinquish control. Plus, according to Travis Bradberry in his Forbes article “9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit,” other complaints about managers include that they overwork people; fail to recognize contributions; don’t honor their commitments; and don’t provide them with the support and guidance they need to develop their careers.
Unfortunately, even if you believe you’re doing a great job, your employees might not share that opinion. Yet you’re unlikely to find out about this, since most people are reluctant to give their supervisors negative feedback due to fear of repercussions for their career. And all too often, employees won’t even voice their feelings in an exit interview—which makes it even more difficult to figure out how you’re doing.
Clearly, there could be a significant opportunity to decrease turnover, enhance engagement, and even improve productivity if you can encourage your employees to give you feedback on your performance. The following tips will help you establish a strategy that allows them to do so without being afraid it could impact their careers negatively:
- Take some time to truly understand how employee feedback can benefit you. It can give you valuable insights into which of your practices and strategies work and which don’t so you can build on your strengths and improve your weaknesses. In the long run, it will you achieve better results with your team, which in turn will help you advance your career.
- Provide a way for your employees to give feedback anonymously. This will eliminate the fear of repercussions. One way to do this is to enlist the assistance of someone in HR. Ask that person to compile any feedback and email it to you—without the senders’ names—once or twice a month.
- Set time aside to assess the feedback. Acknowledge the positive comments, and objectively evaluate negative feedback to see how you can improve your performance.
- Ask for support. It’s not always easy to be on the receiving end of criticism; sometimes you might not feel it’s justified, while other times, it could upset you. If you’re struggling with criticism and/or don’t know how to rectify something, ask your supervisor or mentor for their support and input.
- Don’t try to guess who said what. It will only frustrate you and quite possibly affect your relationships with all of your workers.
Employee feedback can act as a catalyst for career growth. Keep these tips in mind so you can make the most of your team’s insights and bring your professional performance to the next level.