Employee Feedback Systems: Creating Ways for People to Share and Receive Feedback
Employee feedback is one of the most powerful tools for improving your organization.
Your employees are the eyes and ears of everything your company does. Gathering their feedback gives you high-quality insights into ways your company can improve.
Developing an employee feedback system helps you capture this feedback throughout the employee lifecycle.
In this guide, we'll cover
- what an employee feedback system is,
- how it helps your company,
- and how to build one for your organization.
🔄 What is an employee feedback system?
An employee feedback system is a collection of methods and strategies for gathering data on employee experience, engagement, and performance and deriving insights to make improvements.
With well-established approaches to listening to employees, you gain an accurate picture of your team's operations. You'll notice skill gaps, retention problems, and other issues early so that you can build a collaborative solution for any obstacle.
Feedback systems vs feedback culture
Does sharing and receiving feedback on your work feel as natural and important as your job responsibilities? If so, you just might have a feedback culture.
A feedback culture develops when you have regular, objective communication about how the office runs and your team operates.
Feedback systems are the methods by which you manage, enable, and nurture this culture.
An employee feedback system might include:
- An online suggestion box
- Monthly employee pulse surveys
- Quarterly or annual performance reviews
- Regular one-on-ones with managers
- 360 feedback cycles for all employees
When you implement these systems effectively, you'll build good habits and positive attitudes about the usefulness of feedback at work. This is your feedback culture.
Keep in mind that you'll need to maintain your employee feedback systems even when you have a strong feedback culture.
📈 Why are employee feedback systems important?
Employee feedback helps you see areas of improvement across your organization while making your employees feel heard and valued.
When you take employee feedback seriously, you'll see benefits stretching to every corner of your business.
Check out some of these benefits based on employee feedback statistics:
- Better employee performance: Employees who feel their feedback is heard are 4.6 more likely to perform better than their counterparts who don't. Acting on employee feedback makes employees feel valued, which increases performance, initiative, and productivity.
- Increased retention: New hires who are asked for their feedback after recruitment are 91% more likely to stay at the company beyond the first 90 days.
- Problem prevention: 60% of employees want to receive feedback at least weekly, but 42% of companies only give feedback annually at most. More frequent feedback prevents problems with employee performance and workflows, stopping issues before they do bigger damage to the organization.
For People Ops teams, the employee feedback system is also a key source of information on the needs of your workforce. You need to understand where your employees currently are to design a plan to get them where you want them to be.
By listening to and acting on employee feedback, you develop a sense of investment in the workplace. Your workers feel they are active participants in improving the company rather than replaceable jobs.
⚙️ How to create an employee feedback system in 5 steps
Your employee feedback system should be tailored to your employee life cycle and overall experience. Follow the steps below to create a custom and automated employee feedback system for your organization.
1. Choose when to ask for employee feedback
To establish a true feedback culture, you want to gather feedback throughout the employee lifecycle.
Think about the different milestones and phases each employee will go through during their time with your company. Then, brainstorm a list of times when employee feedback will give you essential insights into how your company works.
Some common points to gather employee feedback include:
- At the close of recruitment and onboarding
- During quarterly or annual performance reviews
- On a weekly basis during one-on-ones
- Before or after company-wide changes or initiatives
Consider all the directions feedback can go. Employees and managers can give feedback to each other, as can colleagues on the same team or teams that work closely together.
You can gather feedback up and down the chain of command, or ask employees to provide self-feedback ahead of a performance review. 360 feedback software like Zavvy can help you set up feedback in all directions depending on your company's unique needs.
Remember, this is just the baseline for your employee feedback system. It's important to continue to look for times when employee insights will help you understand the needs of your team or solve problems for the business.
2. Map employee feedback methods to the right times and channels
When you ask for feedback continuously, it's essential to use various methods and strategies for capturing that feedback. Mixing up the ways you obtain worker feedback not only keeps employees engaged, but also helps you get the most relevant feedback for the situation.
Consider a one-on-one with a manager versus an employee pulse survey. While both of these may take place on a weekly basis, the one-on-one meeting is better suited to face-to-face, informal feedback. You'll get higher engagement for the employee pulse survey with a short online form asking some simple questions.
Better yet, push these short surveys out through Slack.
You'll have to think carefully about the goal of each type of feedback to decide on the right method. This purposeful approach might take some time initially, but developing an employee feedback system that will last is worth it.
3. Create employee feedback surveys
Once you've determined the types of feedback you'll need at which times, write the questions for each employee feedback survey.
When developing employee feedback questions, choose some standardized questions to help you measure changes over time. For instance, your employee pulse survey could always rate worker satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10, giving you a long-term insight into average happiness in your office.
For 360 feedback for employees, use a mix of standard and open-ended questions no matter which way the feedback is going.
Standard questions in 360 feedback can help you measure competencies or company requirements. Open-ended questions allow qualitative feedback that might not be captured in a rating scale.
Build your employee feedback surveys in your favorite form builder. Employee enablement platforms like Zavvy include native form builders and integrations with tools like Typeform, giving you plenty of ways to customize your surveys to your needs.
Whatever tool you'll end up using, here are a few practical templates you can use right away:
Free templates you can copy:
📊 Pulse survey template
👥 Peer feedback template
4. Automate your employee feedback system
Since you've mapped your feedback methods to specific points in the employee life cycle, why not automate the entire employee feedback system?
Feedback automation means sending the correct feedback surveys to the right people at the appropriate times. When you set it up ahead of time, rather than trying to gather feedback as you go, you can see the big picture of the feedback culture you're developing.
Employee development software like Zavvy allows you to automate every component of your employee feedback system, including:
- Weekly/monthly/yearly employee pulse surveys via Slack
- Onboarding and training feedback at 30, 60, and 90 days post-hire
- Quarterly and annual performance reviews
- 360 feedback surveys for all stakeholders
Essentially, you can trigger any feedback survey to go to any employee based on their role, longevity, or actions they take. With Zavvy, you can also build feedback into regular employee training journeys to get immediate, up-to-date feedback on the effectiveness of your employee development.
5. Analyze data and improve your business
Once your employee feedback system is up and running, gather your data in one place and mine it regularly for insights.
You can track your employee feedback data in a simple spreadsheet or in a reporting tool. Some tools, like 360 feedback software, allow you to develop your feedback system and analyze your results in the same application.
At first, you'll just be gathering data to establish a baseline for company performance and employee satisfaction. Later, you can compare new findings to your original baseline to note changes in your workplace over time.
For example, if your weekly employee pulse survey usually averages an eight of ten for employee satisfaction, a week with a five or six out of ten average rating is a sign of potential trouble.
Look for potential explanations, like a process change or workload shift that's impacting satisfaction. In some cases, you may want to ask for follow-up feedback to pinpoint the problem.
🏢 Employee feedback system examples
Want to see an employee feedback system in action? Check out these two employee feedback system examples for inspiration.
Hotjar provides digital user behavior and feedback tracking software for online businesses, but they also take their employee feedback seriously.
To keep their software engineers, marketers, and other team members operating at the top of their game, Hotjar developed a five-part employee feedback system to keep employees engaged. The system includes:
- Biweekly employee pulse surveys where employees rate their experiences on a scale of one to five
- One-on-ones where the team lead reviews the form and talks the employee through their current challenges
- Performance reviews at regular intervals to formally plan for ongoing training and goal setting
- Self-reflections on strengths and areas of improvement, similar to Agile retrospectives
- Ongoing informal feedback to allow for continual improvement
The different types of employee feedback create a robust system where there are multiple ways to be heard. Personal reflection helps employees get comfortable with critiquing their own work, opening them up to more feedback from others.
Together, Hotjar's feedback components create an employee feedback system rich with data and potential insights.
Back in 2012, Adobe tossed its standard performance review process in favor of a flexible feedback system called Check-In. Now primarily digital, Check-In is a feedback system made up of:
- A centralized web application to track goals and growth
- 24/7 feedback opportunities with managers and direct reports
- Quarterly check-in conversations to align on goals
Adobe's Check-In program also aligns with ongoing employee development, providing clear resources on potential growth paths for each tole.
Zavvy's employee development software similarly allows you to merge employee feedback with training and development in a single platform, creating a better experience for your employees.
➡️ Create an employee feedback system with Zavvy
Developing an employee feedback system is crucial to successfully growing your workforce over time. Not only will you curate a feedback culture, but you'll also gain actionable insights into how to improve your employee experience and company operations.
Use employee enablement software like Zavvy to build an automated employee feedback system to improve your business today.