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Should we be asking employees for feedback during a crisis?

Across the world as the Coronavirus outbreak continues to disrupt work, senior HR leaders and Internal Communicators are pondering this question. Our suggestion is that yes, you absolutely should – now more than ever it’s critical to give employees the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns and it should be done sooner rather than later.

Why now?

It’s more important than ever to stand together and encourage the community spirit within your organisation. In a time of uncertainty, people seek connection and involvement. They need an opportunity to share challenges and ask for help.

As an employer, the sooner you ask for feedback, the sooner you can act on it to help employees and improve their experience. If you don’t, you might end up focusing on the wrong things without even realising!

Across our client base, since our world turned upside down only a few weeks ago, we’ve seen higher levels of engagement – the data is telling us that our employees want to be heard now more than ever. Organisations asking for feedback through our surveys have seen higher response rates, with some seeing impressive response rates of over 90%.

Our gut instinct may be to wait until the dust settles but our early experience is telling us, employees are happy to be engaged in feedback now.

What type of feedback should we ask for?

Try to learn what is working well and what could work better. This allows you to adapt your response, pivot quickly and prioritise issues. As an organisation, it’s a good idea to assess the current baseline scores at the start of the outbreak and measure the improvements over time as you evolve your response.

There are four core elements that we’re finding organisations want to learn more about:

  • Engagement – the economy will return to normal in time and it’s essential to maintain the motivation and commitment of employees during this period
  • Wellbeing – understanding how your employees are feeling & coping with the outbreak gives valuable insight into how you can tailor the support provided
  • Productivity – harnessing a much larger remote workforce is a huge challenge and assessing the current impact on employees’ ability to work remotely is critical
  • Collaboration – how teams are working together and their dynamic within the wider business is key to maintaining business performance during the outbreak. It’s all about creating opportunities for employees to share ideas and highlight what is working well within their teams. We’re seeing more innovation around ways of working than ever before

Some useful questions to get feedback on your response include:

  • I trust our leadership team to make decisions that protect me and my colleagues
  • I have the tools and equipment I need to change my working practices
  • I have enough contact with my manager
  • I’m confident that our company will continue to take the right steps to see us through the Coronavirus outbreak

By asking for feedback now, you’ll be in an ideal position to proactively manage the pressures your employees are facing in these unprecedented times. It’s as simple as giving people a way to share their concerns, acting on those that are within your control, and discussing those that aren’t!

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