Do you ever wonder if it’s actually worth your time to make employee feedback tools available to your team? Particularly when you own a business, your resources have to be carefully managed, so you need to know that your efforts will bring returns. However, these tools have many useful purposes, provided that you use them correctly.
Employee feedback tools, such as satisfaction surveys, can show you where your team stands on initiatives, the status of morale and motivation, and allow you to benefit from the individual and collective experience of your employees. Without taking the pulse of your workforce, you are missing out on an essentially free resource that can help your business to scale. Learn how Sentient Digital uses employee feedback to shape our culture and keep our employees on the same page with our leadership.
A Major Reason That Employee Feedback Matters: Measuring Engagement
Employee engagement is a key predictor of employee retention, which saves you turnover costs such as hiring and training new employees. Employee feedback tools can help you measure engagement. The fact that your employees respond meaningfully to an employee feedback tool in the first place means that they are engaging with you. Even if a response is mandatory, the quality, completeness, and relevance of the responses you receive may help you see more clearly which employees care about the company and believe you will read what they have to say. This will help you to find engagement gaps and direct initiatives to boost employee engagement in key areas.
One of the Best Employee Feedback Tools: The Employee Survey
It may surprise you to learn that, in spite of the ever-increasing utility of machine learning algorithms to predict behavior, a traditional tool like an employee survey remains one of the best employee feedback tools. However, according to internal research by Facebook (now Meta), employee surveys can be much better than algorithms at predicting whether employees will remain at the company. Furthermore, simply offering these surveys can give employees the sense that the company seriously considers their suggestions. The use of surveys can even promote employee behavior change, by showing employees what the company cares about and wants them to care about. For example, asking employees their opinion about the efficiency of a particular way of doing something could call their attention to that task and cause them to realize that doing it efficiently is important.
How We Use Employee Feedback Tools at Sentient Digital
A key facet of Sentient Digital’s company culture is the genuine importance it places on employees’ feedback. Our organization consists of a very talented group of engineers, scientists, and other professionals who strongly value the work that we do. This means that Sentient Digital’s leadership knows that what employees think matters, as they are essential to carrying out our mission. For this reason, we want to provide an optimal working environment, and that requires input from our employees.
We accomplish this using a variety of employee feedback tools, including employee surveys. The value in these surveys is that it allows Sentient Digital’s leadership to hear from everyone, rather than just team leaders or those who work closely with our executives on a daily basis. Sentient Digital’s leadership leverages this information to help us make decisions and anticipate how employees will perceive them, as well as the impact particular initiatives may have on employees.
Sentient Digital’s periodic employee satisfaction surveys are crafted to be short, simple, and to-the-point in order to encourage maximum participation and impactful data collection. We especially value the opportunities for improvement made apparent from the critical feedback we receive through the surveys. Sentient Digital takes great pride in directly and publicly recognizing employees who are recognized by their colleagues as being especially valued team members.
However, at Sentient Digital, we don’t just collect and analyze the survey responses; we also make sure we communicate the results to employees so they see how we will take their feedback into account. We do this in a variety of ways, including town hall meetings in which employees have a question and answer session with leadership.
Additionally, we make changes based on the feedback we receive. Each year Sentient Digital takes action to improve our benefits package to better serve our employees. Past improvements have included increasing the number of medical insurance options, adding an HSA-eligible medical insurance plan, introducing very low-cost medical insurance for employee-only coverage, increasing employer contributions to retirement plans, adding an accident insurance option, and adding tax-advantaged Dependent Care FSA option. We have seen the results of these improvements as our employees’ satisfaction (as gathered through surveys) with our benefits package has increased each year.
Sentient Digital’s Talent Acquisition Manager Explains The Role of Employee Feedback at Sentient Digital, Including Transferrable Takeaways
Kathy Hinkle, Sentient Digital’s Talent Acquisition manager, utilizes employee feedback tools in many aspects of her work. This includes everything from hiring new employees to maintaining current employees’ satisfaction with the work environment. Here, she explains the role that tools such as the employee satisfaction survey play in these efforts and their connection to Sentient Digital’s Culture.
Hinkle sees a clear connection between hiring and employee satisfaction, explaining that in our current job market, successful companies need to prioritize employee satisfaction. When recruiting prospective employees, it is important to relay a sense of the company culture. At Sentient Digital, we live by our CREED. CREED is an acronym for Caring for each other, Resilient in our work, Eagerness to Learn, Energetic in our approach and Dedication in all that we do. We have constructed this culture using employee feedback surveys.
The Procedure for Implementing Our Employee Satisfaction Survey
The Senior HR Manager sends out our annual Employee Satisfaction Survey, which allows employees to discuss their thoughts on many aspects of the way we work on a daily basis at Sentient Digital. While we always listen to employee feedback even when given by less formal means, this annual survey provides employees additional encouragement to say what our company is getting right and where we need to adjust. When employees feel that feedback is not only accepted but requested, this helps them to feel comfortable saying what they think.
Communication Around Survey Results
Communication is key, the more the better. This is an area where just about all companies can improve. We are a company that is nimble and able to adjust quickly, and our leadership team is committed to the growth of our organization, by hiring the best and brightest and then offering them opportunities to grow professionally.
Since a key way we address employee satisfaction at Sentient Digital is by asking employees to fill out an employee satisfaction questionnaire, leadership shares the results at one of our quarterly town hall meetings. Hinkle states, “I respect that our leadership team is willing to put themselves out there. They have been transparent about things we are doing well and things where improvement is needed.”
Sentient Digital’s company president, Chris Mobley, spent time at one of our quarterly town hall meetings comparing the results of this year’s survey to last years. It sent a message of where we have grown and where there are opportunities for continued growth as an organization.
Maintaining Employee Satisfaction
Hinkle explains that, “We celebrate our employee’s ‘wins’ both professionally and some personally on our Sentient Digital company intranet. This is a great way to get to know other employees, fostering a team environment thus leading to higher employee satisfaction.”
An Overlooked Employee Feedback Tool: The Job Interview
You may not think of a job interview as an employee feedback tool. However, one perhaps overlooked way to foster employee satisfaction is to hire candidates who are likely to feel fulfilled within the general structure and culture of your organization. You can accomplish this by asking questions that bring out feedback from the candidates about what they look for in a workplace. There is evidence that employees with higher culture fit tend to have higher job satisfaction and levels of productivity. However, keep in mind that when hiring for cultural fit, it is important to make sure that you are not confusing cultural fit with similarity bias.
Hinkle notes, “I try to ask candidates open-ended questions [in job interviews]. If a candidate shares that they are not satisfied with their current work environment, I respond by asking, ‘Can you share more specifics about that with me?’ Many times their response will elicit a reaction from me stating how our company is continually working to improve communication and ultimately employee satisfaction.
From the first conversation, Hinkle says she wants the candidate to know that she is listening and taking notes. This allows her to refer back to the notes and say, for example, “Based on our prior conversation it sounds like advancement, challenge and work life balance are important to you.”
She adds, “I like to ask candidates about what their ideal scenario is in terms of the actual job description and the type of team where they would fit best. This helps determine whether this person will be a strong cultural fit for Sentient Digital.”
Work for A Company That Values Employee Feedback: Sentient Digital
If you’re looking for a company where you can truly contribute, where your feedback matters, and where you will be valued, consider a career at Sentient Digital. Check out our current job postings to see what career opportunities are available.