Employee feedback is a powerful resource. In fact, employees who feel heard at work also feel nearly 5x as empowered to perform at their best.
As if that isn’t compelling enough, consider this: in a test, one organization collected and acted upon employee feedback and in turn, increased their production value by $3.8 million.
You can take your company from fighting expensive problems like turnover or low morale, to building valuable outcomes just by sourcing employee feedback with an employee suggestion box. The only problem is, that might be easier said than done. You’ve tried to ask employees what they think in the past, and nobody seems to have anything to say, right?Don’t worry, we can help you get employees interested in providing feedback, gather more useful feedback, and take valuable action on that feedback. Here’s how:
The Employee Feedback Problem
The problem with sourcing employee feedback is that you need employees to trust you, to have the time, and to care enough in order to provide feedback. Fostering trust in your employees isn’t something that happens overnight, though.
You need a plan:
The quickest way to show your employees that they can trust you is by providing a secure and anonymous path for them to provide their feedback. Anonymous suggestion boxes offer one such opportunity, but they cut down on the convenience and time-efficiency that employees also expect. Nobody wants to hover around an ominous white box in the corner of the office and check over their shoulder while they write down feedback. Instead, it’s important to create a private, secure, natural, and efficient method of gathering employee input and suggestions.
Here are 7 ways to bring your employee suggestion box into the 21st century:
#1. Explore Better Employee Feedback Channels
If you want to source consistent employee feedback, you’ll need to source it through channels your employees actually want to use. A paper card with survey questions or a big jar with slips of paper just won’t cut it. Take it online:
Online suggestion box alternatives
The suggestion box serves different purposes, and even means different things, depending on the type of feedback you need and how you want to acquire it. Specific questions or prompts should be addressed and delivered differently than open-ended calls for ideas, private employee criticism or concerns, or problem-solving sessions. Depending on what you want to ask them, consider these alternate channels:
- Use Slack or Teams to poll your employees
- Host IRL & virtual brainstorm sessions to drive creativity
- Use Manager 1-on-1 meetings to address concerns
- Produce an online form-based survey to get specific feedback
#2. Take your suggestion box online
While some feedback is best acquired through conversation or in-person meetings, there’s a lot you can do virtually to increase engagement in your survey or call for suggestions. If you just have a few quick questions or want to provide an open space for employees to share, an online portal is your best bet.
In addition to being easier to setup and cheaper to manage than a paper-based suggestion box, an online suggestion box will:
Secure your data.
Don’t lose important suggestions or concerns to an unreliable paper-based system. An online suggestion box alternative will store your data in the cloud, making it easier to access and analyze from anywhere.
Offer greater convenience for employees.
Employees don’t want to wrestle with pen and paper when they’re already sitting at a computer. Using channels they’re already familiar with, you can encourage more employees to engage with your suggestion box.
Make collections more efficient.
When it’s time to gather up responses to your survey or suggestion call, a digital solution will have already tallied the votes or compiled results while you’re still trying to get everyone to pass their papers forward. There’s a faster way.
Help you automate reminders.
Work is busy. Don’t require your employees to keep company feedback top of mind. A digital suggestion box or survey tool would make it easier for you to gently remind employees to fill theirs out.
Waste fewer resources.
Why use paper resources that will only go to waste? By conducting paperless employee feedback initiatives, you’ll be improving your company’s culture while saving the planet.
#3. Simplify Your Suggestion Box Forms
What do you hope to gain by implementing an employee suggestion box? Don’t leave things vague - give them a prompt:
If you have specific questions to ask, an online form may be your best option. Using an online form creator, you can quickly create a user-friendly survey that you can disperse to employees. These forms can be completed anonymously or you can set them to track replies, depending on the nature of questions you hope to ask.
If you do decide to use a survey form, the key is to keep things simple. Your questions and their answering options should be simple and straightforward. The technology you use to produce and share the form should be kept simple and user-friendly, too.
If you’re not sure what to ask, we’ve put together this quick guide on the types of surveys you should be conducting regularly. Check it out!
#4. Try an Anonymous Feedback App
Perhaps you’re not looking to source answers to specific questions. Instead, you just want to create a safe space where employees can anonymously share their feedback, offer suggestions, or sound off. An efficient way to acquire anonymous feedback is through a mobile or digital app that’s easy for employees to access and engage with.
Here are a few great anonymous feedback tools to consider:
#5. Transform Your Suggestion Box into a Suggestion Program
In a world where 93% of employees make regular suggestions to their managers and only 39% of companies have a reported plan to address suggestions like these, something needs to change. The traditional suggestion box implies a loose cannon of new ideas, and represents a dead end where those ideas get stuck. If you want employees to believe that you value their feedback, show them what will happen when they do. A company-wide Suggestion Program could help.
Close the feedback loop with an end-to-end suggestion program
A Suggestion Program is a new company policy and initiative in which employee feedback is sought and acquired in a controlled way, and this feedback round is followed by an action plan that is transparently reported, consistently tracked, and championed by the whole team. These programs require a more continual and dedicated approach to sourcing and using feedback, but they pay dividends. When employees see action taken on their feedback, or know that there’s a course of action awaiting their feedback, they’ll offer it more freely. Even more, you’ll ensure that the feedback experience isn’t a waste by ensuring your organization and its people gain from what you learn.
#6. Aggregate and Share “Suggestion Box” Data
Whether you gather your employees’ feedback anonymously or not, you can share it anonymously. Once you take your employees’ answers on a variety of initiatives, company policies, and processes, gather results and report those to the team. They may be surprised to know that 75% of them would rather have one longer weekly meeting than three shorter ones, or that only 15% are enjoying the new desk layout. Whatever you’re hoping to learn about your employees, they would likely enjoy learning about each other.
Once you have your survey results, create an action plan to fix the things your employees aren’t happy with, double-down on the parts of the job they love, and solve for the issues or concerns that don’t have solutions yet. Demonstrate that you are actually using and acting upon the feedback your employees give, and they’ll give again.
#7. Incentivize Suggestion Box Participation
Your employees come to work because they care and because they get paid. You can source some employee feedback by encouraging participation but you will source more by incentivizing it, too.
Instead of offering up the same free mug or branded swag, why not reward your employees with something they actually want?
An extra bit of PTO or a free day off is a great option, and employees are always excited about food, too. However, if you really want to provide an incentive that appeals to everyone, consider choosing one that your employees can customize. At Giftogram, we took issue with the way companies reward employees, customers, and partners. We invented a different kind of gift card that’s brand-able, expandable, and customizable. Take a look at what Giftogram can do to get your team excited again.