Should You Ask for Employee Feedback During Times of Change?

Should You Ask for Employee Feedback During Times of Change?
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There Are Different Philosophies About If You Should Ask For Employee Feedback During Times of Change
With all of the organizational disruption these days, we are frequently asked if a company should ask for employee feedback during times of change (e.g., layoffs, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, changes in leadership, shifts in go-to-market strategies)? And the short answer is: Yes. The only exception is if your organization is unwilling or unable to take meaningful actions based upon employee feedback; inaction sends a negative message and creates 12 times greater levels of employee disengagement.

Though it may seem a bit risky to ask what employees think during challenging times, the research says that, on the contrary, employees appreciate the opportunity to share their views with the leadership.  And employees feel more engaged when their opinion counts at work.

Benefits of Feedback During Times of Change
Change management consulting experts know that all the internal and external turmoil experienced by leaders and employees can make work a struggle.  Organizational change is never easy; some change resistance is to be expected. But honest and timely feedback from employees and thoughtful and meaningful responses from leaders can reduce resistance to change, clarify strategic intentions, and build leadership trust

Both employees and leaders can benefit from what they learn during the employee feedback processChange management simulation data tells us that there are some very sound reasons for leaders to ask for employee feedback during times of change and turmoil.

Employees tell us that they:

  • Appreciate that Leaders Value Their Opinions
    Whether the organizational change was internally or externally generated, employees appreciate their leaders’ willingness to hear what they think. In fact, the survey itself can inspire more employee engagement and employee resilience.
  • Welcome the Opportunity to Share Their Thoughts
    Employees can ask for what they need whether it’s more resources, more flexibility, more opportunities to grow. They have a voice in the organization’s future and how they want to contribute to its success.

Leaders tell us that they:

  • Can Help Explain and Guide the Change
    As long as they respond with empathy, honesty, and transparency, leaders can put the desired organizational changes in context and help employees adjust emotionally, draw meaning from the change, and better understand the implications for the future. Employees want more workplace transparency and leadership guidance to make sense of what is going on.
  • Can Avoid Serious Misunderstandings
    By hearing directly from employees across the board, leaders can coach through the “mucky” stages of change and be ready to intervene as needed. By inviting employee involvement through interviews, surveys, focus groups, working sessions, and open forums, leaders can answer the questions they hear and reduce those that are whispered behind the scenes. Change should be done “with” people, not “at” them.

The Bottom Line
Feedback that is openly sought by leaders and safely expressed by employees can be invaluable in building trust in an organization. And especially during times of crisis, feedback can help galvanize the workforce toward a more aligned, healthy future.  If you are willing to act, do not be afraid to ask.  Embrace and take advantage of what people have on their minds.

To learn more about how to effect change at work, download How to Mobilize, Design and Transform Your Change Initiative

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