How to launch and run effective employee feedback programs

In this article, you will learn about all key aspects of running a successful feedback program in the workplace

Published
12.6.2023
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How to launch and run effective employee feedback programs

How to launch and run effective employee feedback programs
In this article, you will learn about all key aspects of running a successful feedback program in the workplace

An employee feedback program is a powerful tool used by employers to better understand how employees feel about their work lives and tasks. 

There are numerous advantages to both patients and healthcare professionals in establishing such a program.

Regular surveys can help evaluate competency levels and assessments related to the effectiveness of internal systems and processes might surface needed adjustments. Regular engagement and satisfaction surveys among staff can also help with uncovering further areas for improvements in workplace culture. Feedback programs should aim to improve employee experience and in turn increase client satisfaction. 

However, despite this being a great way to collect the crucial data needed to implement positive healthcare workplace changes, launching and running an effective feedback program can feel like a daunting task. 

If you’ve never launched a feedback survey at your workplace, where do you even start? 

In this article, we’ll share our best practices for running employee feedback programs, informed by experiences from Johns Hopkins, Fraser Health or Phoenix Childrens. 

Best practices for running effective feedback programs

Let’s dive into the best practices for launching and running effective feedback programs in the healthcare sector. 

Targeted

When compiling your first feedback survey, it can be tempting to try to gather as much data as possible from your employees. However, by making your survey too broad and by asking non-targeted questions, you’re likely to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that comes back, making it hard to prioritize which issues to tackle first. 

Rather than trying to cover every issue, our advice is to think small and targeted. Look to specific, existing pain points within your organization and ask targeted questions around these known issues. By structuring your questions in this way, you’ll receive much more specific feedback from your employees. This feedback is easier to transform into actionable solutions within the organization, can be applied more quickly, and makes an immediate impact on your employees’ experiences. 

Simple 

The project scope for your feedback program should be simple and small. If the scope is too broad, your results can leave room for interpretation which can lead to the wrong issues being prioritized or acted upon. In addition, an employee feedback survey with a broad scope will eat up time and resources from the survey team and your employees. A survey with a very broad scope is difficult to learn from and prevents fast, impactful changes which address the most pressing issues for employees. 

Repeatable

Your feedback program should be repeatable. Why? Because when a survey is regularly repeated over time you’re in a much stronger position to measure, track, and compare the data. Your team can pinpoint patterns and trends in how employees answer each question, which in turn demonstrates the effectiveness of any changes that have been implemented in response to the last survey. 

Remember: It’s important to use standardized questions in a consistent format for your survey as non-standardized questions in a varying format will elicit different answers from respondents. 

Scalable

Once you’ve started small, and ensured your survey is easily repeatable, the transition to making your survey scalable becomes a much smoother one. 

When making your survey scalable, you’ll want to consider the structure of the questions. It will be important to ensure that you phrase each question in such a way that you get the deepest and most valuable insights from participants. Before you begin, identify exactly what you want to know from your employees. From here, you can craft the kinds of questions that will elicit the response you need. Remember: specific questions will elicit specific responses. 

Finally, don’t forget about context and transparency. When sending a survey out to employees, you’ll need to be transparent with participants about:

  • How the data will be used
  • If the survey is anonymous or not
  • If responses will be tied to specific email accounts 
  • How and for how long the data will be stored 

When approached in this manner, a large-scale survey yields excellent results. You’ll find that with consistent questions that are created around the specific data sets you want to learn about, you’ll be in a great position to track trends over time and measure the success of improvements already made in the organization.

Highly accurate

There are a number of ways to ensure the accuracy of your survey and the data and insights you draw from it. We’ve outlined our top tips for you. 

  1. Remove ambiguity

Keep the language of your survey simple by avoiding the use of jargon or corporate speak in your survey. If a question is vital to collecting the data you need, consider asking it in several different ways. By doing this you can see if employees are consistent in their responses and paying attention.

  1. Utilize close-ended questions 

Close-ended questions are great for examining data at scale as the results can be easily tracked, measured, and compared. It also assists in the presentation of your data, as graphs and pie charts are ideal for displaying quantitative data.  

  1. Don’t forget open-ended questions

Open-ended questions offer the most engaged employees an opportunity to let their feedback be known. A suggestion box at the end of a survey or a few questions that offer open-ended feedback are effective methods for collecting qualitative and anecdotal data. 

  1. Include an upfront contract

An upfront contract informs respondents exactly what their data will be used for, how it will be stored, and whether the survey is anonymous or not. With this information made clear from the start, respondents are more likely to respond to and engage with the survey.

  1. Take time with the survey design

Consider including logos and branding in your survey design as the look and feel of the survey transfers intent. Also think carefully about how employees will be presented with the survey. Whether it’s delivered in a stand alone email, placed within the contents of a newsletter, or simply shared as a link, you’ll want to use a medium that ensures your survey is easily seen and responded to. 

Impactful 

Finally, making your survey program impactful will come down to two major factors: 

1. The questions that you ask are specific and highly relevant to your employees and their experiences within the organization. 

2. The insights you gather from your survey feed directly into change. 

To make your feedback program impactful, your work doesn’t end with their distribution across the organization, or even with the collection of results. Impact comes from taking what you have learned from your employees and feeding those insights into informing and improving operations. A key part of this is ensuring that these insights are clearly communicated to the relevant teams, and that a process is in place for tracking, measuring, and comparing the impact of changes over time. 

Consider carefully how to present your results to your organization’s stakeholders. Rather than communicating everything you’ve learned, present your most significant findings using easy-to-understand visuals to get buy-in from those who control budgets. 

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