Social feedback can be a powerful tool when it comes to improving engagement — but it can also be tricky. It involves curating, analyzing and ranking suggestions from employees, gathered from listening sessions, open-ended survey questions, online comments, or upvoted/downvoted ideas on an internal web page. Treat social feedback like an especially sharp chisel — use it to shape some of your engagement efforts, but don’t rely on it alone.
Last week on the blog, I shared my ideas on the art of social feedback. To add another perspective, I talked to David Youssefnia, Ph.D., about the science of social feedback. He’s president and founder of Critical Metrics, and one of Talmetrix’s advisers. Here’s his advice on using social feedback as part of your engagement efforts.
Take it Seriously
One of the challenges with social feedback is that it can be hard to collect and analyze. Whether it’s a roundtable session, an online discussion thread or an “upvote/downvote” survey, it goes beyond a simple questionnaire that asks for responses on a 0-5 range. Youssefnia says open-ended questions in particular can provide a lot of interesting data, but it takes resources to wade through the data and identify what’s useful. It’s best to use a third party to compile the information, or at the very least someone inside the company who has the ability and resources to collect, analyze and summarize the data.
Manage it Effectively
As with any engagement effort, if you use social feedback to get ideas from people and then do nothing with the information, you can do more harm than good. To take effective action from the insights you get from social feedback, Youssefnia says there are three things you should do:
Use it for crowdsourcing. Social feedback is a great way to give employees the tools for change, Youssefnia says. After you use a range questionnaire to get a reading on employee engagement, try a social feedback survey to help determine your action plan. For example, an online or roundtable brainstorming session could generate ideas for making changes in the workplace, and upvoting can help identify the top suggestions.
Use it to identify priorities. Once you have those top suggestions — or if they come from leaders in your company — you can use social feedback to get further ideas on timing or priorities for those action steps.
Be transparent. As with all surveys, don’t let social feedback float off into the ether. Youssefnia says employees will be much less inclined to share their ideas down the road if you don’t continue the conversation. Connect their recommendations with your plan, highlight the suggestions you put into action and continue asking for input. In addition, remember to thank your employees for their input.
Remind Employees of Their Role
Using social feedback as part of your engagement measurement system is the perfect way to remind employees that, in the end, they are responsible for their own engagement, Youssefnia says. Because so much of the interaction is between peers, social feedback highlights the role they play in boosting engagement in their department or organization. It shows that they’re part of the story and that their efforts really matter.
Read the full science of engagement series.
Talmetrix is a software company that measures and facilitates employee engagement, captures team feedback and maps relationships between employees. Organizations use that data to improve retention, build a better culture and boost performance and productivity. Contact us to learn more about our solutions.
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