Prior to the Millennials, workers weren’t expected to give honest feedback. In fact, sometimes they were shown the door. But that was then; this is now. Small businesses, especially start-ups (requiring highly collaborative, engaged employees), depend on staff to help problem-solve.
So how do you get a hybrid team of employees to throw out the old order and begin to really give the kind of feedback a small business needs to grow?
Simply ask the right questions.
Management, generally, is not skilled in the art of questioning, and most employers tend to make the same mistakes when asking for feedback. Many managers and business owners ask closed-ended questions that elicit yes or no answers. This doesn’t help identify problem areas, but identifying those areas is something most employees could do readily. If asked.
You get the best from your employees by gaining their commitment; and that comes when staff feel their opinions—especially critical ones—are valued, listened to, and often acted upon. For the employer, this represents valuable advice from people who work on the front line.
LinkedIn Influencer Jeff Hadden recommends this approach: Rather than asking, “Can anyone think of a good reason not to go forward with this plan?” try the following: “What do you think about this plan?” and “What are some areas of concern we might face when moving forward with this plan?”
Generally, your most critical employees will contribute the best—most honest—feedback. That’s good. You need those critical minds to spot areas of weakness you might not see.