Famous director, Ron Howard, remembers the day that changed the trajectory of his motivation and engagement when it came to show business. He had just turned seven, and it was the second episode of the second season of playing Opie on the TV classic, The Andy Griffith Show. He was supposed to run into the courthouse and deliver a line to his TV dad, but on the first take, he delivered the line and then hesitated.
The director asked, “What is it?”
To which young Ron replied, “I don’t think a kid would say the line that way.”
“Well, how would a kid say it?”
Ron shared his opinion, and to his amazement the director said, “Great. Do it that way.”
From across the set, Andy Griffith yelled, “What’re ya grinnin’ at, young’un?”
Ron answered, “That’s the first idea of mine you’ve taken!”
The difference maker, the moment that Howard felt a new level of commitment not only to the industry but to his choice in vocation, was when he felt that he was an integral part of the process. He was able to provide his personal insight, his experience of being a ‘kid,’ and have his suggestion validated and implemented!
Motivation is no different for any employee or team member, whether it’s on a Hollywood set or in a leasing office in Boise, Idaho. Every individual wants to know that in addition to the work they are doing, their expertise and knowledge is valued and utilized regularly. This is exactly what employee feedback is for!
While many organizations may implement annual or semi-annual employee surveys, some are not gaining all of the benefits of the process! In order for the employee feedback process to be a difference maker, there are four critical steps.
- Request input from the team
Most commonly, this is done through the use of an employee survey. Utilize a third-party survey provider in order to take advantage of their expertise and knowledge of what to ask and how to ask it, but also to create a safe forum for employees to share their candid thoughts and opinions.
- Make improvements based on that feedback
Gathering data without acting on results is a waste of everyone’s time as well as the company’s money, but it is a surprisingly common occurrence. There are countless projects, tools, investments, and resources a company could invest in, but without the input or experiences of the employees, it’s impossible to know what would provide the greatest overall benefit. Utilize their feedback to guide improvements, so that those initiatives are actually providing a benefit, not just adding one more task to an employee’s already full workload.
- Share updates on actions taken
While it may seem obvious to the leadership team that actions were taken and implemented based on the employee feedback, employees often won’t connect the dots. Whether it’s because the change takes place months later or the employees are just plain focused on their responsibilities, it’s critical to point to the cause and effect of their willingness to participate in the survey. Let them know, “We have made this change based on what you shared with us in the survey.” Reinforce the value of their experience and the impact they had on the company.
- Encourage participation in future surveys
Employee feedback, just like any data, has a shelf life. What was true a couple of months ago might not be the experience today, and that’s why ongoing feedback is so important to a successful organization. Leadership continues to build trust by asking for feedback, acting on the information gathered, and sharing the progress. Employees’ motivation continues to grow when they see that their input is important, and that decisions are impacted by sharing their insights and experiences. Continue to ask for their feedback and continue to highlight the company’s resulting actions.
Even at age seven, Ron Howard recognized the importance of feeling like a part of the process, and it not only motivated him to become the award-winning director he is today, it also made him mindful of creating a collaborative environment with his actors and asking for their input. Demonstrate the value of your employees by asking for their feedback and then follow through on each of the steps to gain the greatest benefit for the organization as a whole. Who knows what incredible leaders will emerge from your team as a result?