The efficacy of employee surveys for the majority of companies has been on a downward slide for some time now. For many organizations, frustration and futility are the primary associations with these annual or bi-annual surveys. That’s because the dominant perception is one of routine—a routine that produces no tangible results.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task. Here are three things I think you should try if you want to get great employee feedback.

Be specific. Instead of handing them a piece of paper or email with a lot of general information (rate your satisfaction in X are from 1-10) give very specific instructions. For example: “Regarding our client onboarding process, the most effective thing we do is (blank).” Make it clear what you’re looking for specifically and you should get a higher percentage of pointed, accurate feedback.

Have a modified open-door policy. Even if you promote an open-door policy in the office, it’s unlikely employees are talking your ear off with suggestions. That’s just natural. But if you create a kind of modified open door policy where you ask employees to send specific pieces of feedback via email whenever they come to mind. If you ask them to label the subject of the email *FEEDBACK* you can sort all those emails and go through them at a later time.

Create a culture of openness. When it’s time to ask for employee feedback, it’s helpful if most employees are already in a comfortable, open frame of mind. They’ll be more eager to give feedback in general and more likely to give honest, pointed commentary that can really help the organization identify potential areas of growth and implement positive changes.

Have you used a different tactic for eliciting great employee feedback? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments section or email me directly at

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