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Employee Feedback: Are You Suffering From American Idol Syndrome?

Jun 3, 2014
HR Acuity

You know that moment of truth on American Idol when the awful, tone-deaf singers find out just how bad they are? You can tell that up until that moment they were completely convinced of their own talent because they either never solicited feedback or the feedback they got wasn’t completely honest.

The “ignorance is bliss” policy is probably fine for those aspiring, yet terrible singers. The only potential damage is to the operator of the car next to them at the stoplight. In business however, ignorance is not bliss and can cause serious damage. In any team, perspective is the key to improvement (and not just your own). Could your organization be suffering from American Idol Syndrome? If so, try these remedies and call HR in the morning.

Post-Hire Interviews

The post-hire interview presents a great opportunity to gather feedback on your organization’s recruitment process. You can use this information to improve the candidate experience, ensure expected responsibilities and behaviors are clear, and maybe even get a referral from your new hire. This is also the time to start the onboarding process which should be tailored to each new hire. Workplace leadership specialist Jennifer Leahy gives a few pointers on conducting a great post-hire interview:

“It’s important to be clear about your motives for gathering information on new hires’ experiences. Be sure to let new employees participating in the program know that the information they share will be viewed as constructive criticism and used to better future processes. Ask new employees what, if anything, they would change about the hiring process. You may learn that your company needs to refine corporate branding during the hiring process.”

Aside from the opportunity to learn about your new hire and improve your own processes, the post-hire interview demonstrates to your new employees that their opinion is and will be valued. Creating that engagement early on is vital to maintaining a healthy company culture. Nurturing the company culture is how HR pros can prevent bad hires and costly turnover rates.

Employee Surveys

Employees will rarely come out and voice issues on their own – that’s just not how it’s done. Employers need to provide an encouraging platform from which employees can openly speak. Short, frequent surveys that reward employee participation are the best way to get timely and honest feedback from your workforce. Employee engagement expert Melissa Dawn said:

“Whether it’s an inefficiency in a process that wastes time and money, an unsatisfied worker who ends up leaving, or new jerk boss who will eventually run off several of your star employees, the issues that need to be addressed, need to be addressed now, not 11 and a half months from now. When these costly problems arise, only a timely fix will be able to repair the damage.”

Exit Interviews

While no company leader is jumping up and down about turnover, the exit interview is sometimes the most opportune vehicle to gather effective and honest feedback from a former employee, and help to cure the organization of its American Idol Syndrome. Known as the HR Bartender, Sharlyn Lauby talks about making the exit interview a genuine learning experience for the organization:

“Conducting exit interviews can be a valuable experience for any organization. Provided of course that the exit interview is done with proper planning and for the right reasons. If you’re doing exit interviews to get the heads-up on whether the departing employee plans to sue you and your company, well…that might be good to know but it’s not really the best use of an exit interview.”

Your organization cannot continue to risk living with American Idol Syndrome. No one wants hear the judges tell you that you can’t carry a tune, but it’s better than believing your heading for Broadway when the only way you’ll get there is by buying a ticket. Being open to constructive feedback as an organization shows your employees that their opinions matter, and that communication is a two way street.

You work on the culture, and we’ll help you streamline and define your process for soliciting feedback! Click here to learn more about how HR Acuity can help you foster great workplace communication.

photo credit: jonfeinstein via photopin cc

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