The Role of Feedback Apps in Small Businesses
Here at Weekly10 we regularly receive similar comments from small businesses, that though they see the value and potential in our product, as a small business they simply do not need technology to facilitate and monitor feedback and communications. The Human Resources Professional Association also found in 2017 that 36% of businesses said that they were unlikely to adopt feedback apps with built-in AI analysis tools because they believed they were too small to need such assistance. We are routinely told that if they, as leaders and managers, want to communicate with their teams, they simply walk across the office and approach them face-to-face. This type of hands-on management style is extremely commendable, and no doubt facilitates a strong leadership presence within the company. However, we at Weekly10 believe technology which generates, and monitors feedback should never be a replacement for this style of management, but rather when used effectively, can complement and facilitate it, no matter the company's size.
The Particular Challenges of Running a Small Business
In small businesses problems of employee engagement and productivity are perhaps at their most critical. For a small business every wasted hour of employee presenteeism or disengagement effects a far larger percentage of the company's economic performance.
Similarly, for a new business expanding at a substantial rate, but not yet able to afford an expansive HR department, problems of staff turnover or extended absence leave huge holes which the remaining staff often do not have the capacity to fill. Without a significantly sized HR department, it often falls to mid-level managers to monitor their staff's performance, satisfaction, and growth.
For small businesses without extensive resources, efficiency is key. By investing in technology that allows instant feedback and recommendations from your employees you are investing in those people best placed to comment on the company's inefficiencies.
How to get the Best Feedback
- Creating the Culture You might as a manager or director of a company be confident to approach your employees across the office, but are you sure they are confident to approach you? The best way to create a culture of feedback and improvement is to lead by example. Facilitate feedback on your own performance. Create a culture of improvement and communication.
- Make feedback structured and Regular Ensure feedback is always constructive and helpful by providing guidelines and format. Informal discussions are brilliant, but can you ensure that all levels of management are always communicating in the way you want them to? Are they always phrasing questions in an open, non-judgemental manner regularly? Can you ensure these conversations are structured in a way that employees feel they have been given a framework so they know who they are giving feedback on, who will receive their feedback and who will be responding to it? This ensures confidences are not betrayed, and employees' expectations are met when a piece of feedback is passed on or implemented in a timely manner. Similarly, are these conversations recorded in a helpful and accurate way, so the data can be processed and used to monitor the individual and the wider workforce?
- Provide a range of Methods to Suit Every Employee In order to ensure everyone is always giving feedback and that all voices are heard you must ensure that there is a range of ways feedback can be given. You as managers know the range of personalities and diversity of skills it takes to run a successful business if you've only invested in one method of review and communication, whether that be an annual review or around the table conferences, can you be sure this one size fits all your employees?
- Follow Through and Take Action Most importantly internal communication apps can ensure the most important bit, the actions you take in response to feedback are well informed by a cross-section of your workforce. Have actual relevance to factors of economic performance, not just your "˜gut feeling' and make sure your chosen action hasn't been dictated by those who shout loudest in the office or perhaps who we unconsciously hold a biased towards. Similarly, they remind and monitor leaderships' response to queries ensuring employees feel listened to.
Getting informative and timely feedback should be part of every business. It is about investing in what creates the company's value: its employees.