Do you think if employees could truthfully share feedback about their experience it would actually help retain them?

Umm big yes! 

Sharing feedback has been shown to contribute to: 

  • Engagement 
  • Satisfaction
  • Development 

And you guessed it RETENTION!!

So, why does it seem like employees hesitate to share feedback about the environment at work? 

Maybe they: 

  • Fear their job safety 
  • Believe nothing can actually change 
  • Have concerns about confidentiality 
  • Not understand the outcomes or the feedback loop 
  • Feel uncomfortable 
  • Have low trust in management 

Sometimes multiple of these reasons are at play! 

So how do you get employees to open up and share feedback before things become sooo bad that they decide to just quit?

A few things that could work:

  • Surveys (hear me out!!)
  • Listening tours
  • Anonymous reporting 

Spoiler alert: feedback is only part of the retention puzzle. Next week I’ll dig into how to act on specific types of feedback. 

But first, let’s explore how to actually GET the feedback so you have something to act on. 


Like many things in HR I have a love/hate relationship with surveys. 


  • Surveys with clear intentions 
  • Surveys that focus on the bigger picture 
  • Surveys that come with a plan 


  • Surveys that are poorly designed
  • Surveys that are too long
  • Surveys that lack actionable questions 
  • Surveys that lack anonymity 

🔑Key strategies for developing great surveys:

1. Have a clear objective: what are you actually trying to learn from the feedback? Culture, areas of opportunity, management skills, etc 


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2. Keep it short & sweet: No one is spending an hour taking a survey. The sweet spot for more regular surveys is 3 – 5 questions.

3. Mix it up: Using different types of questions is super helpful from yes/no, multiple choice and rating scale. I also love including an open text box to share any additional thoughts. 

4. Discuss privacy: anonymous surveys usually solicit more honest responses. I usually like to share that and discuss who has access to the data. 

5. Communicate: tell your employees why this survey is important and what you are hoping to achieve by collecting feedback. 

📚Additional reading:

Listening tours:

Is that world tour or your listening tour?  I couldn’t help myself with this one… 

A listening tour can be such a powerful exercise. On a listening tour leaders and/or managers talk to different parts of the organization to directly hear from employees about their experiences, concerns, and suggestions. 

Yup you read that right! The leaders and the managers are sent out into the wild to ask the tough questions and get the real answers. 

🙅🏽‍♀️If your first thought was: HELL NO we have a problem on our hands. 

A listening tour will be a total waste of time if your employees don’t trust leaders/managers OR if your leaders/managers lack empathy and active listening skills. 

And more do than we’re probably willing to admit! 

If you are in that situation, I would not recommend planning a listening tour exercise. 

📋 If you trust your leaders/managers here are 4 things to do to effectively plan a listening tour: 

1. Have a clear objective: what are you actually trying to learn from the tour? Team dynamics, pain points, or improvement, etc. 

2. Set the perimeters: who is participating and when will this take place? Don’t drag this on for weeks and weeks, be serious about the time this will take. 

3. Communicate: Employees need to know why this is happening, what they’re expected to share,  the confidentiality of their answers and what comes next. Never skip over this step!!

4. Have a framework: there should be set questions focused around what you are trying to learn, see #1. Don’t just focus on improvements, make sure to ask what is going well. 

📣 Here are example questions to ask during listening tours:

  • What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
  • What aspects of your job do you find most challenging or frustrating?
  • How would you describe the work environment here?
  • Do you feel safe and comfortable in your work environment?
  • How effective is communication within your team?
  • How effective is communication between different departments or teams?
  • Do you feel you have opportunities for professional growth and development here?
  • How well do you think the company’s values and culture align with your personal values?
  • Are there any company policies or practices that help or hinder your ability to maintain a good work-life balance?
  • What changes or improvements would you suggest to make our workplace better?

📚Additional reading:

Anonymous Reporting: 

I am, and will always be, a fan of having an anonymous reporting mechanism at work. 

Why? Because your employees need a safe way to report things that are happening. 

And the reality is, most employees don’t feel safe or comfortable reporting things they have experienced or witnessed because of a fear of retaliation. 


Hence my love for anonymous reporting. 

Here’s what you need to know about anonymous reporting:

Choose the right platform. You may need to invest in a tool that can help make anonymous reporting actually anonymous. 

I love love love Alliebot for many reasons but one of them is you can report things easily. It also does pulse surveys, content and microtraining to make your environment more inclusive. It’s one of the best tools out there to building inclusive cultures. 

✅ Communicate. Ahh, this has come up in all 3 sections today because communication is always key. Employees need to understand the following about anonymous reporting:

  • What is the purpose?
  • What is the process? After a report is submitted, now what?
  • What is the level of confidentiality?

✅ Document your procedures. After a report gets submitted to HR, what actually happens? You need to ensure that:

  • Things are addressed in a timely manner
  • There is a clear and documented investigation process
  • When possible there is a feedback loop so those that report behaviors get an update

At the end of the day, anonymous reporting might be the only way employees feel safe giving feedback. 

If that is your environment, it’s not the end of the world but that does mean there is a ton of opportunity to improve! 

Next week I’ll dig into exactly that: how to act on the feedback you’ve collected to ensure your environment improves. 

Because when we have good working environments, employees tend to stay there longer… 

Just saying!

Hebba Youssef
Hebba Youssef

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