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4 Ways for Leaders to Encourage Honest Employee Feedback

Constructive, honest employee feedback is an invaluable resource for leaders and managers. This kind of open communication should be a goal of any successful business, and encouraging employee feedback is a big part of achieving it. 


Getting employee feedback is one thing–but getting feedback that’s constructive and honest is another thing entirely. 

The thing is, some employees just don’t feel comfortable offering their honest feedback. Maybe they’re afraid of disappointing you, of being judged or penalized. Or disappointing fellow team members. Whatever the reason, there are ways around this. 

Benefits of honest employee feedback

And you WANT to get around this hurdle. After all, there are all kinds of benefits to receiving honest feedback from your employees.

Here are just a few:

  • Improved employee performance
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Increased feelings of validation among team members
  • Stronger team culture
  • Valuable insight into challenges and opportunities to improve

And there are stats to back these benefits up. In a recent State of the American Workforce Survey from Gallup, 72% of respondents report that recognition makes them feel more engaged at work. 

Now that we know WHY you want this feedback, let’s talk about how to get it!

4 Ways for Leaders to Encourage Honest Employee Feedback

Offer anonymous employee surveys

Many of the fears your employees could have about sharing their feedback can be alleviated by offering them an anonymous way to do so. 

Empowered by anonymity, employees are more likely to share what they REALLY think, without fear of repercussion. This is one of the most powerful strategies for getting honest feedback from your team.

And there are a few different ways to do this. Traditionally, you might have a question or comment box where employees could place their thoughts.

Now, it’s easier than ever before with live polling tools. Not only does this give you the opportunity to have real-time dialogue with your audience (in this case, it’s your team), but the benefits go even further.

With Swift Polling, you can create surveys, polls, or open-ended Q&As in just a few clicks. You can also choose to make these polls anonymous if you want to encourage even more honest feedback! 

Not to mention, you collect results and feedback in real-time. No more sorting through question and comment boxes by hand! 

Ask the right questions

Offering anonymity is a great place to start. Next, you need to be sure you’re asking the right questions to get the right employee feedback. 

Your team should feel valued and empowered by your questions rather than interrogated. 

One great example? Ask your employees for their ideas!

Maybe they’ve had an idea in mind for years now that would massively improve one of your systems. Until now, they haven’t felt comfortable speaking up. But now they have the ability to speak up anonymously as well as knowing their opinion is specifically requested.

Another important question to ask is about what can be done to improve your employees’ experience at work in general. Find out what’s bugging them, what their challenges are, and the difficulties they face. 

If you can nip some of these challenges and frustrations in the bud, it will go a long way in improving employee satisfaction and dealing with workplace issues before they become toxic. 

Build a culture of trust and communication

Speaking of toxic workplace issues, it’s time to take a look at your workplace culture.

A great workplace culture is one where employee issues don’t go unchecked, employees trust and respect not only their leader, but one another. And of course, where communication is open and honest. 

We talk more about 5 ways to build great team culture in this post

One of the important points about building great team culture is setting the example yourself.

As the leader, it’s your job to demonstrate open and honest communication. That’s right–it starts with you! At the same time, your team needs to see that when other employees offer their feedback, it’s appreciated and valued. Ultimately, this will encourage them to offer their own feedback. 

Utilize different meeting formats

Some employees are more empowered to share during town hall or all hands meeting formats. Others prefer sharing online, perhaps with live polling or surveys. 

To effectively target ALL of your employees, it’s important to offer different meeting formats so they can choose what works best for them. 

Swift Polling makes it easy to encourage honest and constructive employee feedback. 

Choose from live polling, Q&As, surveys, and a variety of other tools that work best for you. Not only do we make it easy to get this feedback, but we take it a step further by helping you organize and structure the feedback you receive.

Want to learn more about how it works? Click here to learn about our Swift for Enterprise features.

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