Managers don’t always have it easy. Businesses rely on them heavily for much more than just organization and leadership. They’re expected to meet deadlines, give presentations, constantly uphold the company image, ensure customer satisfaction, and let’s not forget, maintain good employee morale. Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, but chances are that plenty of managers are reading this post from the office, in the middle of their “holiday.”
So managers can be forgiven if they don’t always respond to feedback in the best way. And yet, the benefits of addressing feedback may very well outweigh most other managerial tasks. After all, feedback without a response is simply encouraging employees to think about their frustrations, without ever doing anything to address them. If feedback is not responded to, and not responded to in a timely manner, employees can begin to feel that their voices don’t matter. It then doesn’t take long for engagement to plummet, and the atmosphere to become toxic.
Not much is worse for a company than overlooking an employee’s willingness to express how they view their role, their relationships, and the business’ operations. Employees are the first to catch wind of customer frustrations, the most likely to suffer from poor managerial decisions, and the most likely to feel (or actually be) unappreciated. Their input is crucial. When employees put enough faith and trust into management to provide feedback, their concerns should be responded to, and they should result in changes whenever possible.
By ensuring that each employee has a fair shot at bringing their concerns to the table, managers have the amazing ability to help create a successful enterprise. Employees who are treated with respect for what they contribute consistently want to work harder and be more productive. The simple combination of feedback and responses allows managers and employees to build a unified team that can lead to grand achievements.
It’s important that feedback be addressed without passing judgment. Managers should not feel that they must have all the answers right away, but failing to address feedback from employees is a grave mistake. Think of the potential benefits:
- Responses encourage open communications which encourage feedback, in a self-feeding cycle
- Responding to feedback instills trust across the organization
- Productivity is boosted when employees can see that their input creates output
- Critical assignments move faster when concerns are addressed
- Turnover is lower and buy-in is higher when employees believe their managers “care”
- Frustrated employees often waste time venting with their co-workers
- A non-response makes employees think no one notices if they contribute or not
- Stress increases the number of sick days taken and healthcare costs