5 Things You Need to Ask Your Employees Today
While the most effective ways in which managers can impart knowledge on staff is a never-ending discussion, perhaps too little time is spent considering the ways in which employees can improve managers’ understanding and awareness. I recently spent some time reflecting on some of the topics employees may know more about than managers and this article aims to summarize them, as well as highlight how this adds value to a company.
Furthermore, research also suggests that if you listen and act on your employees’ ideas, then they will respond by taking more initiative and increasing productivity. It’s time to start inviting employees to offer their advice and share their knowledge. Here are five things worth asking them about.
1. Apps & Technology
In less than ten years, web applications have gone from being a new technology to a part of everyday life. A decade ago Findmyshift was the only web-based staff scheduling software available, and while we’ve moved with the times to keep our product a market leader, it is, however, naïve to say that we know everything about web apps from a consumer perspective, particularly when it’s such a fast growing market. So, who can offer us this insight?
If you listen and act on your employees’ ideas, then they will respond by taking more initiative and increasing productivity.
Our employees. As Smartphone owners and online consumers they tell us about new apps they like and they introduce us to new trends, games and gadgets. This has helped us make positive changes to our web app and also enter into new partnerships (like our integration with Zapier).
Because we aim to help our customers manage their time effectively, we’ve now tasked one of the teams with regular research on productivity tips and time management apps so we can share these with our customers on our blog and social channels.
2. Branding & Marketing
When was the last time you asked your staff about their favorite adverts? Have you ever asked them which companies they trust and why? Do you know why they choose one brand over another?
While these are important questions to ask yourself, your friends and your family, your employees offer a different and possibly new perspective as they may be exposed to different channels of advertising and marketing that you’ve never even heard of. Be sure to ask them what they dislike as well as what they like.
3. Customer Feedback
Many of our customers’ employees have regular, direct contact with their own customers, placing them in a unique position to gauge reactions and overall impressions of their companies and products. Besides actively encouraging staff to relay word-for-word feedback and share their opinion of customer satisfaction levels, you might want to ask staff their opinion on how this data should be gathered.
If your employees are in the unique position of being both customers and also customer service providers, i.e. they sit on both sides of the fence, they may have ideas on how to encourage feedback, how to measure it and how to act upon it too. Listen to them.
It’s hard, but necessary for managers to accept that they often have a distorted view of what their company’s reputation is.
4. Your Business’ Reputation
Arguably the most emotionally provocative on this list, it’s hard, but necessary for managers to accept that they often have a distorted view of what their company’s reputation is. While some employees may also be biased, it’s unlikely their opinions are as one-sided as a manager or senior member of staff.
In this age of online reviews and public feedback, don’t wait for comments on Facebook or TripAdvisor to damage your business’ reputation. Ask your employees what people are saying about your company. Remember not to shoot the messenger, thank them for having the courage to be honest with you and feel proud that they felt comfortable enough to do so.
Here’s some great advice on how to handle bad reviews.
5. Social Media
Last but certainly not least, it’s almost guaranteed that your employees know more about social media than you. Ten years ago, you would have had to rely on the younger members of your team to guide you through the art and science of social networking, but nowadays it’s not an activity exclusively for the young. In fact, on Facebook, users over the age of 25 account for 90% of the e-commerce activity on the site and the 55 – 64 year age group is the fastest growing demographic on Twitter. However your company uses social media, resist managing it yourself if you’re not active in the social sphere.
It’s almost guaranteed that your employees know more about social media than you.
In addition, as already discussed in this article, it could also prove beneficial to let your employees use social media during working hours and don’t under-estimate the power of proud employees who broadcast how much they love their job or the company they work for.
What other topics do you think we should be asking our employees about? Have you also benefited from the knowledge of your staff or team members? I’d love to hear your experience.
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