Expert Interview Series: B.J. Shannon of TINYpulse About the Role Employee Feedback Plays in Idea Management

Role Employee Feedback Plays in Idea Management

B.J. Shannon joined TINYpulse in June of 2013 as Employee # 1 and now heads up the global Customer Success Team. We caught up with B.J. to discuss the value of employee feedback and how best to obtain and leverage this information in order to help a company succeed.

What does TINYPulse offer that can improve employees’ morale and/or corporate culture?
TINYpulse enables employees to contribute and receive feedback throughout the year by offering yearly or semi-annual survey check-ins for both culture and performance. We turned traditional engagement surveys and performance reviews on their heads and made them TINYer and more regular.

How important is it to engage the entire organization?
Providing an avenue for all teams to feel empowered to submit suggestions on how an organization can improve culturally or as a business is an incredibly easy and affordable investment that has an almost guaranteed ROI. Simply showing all employees that their opinions are valued and wanted has beneficial impacts on morale and engagement.

If a business owner or manager were to say to you, “I don’t need a software program to spot a burned-out employee,” how would you respond?
I’d ask how they knew this, and would likely hear the response, “I have an open-door policy, and I am a very approachable boss.” We find that so many “bosses” underestimate the power dynamic that exists between employees and their supervisors or employers. Not all employees feel comfortable providing honest feedback and can successfully hide being burned out or being on the hunt for another job.

We talk with so many managers and business owners, and almost invariably they say that the most terrifying words they can hear from an employee are, “Here’s my two weeks’ notice.” If they were able to spot this in advance, they’d likely do something beforehand to intervene. Software programs that collect anonymous employee feedback on a regular basis can do just that.

What guidelines do you recommend to companies or organizations regarding whether the completion of employee surveys should be voluntary or mandatory?
Well, I recommend that organizations survey their employees anonymously, so this is sort of moot by definition. It’s impossible to enforce a mandatory completion policy for anonymous surveys.

However, I do think that communicating with employees before deploying the surveys in order to explain the “why” behind what organizations are doing, and what the commitment from the employer is regarding what will be done with the data (sharing back, action planning, etc.), can be impactful on completion rates. Employees want to provide feedback, but they have to know that it’s going to result in positive change and not just disappear into a black hole. A mutual commitment between employers and employees regarding what is expected from both sides can be more successful than just saying that survey completion is compulsory.

What advice would you provide to a company or organization on how to proceed if stakeholder surveys revealed a significant problem?
First and foremost, remind yourself that this problem would have existed whether or not you were aware of it. Once you realize that you’re in a better position for discovering it, you’re in a much better place to say “OK, let’s acknowledge this to our employees and talk about how we can fix it – or that we won’t be able to fix it.” Not all issues can be immediately addressed, but employees need to know that an issue has been acknowledged – and they will be more understanding once that occurs.

Want to see how IdeaScale’s ideation software can help you keep your employees engaged and generate new outcomes? Request a demo today!

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