Improving the feedback loop is critical for IT success

About the author

Gavrilo Bozovic is a product manager with Nexthink where he helps redefine how employees experience IT. 

One of IT’s biggest challenges across the enterprise today is getting feedback from employees that is useful and demonstrates how technology deployments are actually going. 

Most IT departments send out generic “how are we doing?” surveys via email, and unsurprisingly, they typically receive very few responses. With such a small amount of feedback, it’s impossible to get a view of what is actually going on, making these surveys almost useless. Despite the shortcomings of the majority of surveys, it is critical for IT teams to get a representative sampling of how their deployments are going so they can ensure employees are being empowered, not hindered, by new and existing technologies. There must be a better way to gather the critical feedback that IT teams desperately need to keep their employees’ digital experience high.

I’m not suggesting IT teams should abandon surveys altogether, but they should abandon the traditional way of doing them. To that end, IT teams need to take a more engaging and personalized approach when collecting feedback to get the answers they need. In an enterprise setting, if IT departments adjust their surveys to follow the three key principles below, they will be able to collect a greater amount of actionable, valuable feedback and see far higher response rates.

Get personal 

Make employees understand that you value their opinion by asking personalized questions to get their thoughts. Instead of sending out an email that broadly asks “how are we doing?” – you should pose specific questions along the lines of: “is issue X still happening with the new app?” or “are your emails being received and sent quicker with the new email provider?”. 

Obviously, it’s important to ask more than one yes/no question, but by being pointed in your inquiries, you demonstrate you care and are also able to get useful information that can help you improve current and future IT rollouts. Additionally, don’t overwhelm employees with 20 questions, keep the number of questions limited and focused to those that really matter.

(Image: © Image Credit: Fox / Pexels)

Make the survey stand out

If everyone sends out surveys via email, people are likely to ignore them altogether. Make sure you get creative in how you engage with users for feedback to maximize response rates. This rule doesn’t just apply to external audiences, it should apply to internal ones as well. Is there a way to pop the questions up right on the employees’ desktops? Would there be better response rates if it was rolled out through the company’s internal messaging tool? Are you asking questions precisely when employees are experiencing things to ensure the feedback is timely and relevant? There isn’t a one size fits all model – IT should find what works for their environment and not be afraid of exploring multiple channels if they’re not getting the answers they need to improve. 

The idea sounds basic, but when put into the practice, simplicity becomes its power. If IT teams deploy surveys creatively and demonstrate that they care about the person they’re sending questions to, the answers are more likely to be useful and benefit the organization. 

Image credit: Pixabay

(Image: © Image credit: Pixabay)

Listen and act 

After IT teams conduct a survey and receive the responses, they must then put what they’ve learned into practice. IT needs to take the feedback and begin to implement changes, even if they are just incremental to begin with, so that employees truly feel listened to. By committing to making changes quickly, IT is proving to employees that the feedback loop is strong and for their benefit. This will in turn, encourage more employee participation in the future and result in not only a higher response rate, but employees will take more time answering the questions as well.

When it comes time for your next technology rollout and there is a need for employee feedback that cuts to the core of how it is actually going, I encourage you to personalize and focus the survey, ensure you are asking relevant questions at the right time, and demonstrate where feedback has led to change in the past to keep the feedback loop moving.

As you build the foundation of trust between IT and employees, the questions IT asks can be more complex and the answers employees provide will be more in depth. With these three things working in concert, enterprises will provide a far better digital experience for employees to help them to be more productive and effective for the business.

Gavrilo Bozovic, Product Manager at Nexthink


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