How to Solicit Honest Shift Feedback

How to Solicit Honest Shift Feedback
Ana Cvetkovic

By Ana Cvetkovic

One in two hourly workers leave their jobs after less than a year of employment. Unfortunately, replacing employees is both time consuming and expensive. Did you know that it costs companies almost $6,000 to replace and train just one employee?

So how can companies increase retention rates without investing in extravagant staff retreats or perks? Asking for feedback, listening to it, and making small changes is a cost effective way to increase employee engagement and reduce turnover.

Why some companies de-prioritize employee and shift feedback

In an ideal world, managers would have constant feedback loops set up in order to be in tune with their employees’ sentiments and needs. Unfortunately, soliciting feedback often isn’t a priority in the workplace. This dearth doesn’t happen because managers don’t care about their employees; they’re oftentimes simply too busy focusing on initiatives that seem more closely tied to the bottom line to prioritize collecting feedback from staff.

The restaurant industry, for example, is a field that suffers from too many tasks and not enough people to do them. The industry is affected by the nationwide labor shortage, a phenomenon in which there are more jobs available than there are people to do them. How does the restaurant industry deal with this shortage? By cross-training employees to be able to perform their colleagues’ roles when they need to step in.

When staff need to fill multiple roles, they don’t have time for tasks that on the surface don’t appear related to the bottom line - like providing and analyzing shift feedback. However, feedback is directly related to revenue.

What you can learn from soliciting shift feedback

There’s plenty of intel to be gained from asking your staff for reviews of their shifts on a regular basis. This is what you can expect to gain when you ask for shift feedback.

Positive outcomes

  • Reduce turnover - When you discover that an employee is dissatisfied at work, you can infer that they’ll quit in the near future. You can then give them one-on-one attention to address the problems that they’re facing and solve them so that they don’t quit.
  • Increase employee engagement - Knowing what makes your employees feel empowered and what makes them less than excited to show up to work can help you create initiatives to boost their workplace satisfaction.
  • Improve shift quality - When you learn what can make or break a shift through employee feedback, you can take action to make work better.

Negative outcomes

  • Getting honest feedback can be difficult - Staff may be afraid that criticizing their employer, colleagues, or manager will lead to punishment.
  • Uncover bad hiring decisions - If someone is always unhappy at work, chances are that they’ll never be happy because they don’t fit in to the workplace culture. Quitting is inevitable when staff aren’t vetted based on their values.
  • Uncover problems among staff - By soliciting input, you may discover interpersonal problems between staff, which can be complicated to deal with.

Ultimately, all of those negatives can be turned into positives as they help shed light on what is really going on under your nose so that you can operate your restaurant more successfully. Ask for feedback to get the real story behind what it’s like to work at your company in order to keep employees engaged and to reduce turnover.

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How to solicit feedback in the workplace

There are lots of ways to ask for feedback. Here are some options to consider as you figure out the best method for your company.

Privacy: Anonymous or not?

When you ask for anonymous feedback from employees, they’ll be more honest. However, if you learn about a big problem through the feedback you collect, you can’t trace it back if anonymity is granted.

If you don’t grant anonymity, your staff may be scared to be honest with you. However, if they are open, you can pinpoint who is having problems and can therefore work with them directly to solve these problems.

Frequency: Monthly vs. shift based

When you solicit feedback on a monthly basis, you can get an idea of overall trends. However, in the restaurant industry, servers quit every two months, so someone might leave if a problem isn’t addressed quickly enough. Furthermore, it can be difficult to remember shifts days or weeks after they’ve passed.

If you ask for feedback on a shift basis, you’ll gain access to feedback immediately and can therefore catch and resolve problems ASAP to prevent turnover. However, if done manually, collecting feedback after every shift can be time consuming and chaotic. Opt for a mobile tool to streamline feedback collection and analysis.

Screenshot of 7shifts Engage features like employee feedback employee engagement, and engagement across locations

Setting: One-on-one vs. group feedback

In a one-on-one setting, staff can address concerns with their managers privately, which may mean that they could open up more. Roughly 44% of restaurant staff feel that more face-time with management 1-on-1 or in groups would improve their workplace happiness. However, this intimate setting may make some staff too shy to give their input, especially in high pressure environments.

Workplace problems and their solutions can be brainstormed more easily in group settings than during one-on-one chats. Plus, when you let staff be part of the solution, you’re engaging them by showing that you care about their ideas. However, some staff may not want to volunteer problems in front of each other.

How honest feedback benefits everyone in the long run

Gathering feedback from staff benefits both employees and employers.  Feedback helps management catch problems, and then solve them. Managers can make systematic, cultural problems to address problems that affect everyone. And when managers solve individual problems in the workplace, they are preventing turnover, which can cost almost $6,000 per employee!

At the end of the day, people who are engaged at work are less likely to quit or drop shifts. When staff stay instead of quitting, they perform better because they don’t have to juggle multiple roles. When fewer shifts are dropped, your company can spend less on costly overtime and can offer employees predictable scheduling. With predictable schedules, staff can obtain work-life balance and be less stressed and therefore perform better at work.

Sharing and collecting shift feedback is a win-win situation for employees and employers.

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Ana Cvetkovic
Ana Cvetkovic

Ana Cvetkovic is a freelance writer. She is also the CEO of BLOOM Digital Marketing, a creative marketing agency that helps the hospitality and tourism industries reach millennials online.