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Author: Daniela McVicker

Psychology Tips to Get Honest Feedback from Your Employees

How do your employees feel about your recruiting and onboarding processes?

Are they satisfied with the training they’re receiving? What about their work environment?

It would be best if you had honest feedback to be confident that your organization is doing what it takes to hire, onboard, train, and retain great professionals. The problem is that many employees don’t feel comfortable being forthcoming. A good HR team understands this and will use psychology, not to be manipulative but to encourage honest feedback.

In this article, we’re going to look into four essential tips that employers and HR departments should consider when trying to get honest input from their employees. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Show That You Will Follow Through

It goes without saying that asking your coworkers for feedback just for the sake of it is a destructive practice that may end up harming your personnel’s morale. It’s much more important to act upon the feedback you received from your employees, rather than choosing more intricate ways of collecting that information.

People care about being heard. If feedback sessions don’t lead to anything but platitudes, they have no reason to continue being open with you. Therefore, it’s important to stress that even if you won’t be able to satisfy an employee’s request, it’s imperative to provide them with a detailed explanation regarding why that decision was made.

In order to ensure your staff that their voices have been heard, it’s vital to follow up with a summary of the issues they voiced. By ensuring that your staff’s feedback is heard and addressed, you’ll be able to considerably improve employee engagement and build a corporate culture that honors commitments.

To even better understand the issues that the employee may be facing, it’s also a good idea to have a set of follow-up questions to better calibrate the problem. Here are a few examples:

  • How do you think this issue can be resolved?
  • How do you think this will affect the company and its culture?
  • What can we do to avoid such issues in the future?
  • What can your managers do to better support you?
  • What do you recommend that your managers/peers keep doing?

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Seek Feedback Across Departments and Managerial Levels

An excellent practice for receiving more detailed and honest feedback is employing the so-called “skip-level” principle when it comes to giving feedback. The vast majority of employees might find it uncomfortable to report to their immediate managers or supervisors, which can defeat the purpose of capturing the workers’ honest opinions.

Allowing employees to deliver feedback to their upper management will enable them to be more open and honest while giving people higher up in the hierarchy the opportunity to get a better understanding of the potential problems the business may be facing. That is especially the case if the company has a very vertical organizational structure, which will often leave the higher-ups oblivious to the issues of their subordinates two or three levels below.”

This allows upper management to have an in-depth understanding of how their decisions impact everyone in the organization.

However, this approach has one crucial precondition — higher management needs to be approachable. Employees will be eager to share their honest opinion on things and events only if there’s a genuine interest that they can sense from their interviewers.

Therefore, it’s critical to create an open-door environment, where workers aren’t intimidated or demotivated to communicate their feedback to higher management.

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Create an Online System for Providing Quick Feedback

To have a holistic approach towards collecting feedback, it’s essential to ensure that employees can express their opinion on important matters at all times. Good feedback is ongoing, and employers need to ensure that there’s a channel for it.

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Photo by Marek Levak from Pexels

Instead of receiving feedback from your employees once or twice a year, it’s better to have an online system where they can provide you with input and do it anonymously if they feel that it’s necessary. An online system of this type will allow you to address issues as they arise, acknowledge important problems that the organization is facing, and test new ideas forwarded by your workers.

There are six different types of online employee feedback channels that businesses should consider. They range from short and ad-hoc to rigorous and lengthy:

  • Always-on
  • Ad hoc
  • Pulse surveys
  • Employee lifecycle
  • Multi-rater assessments
  • Census engagement surveys

If you’re looking to normalize and facilitate feedback exchange, you should consider integrating Always-On and Ad Hoc surveys in your work design.

Be Honest About Your Struggles

There is a common trend among businesses to humanize their online presence. Organizations try hard to be as transparent and authentic as possible with their customers. There’s nothing wrong with doing the same in regards to your employees.

Being honest with your workers about the struggles you and the company are facing is a great way to stimulate them to be honest with you in return. Underline how valuable their honest input is to solve some critical issues the organization is dealing with. In effect, this will enable your personnel to identify important issues, but also try to search for possible solutions.

Keeping your employees in the dark regarding budget concerns, competition, hiring needs, and other significant problems will only dissuade them from contributing with honest feedback. If they won’t feel that they are a part of this company, there’s no reason they would want to help it out by providing it with their recommendations.

It is only by ensuring your coworkers that you’re forthcoming, will you persuade them to share their needs and challenges as well. 


Motivating your employees to provide you with regular and, more importantly, honest feedback is not an easy task, by any stretch of the imagination. However, we are confident that by implementing these four psychology tips, you’ll enable your coworkers to tell you what’s on their mind.

A healthy and regular exchange in feedback will allow your company to grow and overcome issues while improving your employees’ morale. Good luck!