Acting on employee feedback at scale

Posted on: February 7, 2024Updated on: February 15, 2024By: Mara Calvello

You know collecting employee feedback from your frontline workers is an absolute must. And you know there are a number of ways to collect this valuable intel.

But once you’ve gathered this employee feedback, what happens next? Especially when we’re talking feedback from thousands (or hundreds of thousands!) of employees, how can you go about acting on employee feedback to ensure that the great ideas don’t get lost in the shuffle? 

Acting On Frontline Employee Feedback

This is where the difference between frontline and deskbound workers really comes into play. For deskbound workers, employee feedback is often more of an HR KPI. Gathering upward feedback is about giving employees a voice, and making sure their concerns are heard. 

The same benefits are there for frontline workers, but there’s also a huge business opportunity to tap into as well. Your frontline workers are just that: on the front line. They are seeing things that head office isn’t. So the feedback they’re sharing can make-or-break your business: customer insights, updates to tactical processes, ways to boost productivity and more. 

That’s why it’s so critical for frontline organizations to have a way to organize and act on employee feedback—because they can turn those ideas into increased revenue, higher sales and more efficient processes. Plus, acting on employee feedback is the best way to ensure your workforce continues to engage in your feedback loops. As one writer put it, there’s no such thing as survey fatigue when you act on employee feedback.

Here are 5 ways for frontline organizations to use employee feedback at scale:

1. Find common sentiment

A great place to start with employee feedback is finding common sentiment with what your frontline staff has to say. This is particularly useful with types of feedback like process change ideas or manager feedback, where finding that common thread amongst thousands of ideas is a huge time-saver. Knowing more than one staff member has the same feedback to share gives it more weight.

Gathering common sentiment can be done a few different ways. Using forums or surveys, you can seek feedback around a question or topic, like “How can we make our inventory update process more efficient?”

Depending on the communication tools you have in place, you can then identify those common threads through word clouds, sentiment analysis, or other analytics tools. After all, there’s strength in numbers, and when you find shared sentiment, you’ll have a better understanding of what actually needs to be changed or updated. 

2. Focus on specific insights

Being specific about the feedback you’re looking for is another way to leverage the intel quickly and easily. This relates to the types of feedback you’re collecting, but also the topic. Be clear on why you’re asking for feedback, and what outcome you’re hoping for. For example, if you’re looking to improve your loyalty program, be more specific than just asking for “Feedback on our loyalty program.” instead, you could reach out to your workforce and say “We’re launching a forum to collect thoughts on how we can improve our loyalty program. Enrollment has been down, so we encourage you all to share best practices and ideas on how you’re enticing customers to sign up.” 

That way, you’ll get at the specific insights and ideas that come straight from the frontline. When you’re collecting specific feedback like this, it’s much easier to act on it quickly. 

3. Let your workers identify great ideas

Again, this tactic depends on what feedback channels you have in place. But when your organization utilizes features that allow employees to engage with each other’s feedback (through likes or comments) some of the heavy lifting is done for you. 

For example, if you’ve asked your workforce for feedback on your health and safety protocols, a company-wide forum allows all employees to see all ideas. So instead of repeating the same feedback again and again, workers can just engage with the ideas they agree with—and head office can focus on the comments that get the most engagement.

This can also work to foster communication around specific ideas and let your teams build on feedback with additional suggestions or constructive criticism. Who says collaboration can’t happen in dispersed teams? 

4. Zero in on tips from top-performing (and worst-performing) regions

Quick: where are your top-performing regions, locations, or employees? (If you don’t know how to identify them at scale, here’s a quick primer.) Knowing these top performers will help you to focus your attention when it comes to employee feedback. Focusing on the tried-and-true suggestions from these regions or locations can help to identify quality feedback quickly—and find best practices to implement at other locations.

The same can be said for your lowest-performing regions and locations. If you see regions that are struggling, pay close attention to their responses to feedback requests. They’ll provide a lot of insight on what isn’t working, and what changes can be made for improvement. 

5. Use numbered-focused feedback

Open-text responses are obviously crucial to any organization. But need to get a fast look at the opinions, morale and overall mood of your workforce at a scale? Consider feedback that’s numbers-focused, like surveys with multiple choice responses or ranked answers. 

For example, if a survey asks “how safe do you feel at work?” with the prompted response being an answer between one (not safe at all) and ten (extremely safe), you can use the responses to see at a glance where your workforce is at. 

It can be challenging to parse through what seems like an endless list of employee feedback, ideas and best-practices—but using these tips will help you to identify those game-changing ideas quickly and easily. 

Mara Calvello

Mara Calvello is a writer and content creator specializing in HR, design, SaaS management, social media and technology.