As a business owner, listening to the feedback loop is the best way to make sure your business is on track. Despite how easy it sounds, it remains one of the 8 most common problems in healthcare organizations and organizational life, in general.
Why should you be asking for feedback?
When you ask your employees and clients for feedback, you uncover new information. The feedback may uncover hidden deficiencies, possibly pointing to something you did not know was broken. Or help you discover opportunities when you find out how things are working in a unique way, that should be expanded! Either way, this information will allow you the time to respond, rather than react. The information has the potential to protect your revenue and makes it easier to anticipate client needs, opportunities and potential future budgets/costs.
Having a good feedback loop can also positively impact your retention.
A recent study found that the lack of regular communication is one of the 3 most common reasons for people to leave their employer. Successful healthcare service providers have systems in place for regular follow up, accountability meetings, and regular check-ins with clients and staff members. This consistent communication is a big driver of job and client satisfaction in these organizations.
How do you ask for feedback from your staff?
The key to asking for feedback is asking open-ended questions. Set your ego aside, be prepared to listen without input and start to ask the difficult questions, like:
- How has the work your doing changed since you started?
- What do you want to do more of/less of?
- What do you think this organization needs to fix to better serve our customers?
- What could we be doing better?
- What do you feel hinders you or creates obstacles for you in getting your work done?
Creating a safe space for questions like these will empower your workforce to provide honest feedback. We encourage you to ask these questions in-person when possible. This way, if you do not fully understand their feedback, you can ask them to clarify or give an example. However, there are also some benefits to taking the first round of feedback offline. It could help them be more comfortable being honest.
Keep in mind that this is an engagement exercise.
The narrative contains opinions that are not all facts or the reality of the situation being discussed. As the leader, you will need to do another exercise after you have collected the feedback to ensure you are adjusting your thoughts. The information you received needs to be reworked with your team to help them focus on the facts. Cy Wakeman, a world-renowned drama researcher, has a great tool that nurses use that can be applied to any industry called the SBAR (Situation/Background/Assessment/Recommendations). This model will help walk you through this process of removing opinion from facts. (Get the free PDF of the SBAR toolkit here).
If you want to ensure you feedback loop works the first time around, the best way to do this is by hiring an outside person. These people are not tied to the pre-existing mental model of your business and will be more likely to uncover hidden problems. (Find out if Sixth Sense Solutions is the right perspective fit for you!)
How do I analyze the feedback and loop it back into the business?
To be able to analyze the feedback, you need to have a structured Q&A process. Answers should be recorded or noted down verbatim, to avoid inferring anything. Once you collect the responses, the meeting should be structured to figure out what the most common feedback is. This process will help determine which problems are the largest to solve. Keep in mind that sometimes the feedback that is being said is not always the root of the problem. There is almost always an underlying message that you do not ever see on the surface.
Hiring an outside perspective.
If you would like help to implement the feedback loop into your organization, consider working with an outside entity that can provide a non-biased perspective. As strategic consultants, Sixth Sense Solutions, can help ask the right questions, and help you understand the feedback-eliciting questions that are most important for your business to succeed.
We are currently offering a FREE Discovery Meeting and Strategy to help you implement a feedback loop in your organization. Learn about the offer here.
About the Author
Keith Freeman, MBA
A dynamic thinker with a great sense of humor, Keith Freeman, MBA, is a Strategic Consultant offering unique solutions to transform healthcare organizations such as hospitals, hospice/palliative, home health, and home care, RCFE/assisted living and skilled nursing facilities and professional healthcare staffing services that support them.