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How Anonymous Feedback Impacts Employee Retention

Max Farrell
By Max Farrell CEO & Co-founder, WorkHound

technology-istock_768x432.jpgWhile technology is essential, people are the backbone of manufacturing. Just as a machine malfunction can stall progress, interpersonal challenges among teams can also hinder operations. Simply put, the human element is central to successful manufacturing.

Traditional Methods Miss the Mark

Annual employee surveys have been the go-to method for getting a pulse on the workforce and its sentiment on pay, workplace relations and safety. Yet, these insights often come too late—reviewed long after a frontline worker, frustrated and feeling ignored, decides to move on. Annual surveys and exit interviews are reactive in nature and provide only an episodic viewpoint, missing the day-to-day fluctuations in employee morale.

Proactively meeting the needs of frontline workers isn’t rocket science, but it does require a plan of action, a culture of curiosity and active listening. In 2023, a national logistics company retained 1,000 more employees than it did in 2022 by investing in stronger communication channels, addressing raised concerns quickly and creating record feedback for continuous improvement.

Frequent, honest feedback from employees offers businesses real-time insights into priority issues, surfacing obstacles and needs that might go unnoticed until the damage is done.

A recent report from Ansell found over 94% of manufacturing and distribution workers believe it’s very important that their employers prioritize their safety. While traditional survey results may show that a majority of a workforce ‘strongly agrees’ safety measures are adequate, only a worker on the manufacturing floor can identify and report specific concerns as they arise, prompting fast interventions.

And while reporting to a manager should be option number one, an anonymous channel is crucial for those hesitant to report in person.

Here’s how to create a culture of communication in feedback that will quell attrition and create a workplace where workers feel heard.

  1. Promote open communication: You don’t know what you don’t know. Navigating the path to success means understanding the unseen challenges and asking the right questions. However, knowing what to ask is a challenge in and of itself.

Blind spots keep business leaders in the dark, unaware of areas in need of improvement. Encouraging employees to voice their insights can demystify these areas, eliminating the guesswork from vital decision-making processes.

  1. Adopt the right tech tools: Integrating the appropriate feedback channels facilitates instant and ongoing communication between employees and managers. With the added benefit of anonymity, employees can feel comfortable providing truthful responses without fear of retaliation.
  2. Take action: The real value of feedback is only realized when it’s used to inform changes and make progress. Leaders must establish a process for regular feedback analysis, goal setting and ensuring actionable steps are put into motion—closing the feedback loop and curating a culture of communication and trust.

Employee-Centric Manufacturing

As the industry continues to evolve, so should the approach to retaining the workforce driving its progress.

Manufacturers prioritizing active listening are broadcasting an important message: they are invested in their workforce’s current and future success, not just their immediate output.

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