3 Strategies to Increase Employee Feedback from Manufacturing Teams

Staying connected to your staff is important for any industry. In the manufacturing industry it is particularly critical especially when dealing with supply chains, improving efficiency at plant level or maintaining inventories.


Posted by: Stuart Margetts

The manufacturing industry engages in the mechanical, physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products. Whether the production process deals with make to stock, make to order or make to assemble, good communication systems will form the backbone of any company.

Surveys are a simple and effective way to engage with employees and get timely and helpful feedback but how can employee surveys help improve communication within a company?
To answer this, we need to investigate why surveys are important and 3 ways to ensure that they are utilized and implemented correctly to get the responses you need.

Why Are Surveys Important?

The main aim of a survey is to gain feedback. This can be on anything but within the manufacturing industry these could likely cover shifts, specific tasks or opinions.

The critical element, and why they are successful when used well is they make employees feel valued and heard. In a large organisation employees can often feel overlooked, just one more cog in a vast machine. Having a personalised survey requesting an individual’s personal view can make each and every employee feel as though their opinion matters.

Do Surveys Work?

Surveys work if you have a good level of employee participation. The more data you can gather on the survey topic, the better you can adapt and run your business.

But, with employees working busy jobs and, in the case of the manufacturing industry, sometimes on shifts, it can be challenging to get them to complete them.

Also, do employees believe in them? If surveys have been completed in the past but no positive changes have come from them, why would employees be interested in spending time filling them in?

Surveys will only work if you increase response rates. But how do you do that?

Instead of just dangling a carrot to entice participation or, worse still, forcing employees to fill them in, there are a number of ways you can get your employees to complete surveys.

3 Strategies to Get Your Employees to Complete Surveys

1.    Involve Your Employees to Build Buy-In

Launching a survey for your employees without any warning or expectation of what is needed from them is likely to invoke a slow take up. If you are going to build surveys into your internal communication strategy you need to do your homework first and get buy-in from all aspects of the business.

You might know what you want to ask your employees, but are they on the same page? It’s worth getting their feedback first to find out how they think surveys could be used effectively. If they feel involved from the start you are likely to get a better response rate when you start using them. Again, this is part of a holistic communication strategy that puts your employees at the heart of your company plans. As your greatest asset, you need to listen to them and make them feel listened to.

This approach applies to your managers too. The manufacturing industry can cover many complex divisions, each with their own focus. Certain departments might have different needs so check-in with your managers and see what data and feedback they need from their teams.

One thing to consider is does the survey need to be made anonymous? Sometimes you will get a better response rate if employees aren’t worried their opinions might jeopardise their job security. This will certainly be the case if the survey topic is of a sensitive nature.

2.    Make Easy and Brief Surveys

A complex and longwinded survey isn’t going to be anyone’s idea of fun. But they don’t have to be like that. A clear-cut, well-designed survey should be easy to create and easy to take. Anything complicated is going to get a low response rate.

Using an integrated communication platform will make the process easier. Asking employees to use different software every time you send out a survey is bound to turn them off. They shouldn’t need to create a new password, download a programme or install anything new on their system.

Don’t make surveys too long otherwise employees will give up before they are finished or won’t pay enough attention to their answers. Limit your survey to a certain topic or subject matter. Asking too many questions on too many topics will just risk a low return rate.

If you do need to send out a more complex survey, then explain at the very beginning how long it will take to answer. Forewarning your employees makes them better prepared and will help them set aside enough time to answer the survey correctly.

3.    Act On The Results

When a survey has been completed, you must share results and act on them. Nothing will be more disheartening or discourage further participation than a pile of disregarded survey data that languishes in a data silo, never to see the light of day.

If you are going to devote time to building buy-in, creating easy to digest surveys and encouraging your employees to take them, it would be foolish not to act on the results.

Acting on results builds momentum for further surveys as employees see how effective they can be. They see that their voices really do matter. Demonstrating follow through gives employees something tangible to hold on to.

When you are sharing results, build in the opportunity for further feedback if employees want to give it. Again, it is about building a collaborative communication framework between leaders, managers and employees where voices are heard for the benefit of the company.

OurPeople’s Survey Maker

At OurPeople we love surveys as we know, when used properly, how effective they can be. We work with clients to help them build constructive feedback into their internal communications with frontline teams. All survey data is provided in real-time so managers can see employee responses as soon as they arrive, making business decisions agile and effective.

With our Content Builder, the guesswork of how to create the right survey is taken away. A survey can be created using the drag and drop facility, meaning they can be created easily and within minutes. The tagging system also makes it easy to target specific employees or teams depending on what data is needed.

Our Analytics dashboard means all the data gathered from surveys can be easily digestible, allowing you to see what your teams need, and which surveys are performing the best.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of your organisation can be easily achieved by improving your employee engagement with surveys. Use these strategies to help improve participation and see how they can benefit your business.