Listen to Your Staff

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Just as important as communicating openly with your employees – and arguably much harder -- is making sure they communicate openly with you.

Employees surveys are regularly used among the 2016 Best Firms to Work For, offering staff anonymous ways to share their concerns, point out things that need fixing, and bubble up ideas. While this is most often an annual thing, some firms deploy them even more frequently.

The 48 staff at Maryland’s Santos, Postal & Co., for instance, are asked questions as often as weekly through the Officevibe e-survey platform the firm uses to get real-time feedback. Similarly, Las Vegas-based JW Advisors uses an online platform called TinyPulse to send short, frequent pulse surveys to its 17 employees.

The trick with employee surveys, of course, is to actually do something with the information. “Almost all of our new initiatives/policy changes/benefits additions are at the sole suggestion of employees, pulled from both anonymous e-surveys distributed to employees and firm-facilitated feedback through a variety of sources,” reported Kearney & Co., an Alexandria, Va..-based firm with over 530 employees.

Another tool the Best Firms use regularly is the employee committee. New Jersey-based Wilkin & Guttenplan, for instance, has two: a Future Council of Millennial employees that meet three times a year to share their ideas and vision for the future of the firm, and a W&G Advisor Council of staff from various departments and levels, which focuses on empowering employees and arriving at innovative solutions to firm problems.

In the end, staff who feel that their ideas and concerns are being listened to and taken seriously are much more likely to remain engaged – and to stick around long enough to help build the firm’s future.

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