Once again, the UK are in the throes of dissecting another General Election and social media is ablaze with impassioned discussions about party policies. Despite some fairly frank conversations in the Meetoo office, this blog is not about the political manifesto’s but our own manifesto (of sorts) on finding a better way to obtain and review employee feedback.
In the UK we still use the paper ballot for elections, mainly to mitigate against tampering, with a side helping of tradition. With nearly a quarter of the population not turning out to vote in comparison to the 1950's and with increased technology now available, isn't it about time we look at how we can engage more people to have their say? In reaction to the recent BBC business article, 'Has the time now come for internet voting?' we took to Twitter with our own social poll and unsurprisingly 83% of voters said that smartphone voting would engage young people in politics.
Whilst the debate about so called 'iVoting' for political purposes will no doubt rage on in the coming years, is there something we can we learn from this to benefit us now, to increase the efficiency of providing feedback in the workplace where we can more readily affect change, especially with an increasing millennial workforce?
So in the paperless age, why are we still using paper feedback forms?
Historically, employee or event feedback has been collected via paper feedback forms left on seats, passed around the room or completed during one-to-one meetings. This is the way most of us are used to providing feedback - it feels safe as it is what we expect.
Whilst ultimately getting answers is the main goal, the time it takes to prepare the questionnaire, the resources and manpower it takes to print, collect and analyse the results makes paper feedback a labour-intensive and potentially costly exercise, both environmentally and financially. 'But we've always done it this way' is the usual answer here, overall, people are very reluctant to change the habit of a lifetime.
Writing your answers on a form should be straightforward and typically needs no explanation, if you have access to a pen or pencil...not an easy task in the Meetoo offices I can tell you!
If you're responsible for gathering feedback, whether it be from staff or clients, it could be time to investigate the benefits of doing this digitally for you but also for the benefit of your employees.
Adoption of mobile and interactive technology has rapidly increased in all areas of life and people now expect to be able to interact via mobile devices or on web platforms. As more and more transactions of all kinds take place online, people or organisations seeking feedback need to provide methods to obtain this feedback in the way that people feel comfortable doing so. Increasingly, businesses are also turning to online platforms for HR management as not only are they more secure than the office filing cabinet but they also enable secure remote access for flexible working. So, migrating feedback forms to a digital space makes complete sense from a management and coordination standpoint.
In meetings or training sessions, many people still use the 'show of hands' tally to poll the audience. Whilst this is a very simple approach, it does not account for people who are maybe not comfortable raising their hand and would feel more at ease using a polling or discussion app by tapping a button on a mobile or tablet or clicking an option on their computer screen. Far from widening the engagement gap, technology such as a polling app can enhance engagement and interaction in face to face meetings as people do not feel as inhibited or under pressure from peers or management.
After going to the effort of creating and printing feedback forms and hoping everyone will complete them, paper feedback forms require analysing to tot up the results and track any trends. Depending on how many forms need evaluation, this will take considerable time and manpower. By using a polling and discussion app to obtain feedback, the results of any polls are immediate, meaning that the meeting agenda can be flexible to accommodate the direction of conversation, making employee comms meetings more valuable. Using Meetoo as an example, once a session is complete, the meeting host receives a report with all the data from the session including any polling results and comments in a CSV file. Not only is this process much faster, it’s also more convenient, leaving everyone to get on with the rest of their day.
Of course we might be slightly biased but when you look at the advantages of tools like Meetoo, it's clear to see that both the employer and employee can feel the benefit of using a polling and discussion app. However you chose to vote in the General Election, at least we had the chance for our voice to be heard. We hope that employers continue to offer this opportunity to their staff to work towards improved employee comms.
If you have any questions about using Meetoo for internal or employee comms then take a look at our For The Workplace page or email email@example.com
Read more about using a polling app in our blogs 10 reasons you NEED a polling app in your employee comms meetings and Can a polling app transform your internal communications?
Sophie Thomas is the Marketing Manager for Meetoo. A self-confessed gadget queen and social media geek, she loves tech and has an app for everything.
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