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We've talked a lot on this blog about how to give feedback to employees, but as we said on Friday, communication is a two-way street. Just as we have feedback for our employees, they may have some feedback of their own for us, or the firm as a whole. Hearing out your employees will lead to a happier firm workforce because your associates and staff will feel that their opinions are valued. Not only that, but they may have some good ideas too.
Here are four tips for how to accept feedback from your employees.
1. Make It Known
The first step in accepting feedback from employees is to let them know that you actually want to hear it. A great place to start is the employee handbook, but don't stop there. Make a firm-wide announcement that you are eager to hear feedback from your associates and staff about your, and the firm's performance. Let them know that you are open to constructive criticism about ways to improve the firm.
2. Make It Possible
Once the firm is a-buzz with news that the big boss wants to hear what they think, you'll have to implement a policy for making employee feedback possible. Will you keep it as simple as an open door policy, or suggestion box? How about a quarterly meeting. It's up to you, and what fits best with your firm culture.
3. Make It Easy
Whatever you method you choose for accepting feedback, don't defeat the purpose by making it incredibly difficult for your associates and staff to give you feedback. If they have to jump through ten hoops to make a suggestion, then they will be less likely to do it.
4. Make It Optional
You definitely don't want to force this on to your associates and staff, so make it clear that the ability to give feedback is purely optional. Also, you'll want to give your employees a way to give anonymous feedback to ensure that you are getting the most honest feedback possible.
Employees, especially opinionated lawyers and the people they attract to work for them, always have something to say about their law firms. Imagine they had a place to give feedback in a constructive way, rather than just venting by the water cooler. Wouldn't that be great?