There’s a secret to building a stronger employee experience that enables you to retain your workforce: employee feedback. Think about it. If you want to know how to improve the employee experience and keep people from jumping ship, who can provide better guidance than your own employees?

Here are eight ways to collect employee feedback, so you know what it will take to improve your employee experience and boost retention:

1. New employee surveys

An employee’s first 90 days at a new job are critical for their overall engagement and satisfaction. Send them a new employee survey during this period to learn about their early employee experience. Some companies will send a survey at 30, 60, and 90 days to gauge the new employee experience, while others may send a single survey at the 90 day mark. Do what makes the most sense for your employee onboarding program and company culture.

Ask questions related to whether the new employee feels welcome on the team, how they’re settling in, and if they think their goals are reasonable. Update this survey as you gather feedback through other means. For instance, if your exit survey data indicates that poor manager relationships are responsible for a high 90-day turnover rate, be sure to ask new employees about manager relationships.

2. Employee engagement surveys

Annual—or even biannual or quarterly—employee engagement surveys are a great way to collect large amounts of employee feedback at once. These are often quite comprehensive, focusing on anything and everything that could be impacting employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

Improve your completion rates by communicating with your employees around why you’re conducting the survey, and ensuring that feedback is anonymous. Sharing the results and acting on feedback can ensure that future surveys are well received too.

3. Pulse surveys

Pulse surveys are much shorter and faster to complete than employee engagement surveys, and can be done more frequently. Some companies will conduct weekly Pulse surveys with 1-3 questions, while others may conduct them monthly with 4-5 questions. 

This can be a great opportunity to get a regular pulse on employee satisfaction, and hear timely feedback. An employee Net Promoter Score is an easy way to begin. Simply ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend working at [Company] to a friend or family member?” Ask the employee to choose a number between 1-10, then leave a comment box below asking “Why did you give us that rating?” This open ended question can provide many useful pieces of feedback in near real-time, rather than waiting to hear them after engagement surveys.

Pulse surveys can also be used to track progress on key initiatives. For instance, if you’ve been addressing feedback about lack of career advancement, use your Pulse surveys to see if your initiatives have been hitting the mark or if there’s more work to be done.

4. Stay interviews

Stay interviews are a great way to collect feedback from your top performers, so you can better retain them. Their managers should sit down with them to learn what they like most and least about their jobs, what keeps them at your company, and what would entice them to consider other opportunities. 

The results of these interviews can be used to create “stay plans” for your top performers. They should outline opportunities for training and advancement, and address any other feedback discussed. For instance, a top performer who mentions they would leave for a remote work opportunity might be offered a work from home option, even if just for a couple of days each week. Of course, this feedback could also be applied company-wide to institute a formal work-from-home policy for all employees. 

5. Review sites

Some employees will never share feedback directly with their employers, but may share it on review sites. It’s important to monitor these sites so you don’t miss important employee feedback.

Employer review sites to keep on your radar include:

  • Glassdoor
  • CareerBliss
  • InHerSight
  • Great Place to Work
  • Comparably
  • Indeed

Claim your employer page and sign up for alerts, where applicable, to see feedback from your current and former employees as it’s shared.

6. Managers

Managers are on the frontlines, privy to both formal and informal employee feedback. They’re hearing it during one-on-ones, in team meetings, and in water cooler conversations. They may also have gut feelings about what is driving satisfaction, retention, engagement, and productivity on their teams—and what is hindering it. 

Keep the lines of communication open with your managers, and explicitly tell them that no piece of feedback is insignificant. Whether it’s a one-off employee comment about compensation, or an observation that women are leaving the team faster than men, you want to know. You can incorporate related questions into employee surveys to learn whether the rest of your workforce feels the same way.

7. Employee suggestion box

In a world of digital innovation, an old fashioned employee suggestion box still has an important place. Employees could be wary of sharing honest feedback through other means, for fear of retaliation. A suggestion box allows them to leave anonymous feedback without a digital footprint. 

Put the box somewhere that’s easily accessible, but not where people tend to gather. For instance, employees could slip their feedback into a box at the front desk on their way home, but may feel uncomfortable if the box were in a heavily used break room.

8. Exit interviews

An exit interview is essentially your last opportunity to collect employee feedback before it makes its way onto employer review sites. Employees may have one primary reason for leaving—such as an opportunity for career growth—but many other factors could be contributing to their decision to leave. Find out what those are. Directly ask departing employees what they thought about their manager, compensation, benefits, team dynamics, growth opportunities, and anything else you’re curious to know.

Final thoughts on employee feedback

Employee feedback is crucial to crafting an exceptional employee experience and boosting retention. Utilize as many of these tools as you’re able to ensure your employee feedback is comprehensive—then act on it. 

Sixty percent of U.S. employees reported having a way to provide feedback about their own employee experience, but only 30 percent said their feedback was acted upon by their employer. Workers who say their employer acts on their feedback are 4 times more likely to stay with the company than employees who don’t think their feedback changes anything. 

Employee feedback can help you boost retention in our competitive talent landscape—but only if you use it to build a better workplace.