Feedback from Employees

Logo LegalseafoodsI was recently reading an article in Inc. Magazine about Roger Berkowitz, the CEO of Legal Seafoods. He has an interesting way of gathering feedback from employees that is worth noting.

Several years ago, Roger formed what he calls the President’s Advisory Council, which is made up of two hourly employees from each of the company’s restaurants. Managers are not included in the particular council and once a quarter, the company flies the employees on it to headquarters to address a particular question.

The questions asked of the employees are direct and the approaches are pragmatic. They’re questions like “how can we improve training and benefits?” or “how can we make the restaurants more kid friendly?” These questions are simple, but they’re also great questions to ask frontline employees.

Roger runs the council by asking the question, giving groups 20 minutes to discuss some possible approaches, and then having each group make a presentation about how they can address that particular issue. The meeting is ended with an open forum where employees can discuss whatever is on their mind related to the company. According to the article, the employees have had great ideas and he works on implementing their suggestions into restaurants.

What is most important is that Roger acts on the ideas that are actually brought up. Big companies frequently find themselves creating committees that do nothing and creating a dangerous cycle and set of processes. It not only shows that he is a responsive manager, but also a guy that listens to what his employees have to say. He realizes that employee feedback is valuable and acts on that.