How to Respond to Negative Employee Feedback

CEO of Peter Coppinger discusses the one feedback question himself and co-founder Daniel Mackey asked their team, and what they did when the results were less than stellar.

Dan and I want Teamwork to be a great place to work. Last September, we decided to send out an anonymous company-wide eNPS survey to see how our team was feeling about the company. We asked the whole team one question:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend working at to a friend or colleague?

And then we waited.

The results came in pretty quickly, and I wish I could say they were more positive.

When we realized that nine members of our team said they couldn’t recommend working at Teamwork, I knew we needed to have some important conversations.

We Listened, We Set a Baseline

Initially, Dan and I were devastated. We didn’t expect to get results that said everything was perfect, but still this dose of reality was a bit of a blow.

After discussing the results at length, Dan and I realized that no company gets their culture right off the bat, so why should we be any different?

We decided to take the results as a wake-up call and set a baseline. This was a place we could improve from.

What Did We Tell Our Team?

Taking a cue from Company Value #10 we decided that we had to be humble and honest with our team. We admitted that some people weren’t as happy as they could be here, and we wanted to find out why and make improvements.

Here’s what we wrote on our internal blog to our team:

I have to say something difficult but honest: At the end of the day, despite our best efforts, we simply won’t be the right fit for everyone. We are a scrappy, rapidly-growing company still figuring things out and will probably be forever. Give us some time to fix some leaks, but if anybody here finds that truthfully you are not really happy, please consider moving on for your own sake.
We will do whatever it takes to be one of the world’s most productive, fairly run and happiest software houses. We want this to be a truly great place to work. The first step is achieving this is being honest with ourselves about where we are — so thanks for that, guys. Onwards to happiness.

Dan and I moved forward, made some changes, and then sent out another survey three months later. We had our baseline, and we wanted to see if we could measure satisfaction.

Did it work? We’ll tell you what happened in our next post.

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