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Embrace employee feedback for smoother sailing: Four tips from Carnival

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Improving operations with crew input

At Carnival Corporation, we recognize that the people who know the business best are often those on the front line, the ones directly engaging guests. For us, these are the crew members on our more than 100 ships serving 11 million guests annually. In other organizations, it could be the teller at a bank branch, the floor sales rep at a store or the customer service agent at a call center. These front-line professionals know the products; they understand what works and what doesn’t, the common customer complaints and what can be improved. Yet, their voices are rarely heard.

Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest cruise operator, and in our industry, the majority of guest experiences occur in a ship in the distant ocean. How, then, can the crew be effectively heard by fellow crew members and by management in shore offices? This is where a workflow management solution can bridge the communication divide.

We implemented such a solution at Carnival Corporation to capture and route suggestions to the proper channels, help implement policy and procedure changes, and communicate changes across our ships. We are now benefiting from an integrated solution managing the whole business process improvement life cycle.

What follows are some guidelines we found were critical throughout the design and implementation of the solution.

Harnessing employee feedback potential: Four tips for success

  1. Provide easy access: Make access to your feedback system very easy, using as many different channels as make sense. If your solution only works through a system that the manager has access to or staff can only give suggestions during staff meetings, you will lose some of the best ideas. Make it so simple and accessible that employees at all levels can share a suggestion right when the idea comes to them. That might include web applications and mobile apps in addition to more traditional meetings.
  2. Keep it simple: The simpler and more intuitive the feedback process, the more likely it will be accepted by users. The first point of entry for workflow management is usually a dashboard, so make sure yours is useful and attractive. An efficient dashboard should also provide transparency, allowing workers at all levels to see the status of their submitted suggestions. Knowing if a suggestion was accepted (or not) encourages and promotes further change. That is how you can continuously keep process improvement moving forward.
  3. Create a culture of change: Management has to be open and ready to evaluate all suggestions and to make changes whenever relevant. Communicating status is also an important component. Failing or being late to respond gives the impression that no one is paying attention to incoming suggestions. So embrace the process and be an ambassador for change.
  4. Incorporate a feedback loop: Even after your feedback system is operating well, it’s important to keep listening. Employees can provide valuable feedback throughout the process, so incorporate and monitor a feedback loop.

Sailing into the future

Automated workflow management tools can yield amazing benefits to your company. These tools help prevent processes from slipping through the cracks and allow the best ideas to rise to the top. By engaging all employees and encouraging them to continuously look for improvement opportunities for the company’s products and services, you foster enhanced teamwork and can gain valuable ideas. These ideas could unlock savings opportunities or create competitive advantage through innovation. It’s as easy as harnessing the power of your front line employees.

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Hear more about the Carnival journey by watching the below video.

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Carnival Corporation VP & Corporate CIO

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