Feedback systems make business better at Diamond Hill Capital Management and United Schools Network.

COO Lisa Wesolek loves talking about Diamond Hill Capital Management, the investment firm where she works. After her children, it is her favorite topic.

Diamond Hill is a cohesive business with happy employees, and a big part of why has to do with the importance placed on them and their thoughts. Of criteria voted on as significant in rating a workplace, companies that encourage new ideas and different points of view rate highly with a 62 percent and 67 percent level of importance, respectively. At Diamond Hill, great efforts have been made to give staff a voice and an audience with higher-ups.

“One thing is the executive leadership team discussion with new employees; we also have an executive leadership team lunch or dinner,” says Wesolek. “We've been doing that for a couple of years now and we get great feedback on that, that employees like it We feel from an executive leadership team perspective that it's extremely helpful because we do get good thoughts and information,” she adds.

And that's not just talk. Once, one of Diamond Hill's out-of-state salespeople offered an idea to the executive team. Within 30 days, it was implemented.

“When we told the team and employee that suggested it, he was like, “Oh my God, you've got to be kidding me. That would be an 18-month process at my old firm,'” says Wesolek.

Hearing out employees in so many different venues helps Diamond Hill.

“From our perspective, those people that are talking to clients, working with them—they're closer to it than I am. It makes a lot of sense for those to be the individuals that help us be better,” Wesolek says.

At charter management organization United Schools Network, ears are also perked for new ideas from employees. it has systems in place for constant feedback from teachers, school administrator and other employees..

“Being in education … innovation is key, especially as it relates to teachers and what they're seeing and experiencing in the classroom and out of the classroom,” says Talent Manager Dante Ferguson.

“Staff members meet with their supervisors weekly for check-ins; that's across our organization. … I think we have the things in place to capture ideas and thoughts and also are small enough to where we can move pretty quickly on things that make sense for us.”

Recently, a group of teachers and board members within USN conducted surveys about potential improvements. The team decided to delay class starts by one hour.

“We're going to see long-term what effect that has. Initially, feedback has been very positive.”

These two companies know that allowing for employee input is a win-win.

“I think we could all talk about firms we know where you have unhappy employees, and certainly clients are not benefitting from that,” says Wesolek.

Chloe Teasley is the editorial assistant.