In a recent study, 65% of employees expressed their willingness to have more feedback and 75% of them said feedback proves to be valuable for their work.
Feedback has the power to make transformational changes in your organisation. It can help you create a positive work environment, improve employee performance, increase employee job satisfaction, better understand and cater to employees’ needs, and encourage employees to perform at their best potential by appreciating their efforts.
But the irony is, despite all the good, most organisations struggle to utilise the power of feedback. They do not have a well-defined mechanism and a culture of feedback in place to share feedback effectively.
Especially since the pandemic, it has become more important to provide feedback correctly and frequently because remote employees feel higher levels of isolation. They become less engaged in work due to lack of interaction, which eventually has detrimental effects on their performance.
This post demystifies the power of feedback that will help you create a culture of feedback in your organisation. It will discuss the importance of feedback, how to create a feedback culture, the art of giving and receiving feedback, and more.
Why is feedback important in the workplace?
Feedback is very important for everyone in the workplace whether it is managers, employees, and executives. It provides the necessary direction and motivation for everyone to work.
It helps you lay the foundation of trust between employees and an employer, create a culture of transparent and open communication, and provide your employees with psychological safety that they are heard, valued, informed, and supported at all times.
Benefits of providing feedback
Feedback offers a wide range of benefits in the workplace. Have a look at some of the key benefits.
Feedback brings clarity by clearly specifying to the employees what they are doing well and where they need to work.
It clarifies the expectations, company goals, and employee responsibilities that help them to deliver the best in their work.
Addresses issues early on
The best thing about feedback is honesty and transparency. It helps you identify and address issues early on.
If you are facing some challenges with your team members, you can respectfully inform them and they can work on areas that need improvement.
Most employees appreciate constructive feedback. 92% of people believe that constructive criticism is effective at improving performance.
It is not hard to feel demotivated if one’s efforts are not appreciated. Feedback helps improve employee motivation, increases job satisfaction, and encourages them to do better.
When employees are appreciated regularly, it makes them feel they are part of the organisation and contributing to achieving company goals.
69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were more recognised. Happy employees are the best people!
Builds trustworthy relationships
Feedback fosters open and transparent communication between management and employees to build a trustworthy relationship.
Especially when feedback is given and received respectfully and constructively, it shows employees their opinions are valued and they can trust the management for solutions to their problems.
It helps reduce the turnover rate as issues are resolved before escalating into big trouble.
Aligns with company goals, and encourages personal growth
Regular feedback helps employees stay on track with the company goals. It helps them understand company goals, objectives, and values and how their work contributes to them.
Also, if you are making changes, feedback makes sure your employees are updated with any changes that occur in their department or team. Oftentimes, they’ll appreciate you sending a detailed email or a presentation with these changes.
Now, you have understood the importance of feedback in the workplace. Let’s understand how to create a culture of feedback in your organisation.
Creating a feedback culture
Creating a culture of feedback means developing a workplace environment where anyone regardless of their position (manager, executive, and leadership) can share any kind of feedback (positive, negative, and constructive) openly and honestly. It does not happen overnight and takes time to create such an environment.
39% of employees report that they didn’t get enough feedback.
But with the right efforts, tools, and mindset, you can successfully create a culture of feedback in your organisation.
Here are some helpful suggestions to create a culture of feedback:
- Make giving and receiving feedback a habit
Don’t wait until the annual review to give feedback. Give feedback frequently from monthly meetings to weekly check-ins, or even informal chats.
Make it a habit to give and receive feedback frequently by practicing it regularly. It will help you build feedback into your culture.
Cargill, a Minneapolis-based food producer and distributor, implemented the “Everyday Performance Management” system to incorporate feedback into daily on-the-job conversations between employees and managers.
The company was struggling to provide feedback and effectively engage with its 160,000 employees around the globe. It shifted the focus to give feedback from annual reviews to ongoing conversations with “Everyday Performance Management.”
70% of Cargill employees reported that they feel valued and have received useful feedback from superiors.
- Create a well-defined process
Without defining what feedback looks like, it is hard to implement into the culture of your organisation.
Clearly define how to give feedback, who will give feedback, the goals of feedback, what to include in feedback, and the ways to give feedback.
This will make the feedback valuable and offer solutions rather than just focusing on problems.
Screwfix, a hardware company created “the two-way road to feedback” in the workplace. In addition to managers giving feedback to the employees, employees are also directed to give feedback to their managers on a bi-weekly basis.
This results in a rise in honest opinions, action on employee-driven initiatives, and employees being more invested in the company’s operations.
- Use the right method
You can give feedback in many different ways. It can be 1-on-1 in-person meeting, group feedback, performance review, 360-degree feedback, written feedback, or anonymous feedback.
Also, the nature of feedback can be constructive, positive, guidance, formal, informal, or encouraging.
You need to define the right channel and the right type of feedback to give effective and valuable feedback.
Google uses a variety of feedback methods, such as pulse surveys, 360-degree reviews, anonymous feedback boxes, and a trademark “Googlegeist” annual feedback survey, to gather input from employees on various aspects of work culture, the company’s policies & procedures, and more.
This results in Google being consistently ranked as one of the best places to work in the world.
- Provide feedback training
It is easy to give positive feedback. But, when it comes to constructive feedback, one needs to deliver it in the most respectful way because people are often not so open to difficult conversations.
You need to provide training to managers on how to provide useful and informative feedback. It is also important to train managers on how to receive feedback because developing a feedback culture is a two-way street.
Atlassian introduced the concept of a peer-to-peer feedback system (1:1s) to encourage employees to give and receive feedback from their peers on a regular basis.
The major challenge was professionals are used to getting constructive feedback and criticism from their managers, but not from a peer. Situations could escalate easily. The company provided formal training to employees on how to give effective peer-to-peer feedback.
Peer-to-peer employee feedback helps employees learn and grow together and build stronger relationships with one another. As a result of this, Atlassian has been recognised as one of the best places to work in Australia and New Zealand.
- Create a judgment-free feedback zone
Receiving feedback is as important as giving feedback. Create an environment where employees can give feedback to the management without the fear of repercussions.
You can even use the feedback tools such as anonymous surveys to make feedback truthful and honest.
Top-level management can also set an example by requesting feedback from the employees and working on it. It helps you create a true culture of feedback.
Google uses an anonymous feedback system in its 360-degree feedback system to create a judgment-free feedback zone. The identity of the reviewer is entirely anonymous. However, managers can see the identity of the specific reviewers.
This results in honest reviews and ethical management of the feedback.
The art of giving and receiving feedback
Giving effective feedback is a valuable skill for any manager. Like any other skill, you become good at it too by practicing it over time.
Especially, when criticism is involved in the feedback, you need to mind the thin line between a negative discussion and a constructive discussion.
Here are a few things you can follow to master the art of giving feedback:
- Keep feedback specific, clear, and solution-oriented: The best way to give feedback is to focus on the specific behavior that is causing the issue rather than the person.
Clearly define the challenges you are facing and the goal of the discussion. It will help you stay focused on the solution and take emotions out of the discussions.
The best thing to do is write feedback before starting a feedback discussion.
- Don’t judge. Listen more: Do not sound like you are judging and blaming. Enter the feedback discussion with empathy.
Even if you know the problem and the possible solution, it is best to ask the one who is receiving the feedback first: what they think about the challenges and how these can be resolved.
When you listen first, it increases the likelihood that the person receiving the feedback is going to listen to the solutions you have to offer and will work on it.
- Give people time to understand: You have to be empathetic and patient while dealing with people especially when you are in a position of authority. What you say can hurt people, lower their self-esteem, or make them feel underappreciated.
Give your employees enough time to understand and implement the required changes or course of action. You can ask questions to ensure whether or not the person understands your message.
- Don’t delay: Give feedback when you are facing an issue. Do not wait for weeks or months because it will undermine the intentions behind feedback, break trust, and not add any value.
- Follow-up: Feedback does not end after the feedback discussion. You need to follow up with your employees after a few days. Ask how they feel about the solution and whether it is working.
This will help you get the desired results. The best way to make feedback successful is to make them part of the solution.
Here are a few things you can do to receive feedback better:
- Ask for feedback: Feedback is a great learning opportunity. The best starting point is to ask for feedback from employees because they will be reluctant to come and share feedback on their own.
- Take feedback positively: The art of receiving feedback lies in how you take the feedback. Do not take feedback personally. Keep in mind it is about a particular behavior, not the person.
- Take time to process feedback: Actively listen to the feedback and take time to process it. Do not act immediately. This gives the indication that you take the feedback constructively.
- Thanks for the response: Do not forget to thank the person who shared the feedback. Acknowledging shows you have received the feedback and are willing to work on it.
Leveraging Technology for Feedback
The traditional way to give feedback is a one-on-one meeting and to receive feedback is using a physical or online response form. But in today’s time, you can leverage feedback tools to effectively give and receive feedback in various impactful ways.
Modern-day tools use science-backed survey forms to give and receive feedback and pair insights to feedback to provide you with actionable measures.
Some of the popular feedback platforms include Survey Monkey, HubSpot, Typeform, Hotjar, and Google Forms.
Use feedback for the growth of your organisation
Feedback is a great tool to help you understand people in your organisation. It promotes transparency, builds trust, and strengthens relationships.
And when employees feel they are part of the organisation, they tend to give their best efforts. Thus, feedback directly plays a key role in improving employee performance by creating a positive work environment.
By creating a culture of feedback at your organisation, you can fuel growth for your business.
Phoro credit: Ann H