How To Create a Feedback Culture in Your Organization

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Everyone knows about the importance of feedback culture. However, most organisations are still only talking about it. Or have implemented only basic performance management platforms. But what exactly is the purpose of valuable feedback? And why is it so critical to address it?

Getting constant feedback welcomes observations and uses it to foster the growth of individuals, teams, and the organisation. It creates a happy work environment, with higher engagement. This, in return, has a good impact on the financial aspects of the company. What is more, carefully and professionally implemented feedback culture will inevitably decrease turnover. It’s been estimated that losing an employee will cost the company about 33% of their annual salary, due to the amount of time, energy, and resources that must be put in place for finding a replacement.

A Clutch employee feedback survey conducted in 2016, saw that 72% of millennial’s who consistently receive accurate feedback from their managers find satisfaction in the workplace. 38% of the workers who get no feedback felt fulfilled at work.

We’ve prepared for you a handy summary of what you should pay attention to while implementing the process of a solid feedback culture.

What to consider before building a feedback culture?

  1. Make sure your employees feel safe in their working environment. You should already possess strong corporate values that stand for the vision, mission and mindset of the business. Without these key elements, feedback culture would become counterproductive and invaluable. 
  2. Make sure giving feedback becomes a part of your company’s structure and culture. You might even consider including it in your ethical codex. It’s also essential that the management believes feedback is important and supports the initiative. Be proactive, and make everyone aware of the importance of carefully created presentations and integrated 1:1 sessions with the management.
  3. It might also be beneficial to organise a cross-functional project team with individuals who believe in the success of a feedback culture. They can not only be great role models and ambassadors for the company goal but also can make a huge impact with their enthusiasm on the entire business environment. 
  4. Keep the management constantly updated with the core categories and models related to feedback areas in order to underpin your ideas with current methods and facts.

Some examples of diverse methods:

  1. Performance review. The most structured and official way of giving and receiving feedback at a company. The job performance of an employee is documented and evaluated. Please consider that you must have a well working tool implemented that fits into your working environment. 
  2. Employee feedback and online survey. It can take place normally once a year and measures employee engagement employee morale.
  3. Employee pulse check. A fast and frequent survey that gives a quick insight into the engagement of your employees. They can be conducted frequently (for example, one question a day) and consists of around 10 to 20 questions.
  4. Instant feedback or daily feedback. This approach can be useful just after a presentation. Or while having a coffee break. It helps to identify the strengths and opportunities of your employees straight away, with the possibility of more effectiveness. 
  5. 360 feedback. A formal process in which the employees receive anonymous feedback from the people they work with. Typically, this includes managers, peers, direct reports and sometimes external customers.

There are multiple models that have been worked out within this topic. Below, we’ve listed three simple frameworks on how to give effective feedback:

  1. Sandwich. The most classic approach.

  • Step 1. Begin with positive feedback.
  • Step 2. Building on the positive, move on to constructive or negative feedback.
  • Step 3. Close with a very specific and positive sentence which builds up the learner’s trust.

This method enables the feedback sessions to end in a positive feeling. They are very practical for leaders who find criticism challenging. However, it may sometimes give employees an unclear understanding of their performance. 

  1. SBI

  • Situation. Describe the situation with specifics and objectively.
  • Behaviour. Describe the behaviour observed. Do not try to guess at motives or causes of the behaviour.
  • Impact. Describe the impact the observed behaviour had. Use “I” form.

This technique is good for very accurate feedback. However, it does take more time to apply this method in the right way as it needs more practice.

  1. Pendleton

  • Step 1. When the employee is ready for feedback, let them give comments to the behaviour or situation that has been observed.
  • Step 2+3. The employee, followed by the manager identify what went well.
  • Step 4+5. The employee, followed by the manager state what could be improved.
  • Step 6. The employee and manager agree on an action plan for improvement.

This method deals with specific details and allows the employee self-reflection. However, the conversation can be very time consuming and sometimes can get too complicated.

Let’s make it happen

Here are some things you might want to re-visit during implying a new process:

  1. The setup. Make sure you’ve created the right environment for your employees. Small meeting rooms, chat books, corners in the company cafeteria, or a feedback box are only a few things you should have in the workplace. Another option would be to encourage walk and talk sessions. They can do wonders for expressing opinions. Getting out of the office can really put things in a different perspective. It can inspire to have powerful conversations with your colleagues.
  2. Trainings. Organise and facilitate training for teams and assure that the attendees grasp all the aspects of the program. A “how to give feedback” session can also be a part of a corporate team building activity. Our team building events, such as “Strengthening Team Resilience” or “Valuing Difference in Teams using MBTI” could help you in deploying new areas. You’ll be able to find more information on these events from our website.
  3. Follow-up. Keep the management in the loop about the progress. This is crucial for the success to having their on-going commitment. They should ensure support of the employees by coaching them during the year, and not just periodically. Furthermore, you might also consider sending out a survey that checks the learning transfer from training to practice. 

What you need to pay attention on after the implementation

  1. At around 3 months, it’s essential to measure how the mental health of the employees is improving. Their mindset might be changing, and that has an effect on their engagement and well-being. You might want to use pulse checks, instant feedback tools, and/or a feedback box. Make sure you share what insights you discover from the feedback. This shows the employees that their opinion has taken into consideration. 
  2. Continuously check what the current trends are in the field of engagement. Find out which methods can be newly built into your organisation, or might be eliminated from the stages already established.
  3. Involve new starters continuously into the process. Don’t be scared of gathering feedback from the leavers during their exit period, because this can help you gain ideas for possible changes.

We hope you’ve not got some new practical tools to start creating a more transparent environment, and working towards an engaged and agile organisation. Depending on the size of the company it might take less or more time for a profound change. However, do keep in mind that carefully designed steps will bring you faster to the desired outcome.