Why a Feedback Culture Matters and How to Create a Feedback Culture in Your Organization
Culture of feedback has been a buzz phrase in the HR and business world for several years. A feedback culture is a culture where every employee feels that they can share feedback with another person in the organization - regardless of role.
There are many benefits to having a culture of feedback in your organization.
Benefits of a culture of feedback
1) Saves time, money, and resources
It’s estimated that a company of 10,000 employees spends a staggering $35 million a year to conduct performance appraisals. And yet, 9 in 10 managers are dissatisfied with how their companies conduct annual performance reviews, and almost 9 in 10 HR leaders say the process doesn’t yield accurate information. Moreover, the average manager spends about 210 hours a year on activities related to reviews – that’s around 25 days! That’s a lot of time, money, and resources.
Supplementing your annual performance review with continuous & real-time feedback can help ease the pressure on the annual review. When you think about performance reviews, it’s really just an aggregation of all the feedback data an employee should have received throughout the year. Having all feedback in one place can help speed up the performance review.
2) Generates lots of data
At the end of the day, feedback is data. If a manager is sharing feedback with an employee twice a month, that is up to 24 data points that can be analyzed at the end of the year. With that being said, the feedback should be more substantial than “good job” or "high five" – make sure the feedback is effective.
3) Creates a growth mindset and increases performance
When employees enjoy their work, understand their goals, and know the values and competencies of the job, performance increases. The link between effective feedback and productivity has been well established. One study found that 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized. Continuous feedback helps align goals, clarifies expectations, and motivates employees (check out our blog on the importance of feedback for more details). It also creates a positive workplace. A workplace that is dedicated on encouraging people to be better will improve the level of performance and employee engagement.
4) Enables better work relationships
Engaging in open dialogues with colleagues, recognizing efforts after a job well done, and helping employees meet their goals will help create meaningful workplace relationships. Fostering these types of relationships among employees is a huge driver of retention. Once the foundation of feedback has been set, sustaining it will become easier with each feedback conversation.
How to build a culture of feedback
The benefits of giving and receiving feedback on a regular basis have been well documented, and many organizations acknowledge these benefits. However, they often find themselves at a roadblock when it comes to implementing this feedback culture in their workplace.
1) Start at the top
Leaders and managers need to be the champions of feedback. They need to understand the importance of feedback and understand the benefits of effective feedback. When employees observe their managers model strong feedback principles, they're more likely to do the same.
It is worth noting that there is difference between good and bad feedback. Encouraging managers to say "good job" to their employees isn't going to improve employee performance or build an effective feedback culture. Building a culture of feedback starts with providing meaningful feedback - that is, feedback that is behavior based (not trait-based), forward looking (instead of backward), objective, continuous, in real-time and direct.
2) Provide the feedback tools
If you are trying to enable the culture of feedback in your organization, make sure to provide the right technological tools. Giving and requesting feedback should be integrated with your day-to-day operations (i.e. it should be easy for your employees to request and receive feedback). Moreover, having feedback documented in one place where managers and direct reports can see past feedback will help motivate the direct reports and help streamline feedback conversations and performance reviews between employees.
If you are part of an early-stage company, Google Sheets can be sufficient to document feedback conversations. If you are a mature company, you may want to consider investing in a feedback tool. However, don’t expect that a feedback tool will magically create a feedback culture in your workplace. You'll need to provide proper training and make feedback routine to create that feedback culture shift.
3) Provide feedback training
Giving and receiving feedback are skills - they must be developed and practiced. To support a culture of feedback, provide the feedback training and resources to your employees and managers. For example, annual workshops on how to share and receive feedback can help ensure that employees are all 'rowing in the same direction' when it comes to giving feedback. (Check out our article for some examples on what effective feedback looks like).
If you are a start-up, try and establish continuous feedback early on. If you are in a more mature company, don't expect that culture shift to happen overnight. It will take time for people to unlearn old habits and learn new behaviors. While it will take time, it will be worth the investment.
4) Make it routine by holding employees accountable
When feedback happens routinely, it becomes expected. Hold employees accountable by incorporating the number of feedback shared and requested into your manager’s KPIs. Ensure that managers are having regular feedback conversations and check-ins with their direct reports. Moreover, encourage employees to ask and share feedback whenever and wherever. Feedback doesn't have to come at the end of the month - if you see a behaviour that should be repeated, corrected, or changed, let the employee know in real-time.
Have any other tips to help create the culture of feedback? Let us know! Also, check out Pavestep if you want a continuous feedback software that motivates your employees to give and request feedback!
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