7 Ways To Build A Feedback Culture In Your Organisation
Wouldn't you like to have an organization where everyone knows where they stand because feedback is continuous with everyone in the organisation participating, creating a feedback culture?
While it may sound too good to be true, it is possible to develop and nurture a feedback culture in your organisation. Still, undoubtedly, it will take communication, commitment, and buy-in. If you achieve it, your organisation can enjoy the following benefits:
- Improved employee engagement
- Transparency in the workplace
- Happier employees
- Effective management
Employees who speak to their manager at least once a week are five times more likely to be engaged than those who never check-in.
But here’s the catch: A feedback culture will NOT occur by accident. As an organisation, you need a strategic approach, and there are certain things you will need to consider:
What is a Feedback Culture?
Feedback culture in an organisation must include several things in order to be successful. If feedback from employees is only given sporadically, it won't become the norm and won't encourage a culture of feedback. Feedback must be continuous. Also, to create a feedback culture, employees give the company feedback, and managers give employees feedback. It may also include peer-to-peer feedback.
Why is Feedback Important?
When an organization asks for feedback from its employees, it shows that management cares about their thoughts and ideas. Management can improve and change with the input of its employees because they know what their people think. However, management must act on employee feedback, not simply collect it and then ignore it.
In addition, managers need to give regular positive and constructive feedback to their people- this enhances engagement and commitment and ensures high performance, productivity, and motivation.
1. Foster feedback from the beginning
Ideally, you should make feedback part of the employee experience from the moment a potential employee becomes part of your hiring process. When you are interviewing candidates, it's an excellent opportunity to find out what feedback means to them, how they take feedback, what they are used to, and their preferences.
At a company induction for new starters, the feedback culture can be discussed so that all new starters understand that giving and receiving feedback is part of the organisational culture. In the organisation’s mission, employee handbook, internet, etc., you can also mention that a feedback culture is what the company aspires to or wishes to maintain.
Hopefully, this will become part of the employee mindset so that employees believe feedback can help their development and career, and management welcomes receiving feedback about themselves and the organisation.
2. Communicate feedback options
If you want to build a feedback culture, it's not enough just to have the feedback tools in place. You need to be clear and communicate your objectives to your people and let them know how feedback can be given and received. If you have a feedback programme in place, such as regular pulse surveys, but you don't remember to tell all your people about them, there could be a lack of trust and participation, and you won't build a feedback culture.
It's been reported that 36% of employees don't have a feedback programme or are not aware of one at their organisation. So if your people don't know where they can go to give their feedback, or it's not encouraged or communicated, it's unlikely that you’ll have an engaged workforce.
It's okay to talk about your strategy for creating a workplace culture. If this is part of your organisational strategy, let your people know and communicate how you intend to create the feedback culture and your expectations, so there is transparency and accountability.
3. Leadership should lead by example
If your leaders aren't effectively giving feedback, creating a feedback culture within your organisation will be challenging. It needs to come from the top, and leaders must ensure that they give their direct reports regular, positive and constructive feedback when necessary and encourage their direct reports to do the same.
Leaders also need to grow a thick skin when receiving feedback. When survey results or other feedback comes in, they need to understand that it may not be about them personally but about the organisation.
They also need to lead by example by acting on employee feedback and ensuring that it is taken seriously, and action plans are put in place, reviewed, and employees are communicated with. For example, in one survey, 41% of employees admitted that they had left a job because they didn’t feel listened to, and 37% left because feedback wasn’t taken seriously in their organisation.
4. Give feedback training
It's not uncommon for managers to fear giving feedback to their people because they feel it won't go very well or result in a difficult conversation. So not only do managers need training in how to give and receive feedback effectively, but they also need to understand that feedback should be regular and fair and that positive feedback is also important.
Once management has received feedback training, then they can practice it to become a habit rather than something they are encouraged to do a few times a year.
5. Use feedback tools
There are many types of products that technology providers, such as Sorwe, offer many types of products that relate to giving and receiving feedback. For instance, surveys can be carried out via an app so that all employees can access it and give feedback wherever they are located. Apps can also collect 360-degree feedback, and sometimes employees may feel more comfortable giving their feedback to a third party.
6. Create a culture of trust
If your people don’t trust your organisation, you may never receive open and honest feedback. So, just like building a feedback culture, this takes time and effort, and commitment from leadership. Some elements of trust can be shown through actions.
For example, if the organisation receives feedback from individuals but does nothing with it, it could reduce trust. Similarly, if leaders don’t ask for feedback in the first place, then the trust may be low. Therefore, if feedback is part of the organisation's culture and practised pro-actively and fairly, individuals should develop trust to give honest feedback.
Whether you ask for anonymous or non-anonymous feedback will be an organisational preference. A study showed that 74% of employees would be more likely to share feedback if it was truly anonymous, and 16% still wouldn’t share because they did not trust it would be truly anonymous.
7. Ensure feedback variety
As mentioned earlier, feedback should be two-way and not just given to employees or received by employees. Similarly, to gain effective feedback and create a feedback culture, you need to ensure that you gain feedback through a variety of different ways, and these may include:
- Surveys – these may be annual employee surveys but also more regular pulse surveys so that you have an ongoing temperature check of how your people are feeling and what they would like to see improved.
- Performance management – it’s not enough just to give feedback to individuals once a year in their appraisal meeting. Managers must create a culture of giving their people regular feedback, whether it's a quick comment about a job well done or a more constructive piece of feedback to somebody who needs to make an improvement.
If it becomes normal for a manager to give feedback, then it's less likely the manager and the employee will fear it.
Appraisals are also a good opportunity to collect more rounded feedback. For example, 360-degree feedback collects feedback from the individual about the manager and from peers and from employee to manager. However, annual appraisals may be outdated, and some companies are changing how they approach them to make feedback more agile.
One company introduced CONNECT sessions, which are performance discussion cycles that occur every twelve weeks. These manager and employee one-to-one discussions allow quick reviews of goal achievements and accomplishments and are an opportunity to discuss employee development. They are two-way conversations that allow regular feedback, and the sessions are meant to be real-time and more informal than annual appraisals.
- Meetings and one to ones – managers can give their people feedback in team meetings and one-to-one meetings. However, they need to consider what is appropriate and whenx`x` because constructive feedback to one individual shouldn’t be discussed in front of the wider team. In addition, sometimes face-to-face feedback is the best approach, and other times, an email is suitable (depending on the nature of the feedback).
The Bottom Line
Feedback is a powerful tool and one that, delivered regularly and properly, can increase employee engagement. However, it takes time and practice to deliver feedback, and by doing it continuously, it should become a mindset and habit. If you develop a feedback culture, then you will act on feedback, and others should respond well to it.
Sorwe provides the tools you need to give and receive employee feedback. Please get in touch with us to learn more about how Sorwe solutions can help you improve your employee engagement practices.