Developing a feedback culture in your company: advice for Managers and HR ProfessionalsA feedback-rich work environment promotes growth and employee engagement
Fostering a healthy and strong corporate culture in the office is one of the top-priority HR goals. This is not possible without promoting open interaction between and across all hierarchy levels. And even though many companies are still traditionalist deep down, limiting themselves to annual performance reviews, regular feedback among employees has taken root in many modern enterprises.
Why building a feedback culture is a must
A feedback-rich work environment is a culture of praising honest feedback at all levels of the organizational chart: peer-to-peer, between employees and managers, and at manager-executive level. Nurturing a feedback culture is crucial for talent retention and employee engagement.
Forbes cites the Officevibe research that states: “4 out of 10 workers are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback; 82% of employees appreciate positive and negative feedback; and 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week as opposed to 18% of low engagement employees.” BusinessWorld points out that by simply giving continuous strength-based feedback, companies can scale down employees’ feelings of treading water and consequently reduce turnover by 14.9%. Potentially, introducing a feedback culture could be a hidden solution to the infamous “brain drain” that costs companies big numbers.
Receiving and giving constructive feedback is fundamental for employees’ ongoing development. Positive feedback adds to confidence levels and a growth mindset, while well-delivered and accurate criticism allows room for improvement. With a relevant exchange of opinions, people can level up their activity on the go, becoming an agile workforce. This, in turn, enhances overall business efficiency, boosting bottom line results. Furthermore, a solid feedback environment helps businesses to develop: the employees possess the deepest insights into how the company operates, so a well-rooted feedback culture lends a hand to pinpointing the areas that require advancement.
4 steps to create a running feedback culture in your company
- Impose it as a regular system
Treat feedback implementation with a systematic approach – feedback should not be an afterthought or something done sporadically. Suggest regular time intervals between feedback sessions and convey the message to the employees: unlike performance appraisals done once or twice a year, regular opinion-sharing should become an indispensable part of the company routine. Organizing frequent feedback sessions prevents the business from having deeply rooted but undiscussed issues.
- Offer different channels
There are many forms in which feedback can be produced: weekly one-on-ones, daily conversations, “Feedback-sharing Fridays”, periodic polling. Choose the ones that are most apt for your work environment. Don’t hesitate to ask your employees what type they feel more comfortable with. Consider adopting a mixture of anonymous feedback together with personal feedback – this will guarantee more balance and trust in the process. In addition, try combining individual-based sessions with group feedback opportunities.
- Ensure that giving feedback remains secure and safe
Not all your employees enjoy expressing negative opinions – some strive to avoid candour instead. People feel naturally scared of what the consequences may be if they give negative feedback to a person who is higher in the hierarchy, or if they criticize a peer and thus ruin a friendly work spirit in the room. Your task as an HR is to impose feedback as a normal part of the operational process, where nobody gets judged for their opinions. Suggest that your employees detach the person from the activity and simply be objective.
- Senior management should stay at the forefront of the feedback culture
A feedback-rich culture should be spread between all hierarchy levels – and it starts from the top. Your senior managers should be equally exposed to hearing opinions. Importantly, no one should be shut down or punished for having their say. Company leaders who show that they are open to constructive feedback give the rest of the staff the confidence to speak up and set the norm to follow.
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