High performing companies have deep rooted feedback cultures.
43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, as opposed to 18% of disengaged employees.
While a large number of initiatives have focused on empowering managers to give feedback, it is equally – if not more – important that employees ask for feedback. Yanagizawa et.al (2008) found that employees who regularly seek feedback achieve more goals and adapt more easily to their work environment.
Here are a few ways to help build a healthy feedback culture:
People feel psychological safety when they can speak up and share ideas and concerns without fear of repercussions. Employees tend to ask for help and take risks when they feel safe to do so. Managers should avoid micromanaging and inspire employees to take initiatives – earn their trust by trusting them.
Lead by example:
To normalise feedback, managers should themselves seek feedback from their more junior teammates, and actively apply the learnings. This also helps show team members that their opinions are truly valued.
One-on-one check ins:
Employees may be nervous to seek feedback in public. Creating opportunities for more private interactions, such as one-on-one check-ins, can encourage team members to ask for help and feedback.
Make communication continuous:
Free flowing communication channels are conducive to a feedback-friendly culture and reduce the perceived formality around feedback. They also help build high quality relationships across the company. Opening up lines of communication ensures that employees have opportunities to exchange information with each other – especially in today’s increasingly virtual/remote environment.
Focus on Learning:
When it comes to defining “success”, companies should also focus on learning opportunities instead of solely looking at performance. When there is a focus on learning, employees are driven towards improving their skills and knowledge and, as a result, seek feedback more often. To encourage this, companies should highlight that failures are important for learning opportunities and growth.
Talk about strengths:
We learn and grow when people focus on our strengths. Instead of always making it about what an employee could improve on, or be better at, managers should also acknowledge what they do well, and celebrate their strengths and successes.
A feedback culture encourages positive behavioural change in employees and empowers them to take charge of their own learning and development. This helps excel at work and in life.