December 4, 2023

The crucial role of feedback in the workplace

The crucial role of feedback in the workplace

Constructive feedback could be seen as one of the cornerstones of professional development in a workplace. As businesses strive for success, the role of effective feedback simply cannot be overstated – it serves as a powerful tool for fostering a culture of continuous improvement and enhancing employee engagement. Therefore, learning how to give and receive feedback can have a positive impact on employee retention & productivity, which means higher profit & overall success. Let’s delve into the significance of feedback in the workplace – why is it important, how to do it well and how to teach others to do it effectively, too.

The power of feedback

Why does it pay off to nail the process of providing & receiving feedback?

> Harvard Business Review discovered that employees who receive regular feedback perform better and are less likely to leave their jobs.

> 83% of employees state that they appreciate feedback, either positive or constructive.

> 50% of employees consistently act on the feedback they’re given

> 41% of employees confessed to leaving a job because they felt they weren’t listened to

> 14.9% – that is by how much companies can reduce turnover through regular strength-based feedback

> 60% of employees believe they need daily or weekly feedback to perform at their best

> Research indicates that leaders who are adept at giving feedback are seen as more effective by their teams

Numbers confirm that feedback is a two-way street that enables individuals and teams to gain insights into their performance, identify areas for improvement, and capitalize on strengths. When delivered properly, it can motivate employees to strive for excellence and create a sense of belonging.

How to integrate feedback mechanisms into your organisational culture?

No surprise, that HR plays a pivotal role in cultivating a feedback-centric culture. Here are some tips to consider:

> Teach managers

Encourage managers to provide regular, timely, and constructive feedback to their teams. Conduct workshops and training sessions on how to deliver feedback effectively – emphasize the importance of clarity, specificity, and a balanced approach to ensure that feedback is constructive and well-received.

> Utilize technology

Use technology to streamline the feedback process. Implementing performance management software can facilitate ongoing communication between managers and employees, making it much easier to track goals, achievements, and areas for improvement.

> Consider 360-degree feedback

360-degree feedback systems gather input from peers, subordinates, and supervisors. This approach not only provides a comprehensive view of the performance of an employee but also fosters a culture of collaboration & accountability.

> Recognition programs

You know how much we love recognition programs. We even have a blog post on how to create a good one. Introducing a recognition program to your team can help celebrate achievements & contributions. Such public acknowledgement of successes not only boosts morale but also encourages a positive feedback loop within the organisation.

How to give feedback?

First of all, you need to understand the purpose of the feedback you’re giving. You always want to keep in mind that feedback is conveyed to facilitate improvement & learning and not to criticize.

Don’t forget balance – feedback must include both positive and constructive elements. Acknowledging employee’s achievements and then pointing out ways to improve helps to motivate and engage them.

Secondly, you must try to be as specific as possible – provide examples to support your feedback. This helps employees to understand which actions are being discussed and to avoid personal biases.

SBI! Follow the situation-behaviour-impact model to remain constructive. Describe the specific situation, name the observed behaviour and articulate its impact. SBI helps with clarity and helps to highlight the consequences of an employee’s action.

Building upon objectivity, another important tip is to focus on behaviour and not personality. Addressing specific behaviour instead of referencing a person’s character helps to keep feedback constructive and avoids making an employee attacked.

Frame your feedback via the use of “I” statements – this helps to express your thoughts and feelings without appearing accusatory. Saying “I noticed that…” instead of “You always…” helps to depersonalize the feedback.

You can create an open dialogue and invite the employee to share their experience and perspectives – these conversations cannot go smoothly without active listening on both parts.

Finally, set clear expectations in terms of providing an understanding of what needs to be improved and offering guidance on specific steps that can be taken. Scheduling follow-up conversations to discuss progress and provide ongoing support can demonstrate your commitment to employee development.

Remember that giving effective feedback is a skill that develops over time with practice and reflection. You can consider feedback training programs or workshops to practice your delivery.

How to receive feedback?

Listening and hearing are two different things. To really hear the feedback being conveyed to you and make meaningful changes or improvements, consider these actions:

> Growth mindset

Embrace a growth mindset by viewing feedback as an opportunity for learning and improvement rather than as criticism.

> Openness and approachability

Let others know that you are receptive to feedback and value their insights. Approach feedback conversations with a positive and open mindset.

> Active listening

Don’t interrupt and avoid becoming defensive or dismissive. Take the time to understand the feedback, and if something is unclear, ask for clarification.

> You vs. your behaviour

Understanding that feedback is about specific behaviours or actions, not about your character as a person is crucial to prevent you from feeling attacked.

> Avoid immediate reactions

You don’t have to react right away. Even if the feedback is surprising or challenging, take a moment to process the information and consider it objectively. Take time to reflect on the feedback independently. Consider how the feedback aligns with your self-perception and goals.

> Ask for specifics

If the feedback seems vague or unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for specific examples or details.

> Express appreciation

Thank the person providing feedback for their insights. Expressing gratitude shows that you value their input and creates a positive tone for the conversation. Request feedback regularly, not just during formal performance reviews – this ongoing dialogue can help you stay aware of your strengths and areas for development, fostering continuous improvement.

> Develop a plan for improvement

Set specific, measurable goals and outline actionable steps to enhance your performance. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to growth.

Anonymous feedback & whistleblowing

The new Whistleblowing Decree is set out to protect people who report violations of regulatory provisions that could affect the interest or the integrity of the public administration or a company. Companies that employ at least 250 employees are required to comply with the new Whistleblowing Decree since 15 July 2023.

It means that all companies with more than 250 employees must have whistleblowing channels to protect the identity of the individual whistleblower and to safeguard their confidentiality. In simpler terms – all employees must have an opportunity to convey anonymous feedback.

Of course, keep in mind that only the opportunity to leave feedback does little good if there are no set processes in terms of dealing with voiced issues and conflicts. Allocating a person responsible for managing this communication channel & making decisions on how to properly deal with the problem at hand is critical.

All in all, embracing the power of feedback is not just a best practice – it is a strategic imperative in the journey towards sustained excellence in the workplace.