I’ve firsthand learned what it means to receive terrible feedback – and that was given by an HR pro! Unactionable, no specifics, and not in any way related to the goals I wanted to achieve. Giving feedback is necessary not only from a development perspective, but it drives a high-performance culture where teams and individuals are held to account in a constructive manner.

I feel that the employer/employee relationship works both ways; it is so rare these days that an individual will leave school/uni and remain with one company until they retire (note, rare not impossible!). Don’t get me wrong, I get that roles are specific, but why wouldn’t an employer want to upskill their employees, or let them get involved in other projects? I mean, heck, it may even lead to better retention! Crazy. But even if it doesn’t, chances are that the employee in question will have greater role satisfaction, and as a result greater productivity whilst at the company in question. Not to mention sharpening off those self-efficacy skills, which in turn is likely to increase an individual’s confidence and resilience to face the wider world. 

Building a feedback culture within an organization fosters positivity in the workforce, happier employees, and ultimately higher levels of engagement. A feedback culture also sets the tone for more transparent corporate communications. Unfortunately, you can’t wave a magic wand and expect a culture of feedback to land overnight, especially if your organization hasn’t embraced this kind of practice before. Instead, incremental steps are needed: 

  • Establishing an open door policy – HR can lead by example and encourage employees to come and speak to them – engage in a two-way conversation where employees give feedback, but HR can provide feedback to the employees. Encourage managers to do the same. 

  • Fostering a growth mindset at work – help your employees be curious and create opportunities for employees to learn new skills and learn new habits. 

  • Rolling out Feedback training – help employees in delivering feedback; whether it’s to their peers, their direct reports, or even those more senior to them. Empowering employees with the skills to deliver effective feedback is key. 

  • A continuous feedback model – we hear it all the time. The age of the annual review has gone. Why? Feedback from 12 months ago just isn’t relevant and it doesn’t help an individual develop today. Continuous feedback allows individuals to take on bitesize feedback and immediately incorporate it into their day to day,  thereby creating new habits. 

  • Building feedback into everyday actions – don’t make feedback a big thing. Have a team meeting? Provide feedback to your team on the performance that week or that day and what could be done to improve. Have a 1:1, prepare feedback for your manager on how they can manage you better. Attended a training session? Let the facilitator know what they could do better next time. 

I would love to hear about how you’ve managed to embed feedback and a feedback culture in your organisations. Have I missed anything in the list above? Provide some of your examples in the comments below. 

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