How to create a culture of feedback at work
Feedback in a workplace can occur in different ways – there’s one-on-one feedback given from a manager to an employee, feedback given between team members, as well feedback to the leadership from employees about their experience working there and where the business could be going.
Having a culture of feedback at work is important. Not only will you get ideas to grow and improve the business, but it’ll enhance communication across the business and help employees grow and develop while making them feel valued and heard.
Giving and receiving feedback may be ingrained in some workplaces, but not all. So if it’s time you upped your workplace’s feedback game, check out our six tips to help create a culture of feedback:
Your leaders need to commit
As with many things, creating a culture of feedback at work starts at the top. Leaders of your business need to demonstrate their commitment to feedback by actively seeking it themselves and encouraging others to do the same. Think forums like town halls or AMA’s (Ask Me Anything) where staff can ask questions and give feedback without fear of repercussions. When your team sees leaders embracing feedback, they’re more likely to follow suit.
Implement both open and anonymous feedback channels
We’ve touched on some open feedback channels like AMAs, but also consider establishing an open door policy where staff are encouraged to chat with their managers or other leaders about their ideas and concerns. For those who aren’t comfortable being so open with their feedback, implement anonymous feedback channels, like suggestion boxes or online surveys. It still gives them the opportunity to have their say without the stress or worry they may get doing it in-person.
Provide training to give effective feedback in one-on-one situations
Not everyone is good at, or is going to know how to give feedback in a kind, yet constructive and effective way. Arrange training sessions so your leaders and managers can learn the required skills and practice them before they dive into the real thing. Some of the things your training could cover include:
- Active listening. This involves going beyond just hearing what someone has to say and showing you understand what has been said. This can be done via non-verbal actions, repeating back what has been said to you and asking open ended questions based on what they’ve said.
- The ‘sandwich’ technique for giving feedback. This involves starting with a positive comment, providing constructive feedback and then ending with another positive or encouraging comment.
- Using “I” statements. Rather than saying “you always…” which can come off as accusatory, frame your statements to express your thoughts and feelings, such as “I noticed that…” or “I think that…”.
- How to accept feedback. If you’re planning on having an open policy of feedback, leaders will need to learn how to accept feedback without being defensive, especially if the feedback is negative.
How NOT to receive feedback via GIPHY
Have regular check-ins
Once your leaders and managers are skilled up and feel confident giving feedback, get them to set up regular check-ins with their team members. This is a dedicated and safe space where goals, progress and challenges can be discussed and managers can give feedback to help them grow and develop.
Follow up and implement change
It’s all good and well to get feedback from your team, but there’s no point in getting it if you don’t plan on doing anything about it. Share the feedback you’ve received and what changes you’re planning on making to the wider business and keep them updated on the progress. Obviously, you can’t action every piece of feedback you receive, but acknowledging that you’ve received it will make your team members feel seen and heard.
Ensure there’s continuous improvement
You need to get feedback on your culture of feedback. It’s not a static thing and should evolve over time as your company evolves and changes. Make sure that you’re continuously looking for ways to improve the feedback process and tweak it based on staff input.
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