6 Steps To Create A Feedback Culture In Your Organization
If you raise the topic of feedback, many feel uncomfortable. It shows on their faces! Why? Because feedback is often related to something bad—like performance reviews or complaints from friends.
When we were a team of only 7 people, we shared thoughts without any concerns. But, when our numbers grew to 30, a survey showed only 40% of the team received useful feedback. The system wasn’t working.
Done well, feedback helps a team grow, and prevents performance decline. Jim Collins identified “Denial of risks” as one stage of decline. He said that in one bankrupt business, a lot of team members knew about the issues. But limited communication prevented them from solving the problems before the company collapsed.
Recently I discovered Andy Stanley’s 6-step guide to building culture within an organization. It appears we had built a feedback-sharing culture very similar to his ideas. Below I share what we discovered.
6 steps to a the feedback-giving culture
1. Name it
It’s an easy but important step. The desired result is clear. We want to encourage sharing of feedback.
2. Brand it
Now we need to make it memorable. Few people want to share feedback. But teamwork is a core value, and we want to help each other. That’s what we emphasized — Helping each other grow by sharing honest and constructive feedback. Now it’s clear. It has a purpose. It’s emotional.
3. Wear it
A leader cannot demand behaviour he doesn’t embrace. So, before encouraging the team, we set an example. We shared feedback before the salary review, during one-on-one meetings. We shared love and feedback whenever we saw an opportunity.
But that was not enough. We needed to encourage peer-to-peer feedback.
4. Teach it
Our Talent Development Manager (aka HR) showed everyone how to give feedback. It should be concrete, prepared in advance, and time-related. It should be backed with good intentions, mentioning positive examples first. And sharing should be a dialogue, not a monologue.
5. Institutionalize it
Here are some practices we adopted:
Feedback sharing Fridays: The last Friday of each month is the Feedback Sharing day. Every team member should exchange thoughts with at least 3 co-workers. That takes very little time, and is done regularly. It’s OK if the exchange happens within the next week.
It doesn’t mean that we share feedback only once a month. But it’s a good checkpoint. It reminds us to do it regularly.
Salary review: Our team members have self-defined salaries. When a team member requests a review, we collect feedback from co-workers. The survey consists of 15 open-ended questions that probe both soft and hard skills. We share the results with the candidate. Based on these results, we create an improvement plan.
One-on-ones: Every 4 months, the founders meet core team members, and team leads meet with their teams. 90% of the time is taken with team members sharing feedback on what it is like to work in our organization.
If you think it’s not worth the time, I recommend you try it. You’ll like the results! We have discovered (and fixed) at least 5 important issues in these one-on-ones.
Collect feedback regularly: We conduct and analyse NPS surveys regularly. We use Officevibe to simplify feedback collection. Plus, we encourage giving feedback as soon as you notice an opportunity. Timely feedback is the most valuable!
6. Recognize it
What gets rewarded gets repeated. To support a feedback culture, you need to recognize it. And it’s important to follow up later to help with improvement plans. How a team member works on feedback is reflected in their salary review.
We express gratefulness for constructive feedback during weekly summaries. Usually, a “Thank you!” is enough. Highlight the resulting improvements in a few weeks.
We’re glad that our team understands the importance of sharing feedback. One member, Anton, told a touching story. Healthy feedback in the team helped him improve his personal relationships. That’s amazing! Plus, the happier our team members are in life, the better results they show at work.
Without proper feedback, problems can creep in and, ultimately, destroy your organization. Regular feedback is an antidote that kills problems. It helps the organization move forward.
It requires 3 things:
Help your teammates grow — let them know how you think they are doing.
They will appreciate it.
This guest blog is written by Andriy Bas. Andriy is co-founder & team lead @ UPTech. UPTech is an Ukrainian based design & development agency that specializes in crafting bold customer-centric mobile & web apps. He is also a programmer, writer, marathon runner. And a strong believer in the corporate culture and evangelist of the self-managed organizations.