Why feedback culture benefits a business
The importance of feedback is well known, without it, employees and users are unable to deliver their best and shape both environments and performance results at work. The productivity and satisfaction of all those involved come from understanding the effect they have on an organization, and whether they are achieving what they expect so much.
However, this continuous development tool has become a great fear in organizations, for reasons ranging from the lack of skills that end up turning what should be a healthy discussion into just an unfriendly fight, to the stigma that feedback only comes out when accompanied by resignation or removal.
And here's the start to creating a feedback culture.
Healthy Feedback Culture
Creativity, knowledge, and innovation are the main sources of wealth and development in any business sector. To achieve all these advantages, it's not enough to just have a feedback culture, it needs to be healthy.
A feedback culture done the wrong way can remove all the benefits that would bring, so pay close attention to how this movement of “valuing the voice” of your work team and your users and not making the environment hostile and excluding. Preventing knowledge to expand and innovation to emerge.
Some points for a healthy feedback culture:
Feedback-seeking behavior is the norm.
Not only should performance be valued, but learning and flexibility should also be rewarded. Learning stories are shared in abundance and enrich any company.
Whether your users or your teammates, the climate for sending and receiving feedback must be safe, and respectful and there is a show of interest in that information so that everyone is available.
Some good questions to understand if your environment is conducive to this:
- Demonstrate vulnerability on a regular basis: I need help, I made a mistake, I don’t know.
- Be interested and available: How can I help you? What are the concerns?
Building a Feedback Culture
Feedback needs to be natural to be useful and functional, this naturalness must bring security and a positive scenario, even if it is only the possibility of improvement. Below are some steps to build a culture of healthy feedback.
The example comes from top to bottom
In any company the example always comes from the top, leaders play a very important role in both creating and maintaining a healthy and positive feedback culture. The leader must lead by example and must show the limits for the behavior of the desirable feedback and what cannot happen.
Encouraging open and respectful communication, promoting transparent and honest feedback without creating any aversiveness. Be very careful not to discourage your users or teammates from sending feedback, the idea is the opposite, encourage and promote more and more to make this behavior part of the culture.
And when offering the example of what should be done, remember that feedback is, first and foremost, a relationship between givers and receivers, both sides must agree on what can be said and done.
Ask permission to always give feedback, and the only rule that must be strictly followed, regardless of the limits imposed by you or your team is: that the feedback must be motivated by helping the person, the team, the company, or the user, never hurting, expressing personal frustration, or looking better than someone else. Always avoid unnecessary conflict and embrace healthy discussions.
Culture is a frequency too
Try to incorporate feedback into your daily routine. By repeatedly exercising this act, over time it will become something natural, and normalized, decreasing the chances of those interested around them physically or in the online environment to think something negative and see this attitude as suspicious. Don't wait for someone to ask you for feedback, do it because you think the person deserves it!
In the case of an online environment, the idea also applies, from feedback to users, tell the user who gives positive feedback how much he helps your company to improve the service more and more and how grateful all your teammate is for this. . Another user who uses your product or service a lot, demonstrate to him that this attitude of frequent use is of extreme value to the company and ask him to suggest tips, as he knows how to use the product very well, he knows more than anyone else in what can be improved and what is “disposable”.
Promote and invest in an environment where everyone can and should give their feedback to anyone else, the top must be the example of how feedback should be done, but it is not the only one who must have the power to do so. Be the investor that will make all stakeholders donors and recipients of this powerful tool.
This culture will not happen in a magical way, it is necessary to create opportunities for feedback to happen, both involving leaders and involving the team, collaborators, and users. There are a number of ways to do this, it can be through surveys, meetings, groups, workshops, and forums designed especially for shared feedback.
Ask rather than give
Feedback is a relationship as I said before, a two-way street, make it clear to everyone that you want to know what they think about your performance honestly. Ask how you can improve, and what you can do to help others be successful. Demonstrate your role as a forerunner and set a precedent for all others involved and stakeholders to do the same.
Ask openly, in public, and remove the stigma that you may have: feedback always needs to be in private rooms, and anticipate a layoff. Not being perfect is normal and not a shame, ask while in a group or in an online place that many can see so you will seem open to hearing opinions.
Feedback is a skill to train
This relationship is a skill, and like any skill, it needs to be developed and practiced over time. The great support that can be done to create a healthy feedback culture is to provide training for you, your collaborators, and also for users.
- Share instructions on how feedback should be given and received.
- Train everyone how to communicate effectively and welcomingly
- Train so that everyone can ask the right questions and look for simple to understand examples to improve understanding of what is said.
- Promote that examples of this type of interaction can be observed.
Value the feedback
Feedback is a gift. Know how to use and appreciate, when considering someone's feedback to make a decision or change, don't just inform what has been changed, tell whoever provided you with this valuable help so that they feel valued too. As a gift we receive, it is returned with some form of thanks, whether in the form of other gifts or just words of gratitude, be sure to do that, it is extremely important for the feedback culture to be healthy and sustainable in the long term.