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Increase The Value Of Feedback By Empowering Your Employees To Ask For It

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Hollie Aghajani

Do you know how—or if—your managers are offering feedback to their employees? While feedback can be a strong way to improve learning and increase performance, it must occur frequently and given effectively for it to hold any power. For many, these improvement conversations happen once a year or quarterly, but really, they should be happening at least weekly. So why aren’t they? 

The employee feedback process is often unpleasant and can take a physical toll. According to one study, when people receive unsolicited feedback heart rates begin to “jump around erratically,” a reaction often felt during high-stress events, similar to public speaking. That’s because unsolicited feedback activates a threat response in the brain, and advice that’s given under extreme duress won’t stick.

When people are empowered to ask for their feedback, however, they feel trust instead of distress, which makes them more open to learning. 15Five’s new Request Feedback feature helps to increase the frequency and effectiveness of employee feedback within your organization. 

Why traditional feedback doesn’t work

For decades, feedback has been led by managers as a means to help employees course correct and grow. While you might be thinking, “that doesn’t sound so bad,” only 26 percent of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. Worse, a third of the time feedback doesn’t improve performance, and in fact, unsolicited feedback can make things worse

Although organizations can never completely avoid the stress-inducing unsolicited, manager-driven feedback; leaders can increase the amount of effective feedback by supporting feedback-seeking environments and empowering employees with tools to actively seek it. 

Want to help your people get better feedback? Encourage them to ask for it

Research shows that people want more feedback. And the best way to increase the free flow of feedback is by supporting people in seeking it themselves. 

“Asking for feedback is a surprisingly powerful approach to self-development, especially when it’s part of basic performance management. It can even be considered a deliverable—the last step of a project. Regardless, requested feedback allows teams to demonstrate the care that everyone needs to feel engaged,” according to Gallup.

People naturally want to do better, and they want to do it quickly. Real-time feedback, i.e., immediately following an event, has the greatest impact on performance. And engagement peaks when employees receive feedback on a weekly cadence. Yet, less than 20% of people report getting feedback as much as they need, and of those people, only 27% say the feedback they’re getting is actually useful, according to NeuroLeadership Institute.

When useful feedback is given on a timely and regular basis, mastering new skills and correcting certain behaviors takes a fraction of the time when compared to traditional feedback loops. This is how organizations can help employee development and engagement soar.

How 15Five’s Request Feedback feature can improve performance

15Five’s Request Feedback feature empowers employees to take charge of their development by giving them a tool to actively seek feedback themselves. 

• Users get a structured environment to ask for feedback from their manager and/or their peers.
When given the ability to define the type of feedback they are looking for – positive, constructive, or both – and the people they want it from, employees can get a more holistic view of their performance and are more likely to make improvements.

Request Feedback feature includes pro tips by organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, who recommends employees to identify people in their “challenge network” who offer different perspectives and empower them to improve.

In-app tips help everyone become masters at providing constructive feedback.
For example, we encourage people to ditch the “sandwich approach” to feedback, which consists of surrounding constructive feedback with positive feedback. Although this method may feel more comfortable for the giver, it undermines the feedback being offered and is confusing to the receiver. 

Request Feedback increases the amount of solicited feedback in organizations and promotes cultures of psychological safety. Teams with high psychological safety feel safe to seek feedback from others, which in turn improves performance in organizations. Asking for feedback frequently can create a culture change by making it a habit of growing.

How to use Request Feedback in 15Five

Asking for employee feedback using 15Five’s request feature can easily be done through 15Five platform or through our integration with Slack. 

If using 15Five…

1. Log in to your 15Five account and click “Feedback” on the top navigation

2. Click the orange button that reads “Request Feedback”

If using Slack…

1. Within your Slack app, use the slash command “/request-feedback”

2. Once you hit “enter,” a modal will appear allowing you to select the people you’d like feedback from

Employees should specify the topic they’d like feedback on and use the in-app tips to get the most effective feedback. By default, the responses they receive will be kept private, but they can also choose to share this feedback with their manager. 

Note: Users can also respond to feedback requests directly from the Slack notification.

By flipping the script and enabling your employees to ask for the feedback they need rather than wait around, it puts your employees in the driver’s seat of their own development. Using 15Five’s Request Feedback feature can help you increase the amount of effective feedback being shared within your organization and contribute to building a more collaborative company culture.

Hollie Aghajani is the Director of Product Marketing at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews.

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