4 Ways to Foster a Continuous Feedback Culture
Feedback shouldn’t be just a once-a-year activity. The most engaged companies make feedback a continuous endeavor from monthly surveys to biweekly one-on-ones. However, giving feedback is much easier said than done.
Chances are, you’ve probably committed at least one feedback faux pas. Some employers talk about how they would’ve done things better. Others only highlight what a team member does wrong while skimping on recognition. In the end, these feedback tactics create antagonism rather than inspire change.
By establishing a feedback culture where everyone in your workplace feels comfortable giving and receiving feedback regularly, addressing problems becomes a collaborative effort.
What is a feedback culture?
Feedback culture is a fluid, two-way exchange between employees as well as employees and management. The end goal is a safe space where employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns and suggestions, and employers are able to express feedback constructively.
A healthy feedback culture is one where feedback is the norm rather than a signal that something is wrong. That means when improvements are needed, asking for change won’t come off as awkward or out of the blue for either staff or employers. Instead, you’ll be able to enhance business processes while empowering employees to excel in their roles.
Below are four ways to create a continuous feedback culture in your workplace, remote or in-person.
- Create an onboarding feedback framework.
A strong feedback culture starts from day one. Your new employee’s first six months are the best time to build healthy habits and set the standard for continuous feedback. This also means breaking any bad feedback habits your new hire may have picked up in the past.
To kick things off, send an onboarding pulse survey to your new hire in the first 90 days when they’re most engaged. Pulse surveys are quick, short, and focused surveys centered around a single question. They’re great for checking in with your new hire without added pressure.
Ask clear, simple questions like:
- Do you have all the tools and resources to perform your job well?
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the onboarding process?
Next, sit down with your new hire to discuss results from previous employee surveys. Take the opportunity to share how your team has acted on the feedback that was given. This demonstrates to the employee that feedback is not only welcomed but valued at your workplace.
- Offer multiple ways to share feedback.
A crucial part of fostering a workplace feedback culture is having multiple feedback channels available to your employees. There are many different types of channels to help facilitate feedback in your organization. Below are a few options to consider:
Internal newsletter surveys are a simple and seamless feedback mechanism. They allow employees to provide feedback quickly, which increases their chances of sharing. Employees can also add anonymous comments.
Virtual town halls can be a great place for management to set the tone for giving and requesting feedback. Announcements on company updates and goals also flow well with a call for feedback.
Performance-management platforms not only provide metrics that back your feedback, they also have built-in surveys that make the feedback process more streamlined.
One-on-ones are great for tackling more in-depth context-specific feedback or feedback that may involve personal matters.
- Let your leaders set the standard.
When it comes to building a feedback culture, your leadership team has to walk the walk before they can talk the talk. Managers should ask for feedback as much as they dish it out and promote it across their teams.
This is especially significant considering that just 29% of employees believe that their leader’s vision for the company aligns with that of the rest of their organization. When leaders ask for feedback, it not only underscores that management acknowledges their own vulnerability and shows a desire to align with their employees, but it equally promotes a growth mindset. It also normalizes feedback from the top onwards.
- Support feedback with employee recognition.
Recognizing your employees is at the heart of great workplace feedback culture. However, employee recognition doesn’t necessarily need to be ceremonious; it can be as simple as sending out a company-wide ‘Congratulations!’ email when one of your employees makes a sale—big or small—or even when they reach a personal milestone of theirs.
Recognition should also be a part of your day-to-day interactions. When an employee succeeds, you should have them hear about it. Whether it’s an idea they brought up during your weekly standup or how they supported another colleague, recognizing achievements builds trust and authenticity across your team. These in turn become the building blocks of a workplace feedback culture.
When you’re giving recognition, make sure you’re also specific in highlighting what skills, achievements, or outcomes are being recognized. Once a team member knows what strengths they are being recognized for, they can better tap into them for the future.
Continuous feedback is the backbone of your business. When done right, it can propel your teams to approach tasks from a different perspective and find new solutions to your company’s biggest challenges. But like most good things, feedback doesn’t work as a one-off. Embedding a continuous feedback culture into your workplace through healthy habits is the best way to ensure that feedback is always the norm in your workplace.