27 Sep WHY IS FEEDBACK CULTURE IMPORTANT?
We are huge advocates of feedback culture here at MadeYou, and with good reason. But for those who may not be aware of the concept or who aren’t sure of the benefits that fostering this kind of environment may bring, we’re here to explain.
What Exactly is Feedback Culture?
For us, true feedback culture is achieved when every member of staff feels invited to provide continuous, constructive, business-related feedback to any other member of staff, regardless of seniority or job title.
One of our Founders, Luke Todd, describes it as
“A working environment geared around collaboration…You feel empowered and encouraged to give your colleagues feedback about how you are working together; what works well and what needs improving. Others are open to hearing the feedback and presenting you with the same…This isn’t about personal feedback around staff as individuals. This is feedback focussed on working behaviours, working practices and the work itself. MadeYou call this Business Voice Feedback.“
You may think this should be fairly easy to achieve- just tell everyone to be open and honest with each other…? But most CEOs would not appreciate feedback from the new intern unless there has been a real culture shift, or at least a heads up! True culture change takes time, practice and guidance.
You may now be wondering why on earth you’d want to invite this sort of change into your organisation? Well, read on to find out why you most certainly should.
The Benefits of Feedback Culture in the Workplace
The proven benefits of an open, collaborative, feedback-based culture for businesses as a whole are numerous. The personal effect of such a culture is immeasurable for individuals who work in or with those businesses.
Some of the top benefits are described here:
1. Money Saving and Effective
Annual appraisals and regular performance reviews are proven to be ineffective and expensive. The hours that go into not only the meetings themselves but the preparations by managers and HR reps add up fast, and the resulting feedback exchange can be largely inaccurate and nearly always one-sided. Add in the paperwork and follow up discussions and you’ve got a whole load of wasted time and resources.
Annual or even monthly or weekly feedback sessions are no match for open, continuous conversations had in real-time and that work both ways. Discussing an incident that occurred 6 months ago and without all the participants present is a pointless, time-consuming exercise that can alienate your employees. Why not create a culture that allows for constant, in the moment feedback that deals with issues there and then, resulting in immediate improvement?
2. Employee Engagement
Developing a feedback culture is a sure-fire way to boost your employee engagement. Employees will feel truly valued and listened to; massively increasing your chances of keeping them genuinely engaged in the business.
The stats: According to the McKinsey Global Institute, workers who feel engaged with their employers are 20-25% more effective in the workplace while, according to Gallup, teams with high engagement rates are 21% more productive. Get Feedback describes a clear link between encouraging a culture of open feedback and resulting employee engagement, stating that, with 86% of highly engaged companies using employee to management 1-2-1s, this indicates a strong relationship between the two.
Engaged employees are the lifeblood of a good business. They will work more effectively, remain loyal to the company and be happier as human beings.
3. A More Positive Workplace
Negativity, lack of effective communication and voices going unheard lead to miserable workplaces filled with disengaged, ineffective and, sometimes, outright miserable employees.
Fostering a culture of constructive Business Voice feedback allows everyone to be heard, which means they feel valued- a vital aspect to keeping your employees happy.
The stats: According to the University of Warwick, employees who feel that they work in a negative workplace are 10% less effective while, according to Fast Company, employees who work in a positive workplace are 12% more productive.
The verdict? Unhappy people can’t perform to the best of their ability. Initiating a feedback culture is a very effective way of creating a positive environment.
4. Lower Attrition
This isn’t much of a surprise when you consider the points above- happy employees are less likely to leave you!
Staff turnover is an expensive problem. It’s been estimated that the cost of losing an employee is around 33% of their salary when you factor in the amount of time, energy, and resources that finding a replacement can take- not to mention the frustration for staff left to cover the workload or tasked with finding someone new.
Establishing a feedback culture also helps in defining a consistent structure for workers to adhere to if they want to climb the ladder- a key component in holding on to great talent.
5. Improvement in Company Communications
A company that is used to open communications and a flow of information between lower-level staff to C-level teams is more likely to be able to openly converse about company objectives, challenges and goals. This means that everyone is on the same team. All employees are aware of the same pitfalls they need to circumvent and how the company would like them to go about it.
The stats: A study from McKinsey showed that clear, transparent corporate communication between internal employees can help boost productivity by as much as 25%.
Open communication and feedback enable entire companies to swim in one direction. That can’t be a bad thing, right?
MadeYou Founder, Luke Todd, says
“By talking about what works well and levelling up the areas that need improving, you collaborate better. Having an open feedback culture means that, in real-time, everyone is able to adapt quickly to optimise work, steer meetings and run projects to maximise output. People end up not just working better together in relation to key results, they also work smarter together by optimising work and interactions.“
How To Develop a Feedback Culture
The first stage is to accept that a cultural shift like this is not an overnight fix. Some staff will feel uncomfortable giving feedback to people in more senior positions or may not want to accept feedback from anyone other than their manager- all completely understandable when this may be a new concept and something they’ve never experienced in their working lives.
Luke warns brave feedback explorers not to fall at the first hurdle:
“Typically, moving towards a feedback culture is hard to start with for a few reasons. People may not be used to hearing feedback from their colleagues (who aren’t their managers). Also, people aren’t used to giving business-related feedback and their first attempts may be a little rough in the delivery…
Avoid giving up at this stage and thinking it won’t work. Understand that this is a whole-business cultural shift and that needs time and focus. Working closely with staff, you should invest in and support them in learning how to give and receive business-focussed feedback.
Typically, meetings like “retrospectives” are a good starting point. Development Teams do this regularly at the end of ‘sprints’. This methodology is useful in other departments and is also a great framework for Business Voice Feedback.
At the start of the journey, you may also want to think about investing in a 360 Feedback Program. The process involved poses questions in a way that is worked to deliver business-related feedback and, as such, staff members get used to delivering feedback to their colleagues in a way that isn’t personal, provides opportunities to improve and acknowledges what already works well. 360 also provides a safe environment for the receiver to digest and reflect on the feedback of their colleagues and to understand how to utilise this in the working environment.“
For those who want to dip their toes in the water and encourage a feedback culture in their workplaces, the below can be a good place to start:
- Encourage your peers/employees/managers to come to you with feedback for you as well as for feedback for them
- Encourage constructive, positive and continuous peer-to-peer feedback
- Promote a company-wide ‘growth mindset’ by focussing on providing training and development tools
- Build openness and trust within and between teams wherever possible
- Utilise multiple channels for feedback e.g. small group sessions, 1-2-1s or online comms
What Services Do MadeYou Offer That Can Help?
MadeYou are massive advocates for establishing a feedback culture and we are ready to help in so many ways.
Three main programs jump to mind for those just starting out on their journey:
Luke explains what signs of success to look out for once you’ve started your feedback culture journey:
“As you progress through yearly 360 Feedback programs, retrospective-based meetings and regular 1-2-1’s you will notice that staff members are keener to provide or ask for feedback. Not only that, but they will begin to start these conversations outside of designated meetings- this is the beginning of continuous feedback; the holy grail.
You will also notice a more positive attitude towards feedback programs and a genuine interest- especially when staff are receiving their results and can see where they are improving.
Try not to get too cocky at this stage and start believing you no longer need these programs in place- quite the contrary. These are the facilitators of your great feedback culture and they also ensure that any new joiners are exposed to working in a feedback culture in a quick and structured way.“