Building a Culture of Continuous Feedback

By on October 4, 2016

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.

– Bill Gates

The hallmark of a successful organisation is that it continuously seeks feedback from all the stakeholders and not just customers. Feedback plays an important role in enhancing the productivity of organisations.

Traditionally, feedback was given in the form of Annual performance reviews which are already proving to be ineffective at managing employees performance. Time is of essence when it comes to identifying a drop in performance. If it goes on unnoticed till the end of the year, not only will company face losses due to low productivity, it will also get too late to help that employee address his problems. At the same time, if recognition is not given at the right time for exemplary performance, employees tend to lose motivation to keep up their performance. 

You need to exchange feedback at frequently to ensure that your employees are getting the right guidance at the right time. If you want to achieve excellence, it is necessary to build a culture of continuous feedback in your organisation.

Agile Performance Management has overcome these limitations of traditional performance management techniques. As opposed to annual reviews, it encourages implementing a culture of continuous feedback.

How to build a culture of continuous feedback:

Ways to build a culture of continuous feedback

Communicate your Vision and Goals

Assess the existing situation of your company and identify the future that you want to reach.  Once you have your plan in place, make sure you communicate it to the entire organisation. Everyone should be aware of what the company’s vision is, how does it want to go about it and what is expected of them to help fulfil these goals. This transparency helps employees to feel more connected to their company.

Whenever there is a deviation from the target, employees can be given feedback about how they need to realign their efforts towards the organisational goals. They are able to see the bigger picture and hence are willing to adjust their efforts.

Purpose of continuous feedback

The purpose of feedback is to manage the performance of individuals. It helps to identify areas where performance has slipped and needs to improve to increase productivity. With this feedback, employees can work with their managers and together come up with solutions to remove these barriers. As a result one gets informed not only about what needs to improve but about the things that she should keep doing. 

Continuous feedback doesn’t mean that only managers give feedback to their teams. They can also invite feedback from the team members and identify potential problems and reasons for conflicts within these teams. Continuous feedback is a 2 way street that helps both managers and their team develop themselves.

Employees need to be given a chance to voice their opinions. If at they feel that their opinions are not valued, they can always look for better opportunities. The management should be open to receiving feedback or they may lose out on valuable ideas that could potentially have averted some problems or maybe even lose some groundbreaking ideas that could have catapulted their teams to success.

Provide tools & channels to communicate continuous feedback:

Different strokes work for different people. While written feedback could work for some individuals, others would prefer a face-to-face encounter. Some would prefer a to the point message while some would choose to receive a balanced feedback. It depends upon the individuals how they want to receive or give feedback.

Along with individual feedback also conduct group feedback sessions. People are more willing to join the voice of others who share the same perspective. Fearing that they could be the only person with a specific issue, they may not share it at first. But if it is common with others, they share their concerns more confidently.

You can also make use of some tools that enable employees to provide feedback anonymously. At times when they are either scared or are not comfortable with sharing sensitive information, they can securely do this using these tools. This anonymity helps them communicate freely and at the same time the managers get valuable information which they otherwise could have missed entirely. They can thus take steps to identify the problems that are causing employees from working to their full potential. Make sure that these tools for continuous feedback are easily integrated into daily workflows of your team.

Make people accountable towards the feedback they give & receive:

Everybody in the organisation should be committed to the culture of continuous feedback. They need to be accountable towards the feedback that they give and receive. They should be shown how this feedback system will work and what is to be achieved from obtaining it.

At the time of incorporating the system of continuous feedback throughout the organisation, you need to provide each and every employee, manager, department with the same information to maintain consistency.

Once you address all the issues received through feedback, make sure everyone gets to see the changes that have been brought about by. They need to know that they too have been a part of system that changed their organisation for the better.

Educate about best practices in giving and receiving continuous feedback.

You cannot introduce the concept of continuous feedback and expect everyone to implement it overnight. Coach team members as well as managers to attain best practices in giving & receiving feedback. All the departments should be included in these training programmes. Only after every single employee has understood the implications and is on-board can you successfully implement continuous feedback.

You need both positive as well as negative feedback to thoroughly ensure you have identified all the information that is needed to improve your organisation. While one helps you identify your strengths, the other helps you things that are going wrong some way or the other. 

All these measures will help you to build a culture of continuous feedback in your organisation. Make sure you follow these to consistently develop your employees and consequently the organisation.

What are some others way that you think can help your company adapt to continuous feedback?

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