Leaders should promote feedback culture by their example | Interview with Lana Stamenkovic
The value of clear, timely, and constructive feedback has always been great, but with the transition to remote work, which has physically separated us from each other - it has become invaluable. A recent global survey from 2020 showed that 65% of employees expect and want to get more feedback about themselves, their progress, etc. They also want the opportunity for their feedback to be heard, understood, and appreciated. Like any other skill, this is a learning process. The important thing is - to have and build a culture that supports us, encourages us, and gives us space and time to give each other feedback. Lana Stamenkovic, HR Manager at BlueGrid shared with us everything there is to know when it comes to feedback culture.
What is feedback culture?
Lana: To put it very simply – a feedback culture is a workplace culture where each and every employee feels encouraged to share their feedback with another person in the company – regardless of their work position. This culture is all about honest, timely, and effective feedback between employees or between employees and leaders, where feedbacks are part of day-to-day business practice. Building and encouraging a healthy feedback culture must be among the top priorities for any organization.
Why is it important to have a feedback culture?
Lana: There are multitude of benefits that feedback culture brings to the organization. To indicate only a few most important ones.
- Increases employee morale and engagement – When employees have the opportunity to share their opinions and thoughts about each other, organization or leaders – it makes them feel valued and heard, which directly impacts their engagement and morale.
- Creates more fun and positive workplace – Working in a culture that supports feedback creates positive working and team atmosphere which has huge impact on how employees overcome works stress and become more resilient. Encouraging feedback shows employees that they should feel comfortable coming to their peers and superiors about anything. This atmosphere of trust and collaboration boosts overall positivity as employees are expected and welcomed to share their positive and negative thoughts which leads to developing a solution.
- Helps employee growth and retention– Having a feedback culture positively affects retention rates. Making feedback regular not annual practice helps employees keep in touch with their areas for improvement and encourage them to keep improving. As a result, these employees are more likely to stay with the company as they feel that they can grow and develop.
- Helps the organization grow – A feedback culture is not only about people and their interactions. Employees should always feel supported and encouraged to share their feedback about how the organization is doing and what could be improved. By addressing and talking about these ideas, employees can change the course of their organization, or even open up new perspectives of product research, or service offerings.
How to create a feedback culture in the workplace?
Lana: Just like any other people-related matter - feedback culture takes time to grow and develop.
So, how to get started in creating it?
Here are a few essential points to nurture in order to create strong feedback culture:
- Make workplace a feedback safe place
To give and receive frank, thoughtful feedback, people must feel safe and trustful. For your feedback culture to succeed, every single employee should feel safe to speak their mind. The workplace should be considered a safe place that enables people to come forward and verbalize their thoughts when they have a need to do that – either spontaneously or in a meeting
- Promote and normalize feedback culture
If feedback happens only during annual performance reviews or when something goes wrong, this is not feedback-rich culture! To make feedback an integral part of the organizational culture – employees need to practice it almost every day – during meetings, lunch breaks, or any other occasion. Leaders play an enormous part in creating and sustaining a feedback culture. They should constantly encourage employees to come and share or ask for feedback.
- Provide feedback training for all employees
It is important to understand that not everyone is skilled in giving or receiving feedback. Giving feedback is not a skill that is natural to all of us, even some may think that they are skilled in doing that. When giving feedback is done inadequately it can do more harm than not giving feedback at all. It is essential, to begin with providing feedback training for every employee when you start adapting to feedback culture.
How to encourage feedback culture?
Lana: There are three magic words: Lead by example.
Every behavior starts at the top.
Leaders are the ones who should promote feedback culture by their example.
Leaders who actively ask for feedback regarding their strengths and areas that need to be improved will do immense work in creating and nurturing feedback-rich culture. Leaders should ask for feedback up and down in the organization and from their peers. And most importantly – they should show that they receive the feedback in a positive manner. This will set the tone for the rest of the organization.
What is the best feedback channel?
Lana: Organizations should be able to provide different solutions for the employees to share their feedback. Not everyone feels comfortable with a face-to-face feedback session, at least, not at first.
Organizations should have different channels to give feedback – such as:
- online feedback platform (Google form & Survey Monkey)
- small group feedback sessions
- 180 or 360 feedback survey
By providing employees with some flexibility when it comes to giving feedback, you’ll be able to help those who may not be as comfortable interacting with their peers – thereby increasing engagement and fostering feedback culture.
Having all these things in mind, it is clear that building a feedback culture can take time and work.
And it is completely worth it. 😊