A CEO I worked with had a mantra: Feedback is a gift. It made total sense when I received his praise (especially as someone who thrives on external validation) but I didn’t feel the same way about his criticism – until I realized how much his constructive feedback fueled my personal and professional growth. Building an effective feedback culture can exponentially improve employee engagement, performance and results. But where do you start?

Here are 5 steps to create a feedback-rich culture:

  1. Invest in psychological safety
  2. Train your team on giving & receiving feedback
  3. Design a system to enable frequent feedback loops
  4. Take action on feedback themes 
  5. Reinforce feedback culture by showcasing wins

Invest in psychological safety.

People need to feel comfortable to fail and make a mistake. They need to know that when they receive constructive feedback, it is coming from a place of care to help them see a blind spot and improve.  

Take the time to invest in building trust within your company, talking openly about the positive results of failure and encouraging everyone to speak the truth even if it’s uncomfortable. This foundation is critical for building a feedback culture. 

Train your team on giving & receiving feedback.

Just like learning to manage people or projects, learning to give and receive feedback is a skill that must be developed. Many assume people just know how to do this. Deliver training sessions on best practices for why feedback is important and how to give and receive praise and criticism. 

Encourage “feedback on the fly” which encourages all team members to share feedback in real time. For example, “I observed how you handled that difficult customer interaction and wanted to share that I think you should have considered listening more actively and acknowledging their concerns before jumping into problem solving mode in order for the customer to feel heard and understood. What are your thoughts on that approach?” 

Design a system to enable frequent feedback loops.

Create multiple channels for feedback collection and sharing. Company surveys, regular 1:1 with managers and team members, quarterly performance reviews and career development conversations all should be non-negotiable and part of your company talent development and retention strategy. 

Ensure your managers are equipped to create Individual Success Plans for each team member highlighting core competencies for them to focus on for professional growth. 

Take action on feedback themes.

There is no better reinforcement on why a feedback culture is so important than when people witness the tangible changes after providing feedback. Taking action, making improvements and changes based on feedback will fuel the team to continue to provide it. The more feedback loops occur, the more natural they become creating a virtuous cycle. This should be done on the company level and the individual level.

Reinforce feedback culture by showcasing wins. 

Leverage company meetings or newsletters to share wins as a result of providing positive and constructive feedback. Share company survey results, the action you took as a result and the better outcomes those actions drove. It will ensure people feel heard and that it is worth their time to continue to engage in the feedback channels. Investing in creating a feedback culture not only shows a true commitment to your team members development but fosters a team that will perform at its best. If you’d like to learn more about how Thriver tools can help strengthen your feedback culture, get in touch and we’ll book you a free consultation.