Feedback Culture

How to Build a Feedback Culture in Your Organisation

4 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

Want to know that your organisation and its employees are all functioning at their best? Then introducing a healthy and open workplace feedback culture could be just the ticket.

What is a workplace feedback culture?

A feedback culture is one where individuals feel safe, encouraged and free to contribute their thoughts and opinions. A good feedback culture in the workplace puts plenty of emphasis on the power of sharing both positive and negative thoughts. This means employees can bring forward suggestions or criticism without any fear of retribution.  

Feedback Culture 1

The benefits of building a feedback culture

Having a feedback culture can result in some pretty big wins for organisations. 

  • A feedback culture can also be a huge driver in employee engagement. Qualtrics found that 59% of people said they feel engaged at work when they’re being asked for feedback. 
  • The ADP Global Workplace Study 2020 revealed that employees are 14 times more likely to be engaged if they trusted their team leader, and creating a culture that invites and rewards feedback is a big trust builder. 
  • It can help retain talent too, a Yoh survey found that 34% of employees said that managers who don’t listen when they voice their opinion would be a top reason for finding another job. 

6 tips for building a feedback culture in your team

Getting teams used to offering and receiving feedback can take some encouragement. Get started with a few simple steps. 

1. Hold honest feedback sessions

Being honest isn’t easy. If you want to hear what your employees really think – and know that they will be receptive to the thoughts of their peers – you need to introduce sessions where being honest is the name of the game. 

You may need to introduce some rules and regulations to help everyone make the most of this time. While these sessions should be all about getting to the heart of the matter, you also need to be thinking about the psychological safety and wellbeing of your team. Respect and kindness must be guiding principles, even when you’re there to encourage the kind of feedback that can make a difference. 

2. Judgement free zones

It’s also important that when you lead those sessions, you ask everyone to leave their judgements at the door. While questioning, moral and often judgemental natures are what can make people so great at finding new ways of doing things, they can also be an inhibitor. 

When you’re looking to create an environment where valuable feedback can be shared, it’s wise to implement judgement free zones that will allow space for big ideas and unusual suggestions. 

3. Regular team discussions 

To create these honest and judgement free spaces you need to put a lot of time into building trust. Not just between team leaders and employees, but between peers too. The best way to do that is to make sure you facilitate lots of healthy and open team discussions, both in person and online. 

Peer-to-peer recognition and feedback can be very valuable for both individual performance and overall business goals. Sometimes, colleagues are able to offer more direct and useful encouragement or advice than leaders, purely due to the fact that they are on a more equal playing field and may have extra insight into what a role entails. 

4. Fast and frequent check ins

Alongside those more extended discussion and feedback sessions, it’s also a great idea to make it easy for people to offer fast and timely comments. This could be through daily in-person scrums or with an employee communication platform.

This can help cement giving and receiving useful feedback as part of your culture, allowing everyone to contribute and also offering space for everyone to contribute – no matter how packed their schedule.  

5. A focus on making it meaningful

It’s one thing to offer and elicit regular feedback, it’s another to make sure that the feedback is meaningful. There’s little point sharing thoughts if they’re being shared only for the sake of having something to say. In fact, that can do more harm than good. 

Gallup research found that only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they get helps them do better work, which suggests that the focus should be on quality as much as on quantity. Make sure that feedback is meaningful, allow plenty of space for reflection and discussion and learn how to give constructive feedback, if you want to see your teams really thrive. 

6. Celebrate wins and successes

The last thing you want is to accidentally create a feedback culture that’s stuck in a negative spiral. Yes, sometimes it’s very important to hear hard truths or be given space for growth, but a stream of complaints is never going to be a great motivator for change. 

Offer positive recognition and rewards as part of your strategy and always make space to celebrate successes. This will help to keep spirits high and show your employees that their efforts are appreciated – as well as their feedback. 

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