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Make Employee Feedback a Gift

By Jonathan McClellan | July 23, 2015 | Blog Posts | Engage Employees

Bill Gates wisely said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

Our exposure to feedback often starts when we’re young. From hopping on a bike or wielding a pencil for the first time to mastering fractions, feedback guides almost everything we do. Whether we realize it or not, feedback is a crucial element to our ongoing development, particularly within the workplace. After all, how can you improve, learn and grow if you don’t measure how you are doing? And, if you aren’t growing in your career, how engaged can you possibly be?

According to a Gallup study, managers who give little or no feedback fail to engage 98 percent of their employees. As companies strive to boost employee engagement, feedback is key to success.

Despite the importance of feedback, it is often overlooked or unsuccessfully implemented in many organizations. From the employee perspective, feedback can seem like a reprimand. From the employer perspective, it may be perceived as challenging or time consuming. Overcome these concerns and preconceived notions by ingraining feedback into your corporate culture. Simply put, make feedback a gift.

Like gift giving, sharing feedback can come in all different shapes and sizes. What’s most important is that everyone involved has meaningful takeaways that can be applied and re-evaluated at regularly scheduled intervals. But how can that be accomplished?

  • Define success. As I stated in my previous blog on the communication gap, communication is a driving force of success for any business. After all, there is no way to improve an organization without first giving your employees a roadmap for success. Communicate your goals and follow up on them regularly.
  • Communicate, don’t criticize. Feedback should be a gift your employees want to receive. So, make it beneficial. Include positives to reinforce what an employee does well and don’t use this time as an opportunity to share a laundry list of things they need to correct. Be constructive, give suggestions for improvement and determine together how to most effectively move forward.
  • Provide feedback often. Feedback doesn’t have to require a large production, but it does need to happen frequently. Adjust your strategy so employees look forward to regular feedback and formal reviews with their supervisors, and take advantage of impromptu opportunities to give feedback. When spur-of-the-moment feedback is combined with formal reviews, employees will be regularly apprised of what they’re doing well and learn of new opportunities for contributing their best work. By sharing this information over time, you actively build and strengthen the relationships that help people thrive.
  • Make feedback applicable to every employee. Introduce a culture where feedback is highly and regularly encouraged no matter the level of employee. From managers to entry-level employees, everyone craves feedback related to how they’re doing and the progress they’re making. Building a culture that encourages feedback starts with empowered employees with the resources and guidance to provide feedback and recognition to peers and team members at every level.

In high performing organizations feedback is a gift. It is welcomed with open arms and shared generously. Align your company culture with your goals and make positive feedback an initiative everyone can get behind.

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