If your organization already has a strategy for giving and receiving feedback, then congratulations! You’re on the right track for engaging your employees–increasing retention, boosting productivity, and in the long run, improving your profitability.
According to Gallup, companies that engage their employees and have talented leadership achieve on average 147% higher earnings per share than their competition.
Feedback is certainly beneficial–when done well.
Unfortunately, it can be all-too-easy to do a poor job at delivering feedback and creating an effective long-term strategy for success. Too often, feedback falls flat or fizzles out. The result is that not only do you miss out on valuable opportunities for helping your team members to improve their performance; you might also leave some employees more disengaged than before.
That’s why it’s so key to do feedback well–to not only know how and what to communicate, but how to implement a long-term strategy to make feedback successful over the long haul.
In this article, we’ll cover not only the common mistakes when it comes to giving feedback to your team members, but how to build a feedback strategy that works.
5 Common Mistakes That Organizations Make
Most leaders and managers know that feedback delivers real, lasting benefit. The problem is, however, that many leaders and managers fall into common feedback “pitfalls”–mistakes that are easy to make, and easy to overlook.
Mistake #1: Your feedback is sporadic or infrequent.
A traditional “feedback strategy” in large organizations can look like delivering feedback to employees in quarterly or annual reviews.
The problem with these one-on-one reviews?
Often, the feedback isn’t timely or immediately relevant, reducing its impact and making it more difficult to understand what needs to change. And, when the employee is inundated with information on their performance, moving towards actionable improvement can feel overwhelming–both logistically and emotionally.
Finally, inconsistency or infrequency show your employees that your organization doesn’t really value feedback, or the need to change. When you integrate feedback into ongoing workflows, however, you create a culture that values input, transparency, and improvement.
Mistake #2: Your feedback is nonspecific.
One of the most common mistakes with feedback in any scenario is to give feedback that is nonspecific. Let’s be honest: Nonspecific feedback is simply easier to give.
Contrast the following:
“You did great during yesterday’s presentation!”
“You did a great job at communicating our company values during yesterday’s presentation!”
“I think you could have managed that project better.”
“I think you could have done a better job at coordinating with subcontractors.”
Both “positive” and “negative” feedback are far more constructive when they include specifics–though that will require additional effort and thought.
Mistake #3: Your feedback is a one-way street.
In an organizational context, feedback often has the connotation of being communicated exclusively from “superiors.”
But to create an authentic culture of feedback in your organization, feedback needs to operate in multiple directions–both from leadership/management towards employees; from employees to employees; and from employees to managers and leaders.
Mistake #4: Your feedback is only negative…or only positive.
Delivering feedback that’s exclusively negative or exclusively positive can be equally damaging.
To equip both leaders and team members to change, they need to hear what they’re doing well, and what can be improved. Veering too strongly towards any one direction can a) discredit the feedback from being truly authentic, or b) bring too much emotion into the feedback, leaving the recipient either flattered or insulted–but not motivated to change.
Mistake #5: Your feedback is delivered via the wrong channel.
Finally, an organization may do all of the above well…but if they don’t deliver and communicate feedback through the right channel, it won’t be as effective.
For example, organizations may request feedback via email one week, and Slack the next. Or, they may rely exclusively on feedback given and received during Zoom calls. Or, they may combine these channels–resulting in inconsistent feedback that’s difficult to navigate, understand, and act on.
To be effective, integrate feedback into your workflows with a digital platform–which we’ll learn more about in the next section.
Strategies to Help Feedback Succeed
By now, you know what not to do when it comes to feedback.
Now, here’s what you can do to help make sure your feedback succeeds.
Make feedback a part of company culture.
When you create a culture of feedback at your company, you create buy-in that helps team members and managers want to engage and participate in the process. They’ve seen and experienced the value of giving and receiving feedback–and they feel comfortable with communicating about performance, behaviors, etc.
To encourage a culture of feedback at your organization, start by building trust with your employees. This involves rewarding transparency and honesty; placing equal value on all employee voices, and setting an example of asking for feedback as a leader.
Integrate feedback with technology.
As mentioned above, establishing an effective channel for feedback via a digital platform will help make feedback succeed in the long run.
Nailted is a digital feedback platform that will help you to integrate feedback into ongoing workflows. By giving employees a weekly opportunity to recognize each others’ accomplishments, provide optionally anonymous constructive feedback, and engage in 1:1 meetings with managers, Nailted helps normalize feedback so that it becomes a core part of your organization’s culture.
The result, of course, is that you get to reap the benefits of feedback: improved performance and productivity increased employee engagement and satisfaction, and a stronger, more efficient organization.
Consider outcomes & results.
To be successful, feedback should have a measurable impact.
Make sure to develop a strategy to follow through with employees and managers who have received constructive feedback, and see how they have taken actionable steps towards improvement. You may also want to measure bigger-picture initiatives such as productivity rates or employee engagement, satisfaction, or eNPS. (Again, Nailted can help you measure these metrics on an ongoing basis, giving you insight into how feedback may be having a far-reaching impact).
Try Nailted Free for 14 Days
Nailted is an employee engagement platform that can help your organization deliver a better employee experience through:
- Collecting data from multiple sources–allowing you to gather up-to-date insights and to stay on the pulse of what your employees are thinking and feeling.
- Measuring eNPS, satisfaction, and wellness levels–through built-in dashboards.
- Identifying issues and solving problems–through real-time insights and analytics for data-informed decisions.
For your employees, engaging with Nailted might look like:
- Giving and receiving “claps” every week to team members, building a culture of positive recognition and feedback–claps are typically given on Friday and received on Monday to start the week off right! (Note that frequent recognition can improve employee productivity by 31%….and 36% of employees say that they have left their jobs because of a lack of recognition).
- Providing feedback on an ongoing basis on levels of satisfaction and wellness–helping leaders to make better decisions towards improving employee happiness and organizational health.
- Engaging in 1:1 meetings with managers, creating space for more targeted feedback and engagement.
- And more…
The bottom line? Nailted helps you create a successful feedback strategy that benefits your employees and your organization. To see how Nailted might work for your organization, click here for a free 14-day trial.