How to Build a Culture of Continuous Feedback
Feedback plays a significant role in enhancing the productivity of organisations. According to the traditional scenario, feedback was provided at the time of annual performance reviews. However, such feedback has proven to be ineffective in managing the performance of employees.
Any drop in performance needs to be identified promptly. If it remains unnoticed till the annual performance review, it will be too late to help the employee address his issues. The organisation also faces loss owing to drop in productivity. Similarly, recognition also needs to be given to employees at the right time to reinforce their exemplary performance. If the moment is missed, employees could lose their motivation to maintain performance.
If organisations want to achieve excellence, it’s important to build a culture of continuous feedback. That means embracing Agile Performance Management. Agile performance management overcomes the limitations of traditional performance management by encouraging a culture of continuous feedback.
How to Build a Culture of Continuous Feedback
1. You need to clearly communicate the vision and goals of your organisation. You can achieve this by assessing the current situation of your organisation and identifying the future state you wish to reach. After formulating the plan, you need to communicate it clearly to every employee. Every individual needs to be aware of the organisation’s vision and goals. They need to understand how the organisation plans to go about it and the expectations from them in fulfilling these goals. This clarity, transparency & alignment will help the employees feel more connected.
Whenever you notice a deviation from the target, you need to provide feedback to its employees. By doing so, it will help the employees to realign their efforts towards the organisational goals. Since the employees are equally aware of the bigger picture, they would be more than willing to adjust their efforts.
2. Understand the purpose of continuous feedback. Feedback effectively manages the performance of individuals. Timely feedback helps in identifying areas of improvement and thereby helps in increasing productivity. When feedback is provided, employees need to work closely with their managers and come up with solutions to address the issues identified.
Continuous feedback does not indicate that it should come only from managers to their teams. The managers can also seek feedback from the team members and identify any potential reasons for conflicts or problems within the team. Continuous feedback is a two-way traffic which helps both the team and the managers to develop themselves.
You need to provide employees the opportunity to voice their opinions. If the employees get the feel that their opinions are not valued, they will start looking out for better opportunities. The management of an organization needs to be open towards receiving feedback. If they do not do so, they may lose out on some valuable ideas which may have averted certain problems. They may also end up losing some significant ideas which could have catapulted the teams towards success.
3, Ensure that you provide the necessary channels and tools to share continuous feedback. Some employees may be comfortable receiving written feedback, while others may prefer verbal, face-to-face communication. All this depends on the individuals and how they wish to receive or give feedback.
You should also conduct group feedback sessions apart from individual feedback sessions. There are times when people find it comfortable to share a collective opinion when they have a similar perspective on a certain issue. When people share feedback collectively, they find it comfortable and confident to raise their concerns.
You can also take the support of some tools which enable employees to provide feedback in an anonymous manner. Not all your employees may be comfortable speaking their minds; so providing tools which help them in sharing anonymous feedback may prove to be helpful. The sense of anonymity encourages them to openly communicate their opinion. At the same time, the managers are also able to get valuable information which they may have missed out entirely. You need to ensure that these tools for continuous feedback are easily integrated into the day to day workflow of the team.
4. Ensure that your employees are accountable towards the feedback they give as well as receive. Every employee in an organisation needs to be committed towards this culture of continuous feedback. They need to understand the functioning of this feedback system and what can be achieved out of it. Maintain consistency while you incorporate the system of continuous feedback across your organisation. Once you address all the issues which you received via feedback, ensure that everyone gets to view the changes that have been implemented. They need to have an awareness that they have been part of this system as well, which has changed their organisation for the better.
5. Educate your employees about the significance of continuous feedback. It is quite obvious that you cannot introduce the concept of continuous feedback and expect all your employees to implement it overnight. Hence, you need to train your managers as well as team members the significance of continuous feedback. Include all the departments of your organisation in these training programs. It can be successfully implemented once every single employee of your organisation has understood the implications of continuous feedback.
A mix of both positive and negative feedback is required to ensure that you have identified all the relevant information that is required to improve your organisation. While positive feedback helps to identify your strengths, negative feedback helps to identify issues which are not going the right way.