We all know feedback is key to any great workplace, but what is it exactly that makes an effective feedback process so successful in improving performance? Today we explore some research around feedback at work and why it’s necessary for everyone in an organisation, employees and managers included!
While it’s always great to receive recognition and encouragement, it’s also critical to get honest feedback when there is room for improvement. After all, this is how we improve!
The key here is to be selective about what feedback is genuinely constructive and worth raising, and then delivering it in the right way. The most important thing is to ensure individuals know that the purpose of the feedback is to help them improve, and that your job as their manager is to provide the support they need to get there.
It can be really difficult to deliver constructive feedback, especially if we feel it might come as a shock to our team members. According to this research though, the majority of people already know an issue is at hand when their manager brings it up. In fact, starting the conversation can actually be a point of relief for staff who actually want to discuss an issue and get help, but aren’t sure how to bring it up.
Further to this, The British Psychological Society found that withholding negative feedback from low performers only served to protect their manager from having to have an uncomfortable conversation, while in point of fact it actually did great harm to the individual who needed help.
Feedback is not only an important opportunity to uncover issues and deliver constructive critique, but also an avenue to encourage people in what they are doing well and create a positive feedback loop. Understanding people’s strengths not only allows work to be allocated in a way that leverages those strengths, but also allows managers to build upon them. As evidenced by the research above, this can have considerable bottom line impacts on productivity and profitability.
We know that reducing turnover also contributes to a more positive workplace culture, improved productivity and profitability, and those who are provided with positive reinforcement on their strengths at work have almost 15% lower attrition than those who don’t. Honest two way feedback helps to build transparency and improves individual alignment with company strategy. Both of which contribute to the team member feeling valued, understanding how they can contribute (creating the opportunity for personal reward) and reducing the likelihood of attrition.
Consistent and thoughtful feedback also helps us stay engaged and fulfilled in the work that we do. Note the emphasis on regular feedback; if you are relying upon annual reviews you are missing a huge opportunity to engage your team over the course of the year. Employees shouldn’t need to wait 12 months to know how they’re going, or to be provided easy opportunities to ask for support or have their manager provide additional strategic alignment; they need to know all of this as soon as possible so they can act and improve.
Feedback can also help individuals directly improve their performance, especially when aligned to specific goals. Having goals set for every individual employee that they can track and maintain, gives a really specific, personal and tangible measure of performance, ie. something they personally own and are responsible for, and also provides a valuable talking point for feedback.
A study of over 50,000 leaders found those who asked for feedback the most were also the best leaders. This is just further supporting evidence that managers need feedback just as much as their direct reports. This is why we recommend a 360 approach, so feedback can be delivered from manager to direct report and vice versa, as well as between peers.
Finally convinced to get your continuous feedback in order? We’ll help you map out and implement the whole process. Get started here.