Three Ways to Start Building a Culture of Feedback
By Kate W Putnam
A crucial part of reinvigorating and continuously improving employee experience is through open, honest communication. Regardless of the size of your organization, the best way to listen to your employees is to create a culture of feedback. What does that mean? In a nutshell, a culture of feedback arises when employees feel like they can communicate straightforwardly with their superiors and HR without fear of reprisal or punishment. A culture of feedback prizes employee feedback and leverages it into actionable intelligence that allows your company to stay competitive. It also has been shown to improve employee retention.
HR expert Sarah O’Neill agrees, saying that “the best way for companies to reduce turnover is through open and proactive communication. Ask your employees how the company can better support them and be a place people enjoy working.” So, what are three places you can start to begin building a culture of feedback?
- Break down any barriers intimidating employees when it comes to giving feedback. Communicating psychological safety and job security is crucial, especially if feedback can be critical. Understanding what employees are unhappy with is the key to finding ways to boost employee morale and invest in employee happiness. Don’t make them feel like they’re entitled or out of bounds: instead, thank them for giving them the information that just made your job a lot easier.
- Create space and multiple methods for employees to voice their feedback. In addition to offering in-person meetings, also provide the option of private channels, suggestion boxes and anonymized surveys to make sure that everyone has the chance to raise their voice. Some HR leaders even recommend continuous feedback systems like Culture Amp to keep a constant pulse on employee experience. Remember though, managers may still need to give constant reminders that feedback is welcome and that there are multiple methods to do so.
- Put your feedback data to good use. Read, analyze, and categorize feedback in a systematic way to create a plan and act on areas of improvement for the business and understand employee satisfaction trends overall. Some employers use impact grids to take care of quick wins that are highly impactful, versus larger high-impact initiatives that may take longer. Feedback that isn’t as impactful or may take much, much longer should also be communicated at some level to employees as well. Otherwise they may not feel heard and you’ll be unknowingly be breeding resentment after working so hard to get feedback in the first place.
Keep in mind that building and maintaining an open feedback culture takes continuous and constant work, but as an employer it will pay dividends to your employee satisfaction, build a competitive advantage with your talent and can even help increase retention.
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