Now that we understand feedback, its value, and impact as well the best way to give it to our peers, we need to make a habit of it. For a company to have the habit of providing feedback, we need rituals to instil feedback in all aspects of the organization.

Here are six things you can do to create a culture of feedback at your organization.

Start with the top

It starts with the leader. As a leader, you must ask for feedback continuously, especially constructive criticism. To make it powerful, you have to publicly share the constructive criticism you have received and demonstrate the actions you will be taking to improve on it. If leaders can show that they can request feedback, share the constructive criticism publicly and take actions to improve it, it will set a precedent for the rest of the organization.

In our remote world today, technologies like Inkrement allow leaders to receive feedback, even anonymously from their employees. This one to many connection with a distributed workforce is critical to always maintain a pulse on your organization

Provide feedback training

Though praise and constructive feedback both need to be provided in an effective and clear manner, praise is low risk. If you get it wrong, it will feel disingenuous but it will still be positive. Constructive feedback on the other hand has to be provided in the right way to avoid its pitfalls. Using a situation, behaviour, and impact framework is a great start for providing constructive feedback but it should be complemented with training to help everyone understand not only the WHY but also the WHOM, HOW, and WHEN.

Training is also important to help employees understand how to receive feedback. Use part 1 and part 2 of our create a culture of continuous feedback series to create your own training session or consider bringing in an expert to coach your team on feedback.

Training is important to set clear expectations around feedback: acceptable vs. unacceptable forms of feedback, how often feedback should be provided, whom we should provide it to and how should we receive feedback.

Incorporate feedback in everything you do

For habits to be ingrained, we need to practice them all the time. Incorporate feedback in everything you do. Did you have an all hands meeting ? Ask for feedback. Did you just finish a training session on recruitment, interviews, D&I ? Ask for feedback. Organized a fun team outing ? Ask for feedback.

The more times you ask for feedback, the more ingrained it will become in your company culture. It will ensure that all members of your organizations see this feedback process as well as get a chance to participate in it.

Share the feedback and gain transparency

When you receive feedback, both praise and constructive, share it with your team or organization. Sharing feedback shows that you are listening. It's especially important to share your constructive criticism publicly as it reinforces your values of transparency, and accountability.

Sharing your constructive feedback and becoming vulnerable will break down barriers within your teams. We all have our flaws, and sharing them opens the conversation and invites people to support you or the organization in improving.

Create an action plan and gain trust

There is a big difference in our culture between listening to someone and hearing someone. Semantics aside, listening is the mere act of taking in words and understanding the words. Hearing someone means empathizing with them and understanding their intent and meaning.

While sharing feedback shows that you are listening, creating an action plan based on the feedback means you hear your team and are willing to create a roadmap of improvement with them. Sharing and tracking against the initiatives on the roadmap will earn you accountability and trust

Leverage technology

Technology should help with feedback culture in two ways:

  1. Connect : It should allow you to provide feedback to anyone in your organization - People work in distributed offices, homes, and its not always possible to grab a quick in person meeting to give recognition or constructive feedback. Video conferencing technologies like Zoom, Teams or communication tools such as slack, microsoft teams are perfect ways to connect with anyone in your organization and provide quick feedback.
  2. Save: Whether its recognition or constructive feedback, you want to be able to save your feedback so that you can discuss and review it in your formal performance reviews. Your manager may be disconnected from your day to day work and showing them all the recognition you have received provides good data for the great work you have been doing and sharing constructive feedback with them allows your manager to support and guide your development.

Look for tools that embed into your existing work flows already. The easier it is to provide feedback, the more likely it will be for your organization to give and receive feedback. Inkrement is the easiest and simplest way to gain feedback from anyone on your organization, whether its praise or constructive criticism.