Feedback is a blessing in disguise. It is an art that can be perfected with more and more practice. However, in this trying time of the Covid-19 scenario, the percentage of people working remotely is increasing everyday. With the managers and employees being away from each other the chances of miscommunication see an upsurge as well. Feedback plays an extremely important role in bridging this gap. Hence, the organization needs to take feedback more seriously especially now even if they have not done it before because we all know communication is the key to success.
Why is Feedback necessary?
The main purpose of feedback is to ensure the overall development and improvement of the receiver. So in an organization, feedback is exchanged with a view to make not only individual performances better and help in understanding what is being done wrong or what is not being done that is affecting the performance but also leads to an elevated organizational performance.
Feedback is not only exchanged for the purpose of pointing out what needs to be done, but it is also essential for addressing what the employees have done right. But whatever feedback it is, whether negative or positive, there should be certain guidelines that must be followed by any organization to make the feedback process a successful experience for everyone working there.
7 Ways To Make The Feedback Process More Effective
- Continuity: Feedback exchange must be made continuous. If something happened today and it is felt that certain actions are amiss in the employee’s approach, then the feedback should be delivered on an instant or real-time basis rather than keeping it aside, to be dumped later on during the review. For instance, if Manager X feels that if Employee A has a better attitude towards their team member, their performance will improve, then instead of delivering this feedback during or after their appraisal when nothing could be done anymore, manager X must deliver this behavioural feedback on an immediate basis. However, that being said it is also important that the feedback is delivered at the right place and time. For instance, given out of blue feedback during a team meeting will not help anyone instead people will get defensive and the whole purpose of the feedback exchange will be lost.
- Delinking the people and the process: The feedback should be based on the performance of the employee and not on the individual. Person and performance must be kept separated. Otherwise, it will be considered a personal attack which isn’t the purpose of exchanging feedback. For instance, if the feedback from a manager to an employee reads ‘I don’t like the way you talk’ instead of ‘your communication skills need improvement for better performance’, then it will be a remark on the individual and not their performance or what is restricting them from performing well.
- Invest in training: As human beings, we are generally closed off to receiving feedback. So in order to make feedback more acceptable, the organization should not only invest in training on how to give better feedback but also in training on how to receive feedback better. And both the managers and the employees need to participate in the training.
- Specific: Feedback needs to be constructive, objective, and specific. To make it more specific, it must be tagged to a particular goal or on a particular behaviour so that the receiver has a context of why they are receiving that particular feedback. For example, if an employee receives feedback that says ‘your performance was bad’ it wouldn’t make much sense to them but if the feedback read ‘your performance was bad in ABC project’ then the feedback will have a context and would make sense.
- Following-up: In case of negative feedback, it shouldn’t be a one-time event. Negative feedback must always be followed up to track the improvement of the employee and lead them through the developmental path.
- Formalizing: Long gone are the days when corridor feedback was enough, it has become extremely important to formalize the process. Not only does it reduce the recency bias but also helps in understanding the performance of the employees’ overtime.
- Openness: The feedback process must be open for the employees working across the organization. For instance, a colleague from one department can share their feedback to the colleague working in another department, an employee must be able to give their feedback to their managers, and so on.
Everything comes down to the culture of the organization. What the culture of an organization preaches results in how effective and accepting an employee would be of the process. It is often seen that employees are unwilling to share their feedback with their managers because of the stigma attached to it and also fearing the consequences they might face because of the feedback. This fear and hesitation can only be reduced, if not removed completely, by:
- The leaders must encourage the employees to share their feedback with them. This can be done by creating a positive and accepting work environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their opinion.
- A sense of freedom in feedback sharing also comes with being anonymous. So, the organization must employ a tool that allows the employees or any person in that sense to give their feedback anonymously. This encourages honesty in feedback.
- The leaders must consider criticism from their employees as a boon because those are inputs that will help them in becoming better leaders. And, the employees must consider the negative feedback as an opportunity to improve themselves and work towards their development.
So, whatever feedback it is the culture must teach their people to accept it positively and help bridge the gap between the leaders and the employees.