Picture this: you’ve been working hard on a new recruitment strategy. You’ve burned through a number of hours designing a social media campaign, sourcing the right candidates and editing job profiles until you feel proud of the finished product. It goes live, performs well, but you receive no feedback.
How does it feel? As if you’d focused your efforts on this strategy, only to find it wouldn’t have made any difference if you hadn’t gone that extra mile…
Lack of feedback, both positive and constructive, poses a real challenge for companies. Too often, employees fail to be recognized or don’t know where they stand with their manager or their team members. However, people are in desperate need of recognition for their hard work. However, recognition doesn’t have to be costly, OfficeVibe found that:
You can easily get started on increasing recognition, simply by encouraging colleagues to share feedback with one another on a regular basis. If you have a performance management system that supports real-time feedback, this can be as easy as sending someone praise for a job well done.
The benefits of positive feedback
Researchers have found that when we receive positive feedback, dopamine is released into the brain, causing the feeling of happiness we get when someone recognizes how much time we put into perfecting that marketing campaign.
However, this is a temporary reaction. As a result, we’re motivated to continue working hard to receive that reward (feeling great about our work) again. This is how positive feedback motivates people to go that extra mile.
Testifying to the power of praise, a survey of US based employees commissioned by OGO found that: “40% would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often”.
In fact, it’s not only feedback from managers that can have an impact. A study by Globoforce and SHRM showed that: “Peer-to-peer is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition”
How to turn employee feedback into a habit
With pressing deadlines and countless meetings, it can sometimes be difficult to make giving each other praise a priority. The trick is to turn it into a habit. Behavioral psychologists assert that there are three steps you can take to hardwire a new habit into your daily life: create a routine; set a reminder; include a reward. In order to do so, follow these five simple steps:
1. Make giving feedback as easy as possible
Stanford Professor BJ Fogg explains that the key to successfully changing your behaviors is to start with a ‘tiny habit’. Rather than introducing a big change, start with something small that’s easy to accomplish. After getting used to integrating small habits into their workflow, people will naturally start challenging themselves to do more.
For example at Impraise, we realized that enabling our people to share praise on Slack would be an easy way to integrate the habit into everyone’s natural workflow. People can simply send positive feedback by typing: /praise @(recipient’s slack name)
2. Get people to share praise in real-time
Positive feedback has a significantly higher impact when it’s given just after reaching a milestone or achievement. If people are waiting for the next performance review to recognize each other’s success, it will seem more like an afterthought. Celebrating achievements in the moment is the best way to show appreciation.
When an employee or teammate achieves a goal, does a great job on a presentation, or handles a tough situation, that’s a cue to send them praise. If you have a performance management system in place even better! You can do so on the go using your app.
3. Make sure the feedback is actionable
One common mistake people make with praise, is to simply say “Good job!” or “Excellent work!”. However this makes it very difficult for the recipient to know exactly what they did that was appreciated, or which particular part of their work was well-done.
To make praise truly meaningful, we follow this formula:
Describe the situation to give context
Explain the behaviour exhibited that warranted the praise
Talk about the impact their good work had
If relevant, include some next steps they can act upon
4. Reward the behavior
The great thing about positive feedback is that it’s rewarding in itself, making us feel great about our work. What we found is that praise is actually contagious: when your teammate recognizes your work it not only makes you feel great, it also makes you want to share that great feeling.
At Impraise, to make the ‘reward’ portion even more effective, we created a Slack channel for our “praise”, where everyone can see when someone is praised - including remote and international teammates.
We noticed that the more people received praise notifications on Slack, the more likely they were to share praise with others, which helped us increase positive feedback throughout the company.
5. Keep track of your praise
Often the star team members are the ones who go the extra mile to help a colleague or stay until the last detail is perfect, even when their manager is not around. To make sure those moments don't go unnoticed, we made sure that all praise is recorded in Impraise so people can go back and refer to it later or share it with their manager during their next check-in.
Remember: recognition doesn’t have to be costly, it can be as simple as giving someone positive feedback. Follow the five steps we outlined above to help people get into the habit of sharing feedback with one another for a job well done, and slowly strengthen your culture of feedback.
Want to dig deeper into the topic? Download our WhitePaper: “The Benefits of Real-Time Feedback”.