Much like a post New Year’s fitness plan, you may start the feedback process with lots of activity during the initial months. After the initial energy, you may experience a drop in feedback. Alternatively, through the data you receive, you may notice that one department in particular has been slower to exchange feedback. Here are four steps you can take to prevent feedback from going stagnant:
Find out just how big the decline is. Is there a general downturn in feedback interactions or is it isolated to one department or team? Then ask why? Are they already used to giving feedback on their own? Or is there an underlying barrier preventing them from exchanging feedback? Looking into the data you receive can give you some clues. Maybe you have very few people giving upward feedback or maybe someone gave overly negative feedback and made others less inclined towards the process. Once you find out what’s preventing the feedback flow, offer tailored training sessions. For example, provide extra training to leaders on how to accept upward feedback well or to everyone on the appropriate language to use when giving feedback.
2. Switch it up
If there’s no problem with the way people are giving feedback, use the new feedback culture to high power your company. Departments often become silos of information with little communication and interaction between them. As a result, many companies today are forming cross-functional teams made up of members with different skill sets to boost creativity and knowledge sharing. Now that everyone has the hang of giving and receiving feedback, put these new teams to the test. You don’t need expertise in each field to contribute, just an ability to share and consider the opinions of others - a skill greatly sought after. Meanwhile, the HR department can use the performance data they receive to select the right members for each team.
Encourage your managers to try doing some feedback exercises with their teams to increase trust and openness. Simulating hypothetical scenarios will help your team to think about how they would address various situations with feedback beforehand. This will help employees keep their cool when giving or receiving constructive feedback. For example, Hyper Island has a number of innovative exercises they devised to get people motivated to start giving more feedback.
4. Create a routine
Get employees into the habit of giving feedback to each other after each project is completed. Being able to receive immediate feedback on a presentation or sales pitch will motivate them to ask for and share more.
This article is part of a guide for HR about how to create a feedback culture.
HR Manager Handbook: Consolidating your feedback culture
Make the change stick
Photo by Luis Llerena