We believe in the power of healthy interpersonal feedback in the workplace. That’s what MeetingPulse is all about. Employees need to have a well-rounded understanding of their impact on others and their organization in order to feel truly productive and fulfilled at work. Direct employee feedback, either via technology or in person, is the most effective way for team members to access this information.
Types of Workplace Feedback
There are various types of employee feedback, especially given recent technological solutions that provide live interactive options. Each solution comes along with certain advantages and disadvantages. Traditional one-on-one conversation can result in the illusion that feedback is about that particular relationship dynamic, when in truth it is a reflection of the larger social and cultural structures in place. Individuals who aren’t fans of one-on-one feedback may, on the other hand, feel more comfortable participating in group feedback activities. Apps and audience response systems work great in group settings, as they allow everyone to provide feedback at the same time during meetings or events. But even if employees want a feedback friendly culture, they can’t create a feedback-rich workplace alone.
Leaders must set an example by providing an array opportunities for employee feedback so that every participant has a chance to contribute in a way that works well for them. Even if an employee truly wants to provide constructive honest feedback, they will eventually give up if their organization doesn’t support a type of communication that works for them.
The 4 Pillars of a Feedback-Rich Workplace
- Safety and trust
- Personal Accountability
1. Safety and Trust
In order for participants to both give and remain open to receiving candid feedback, a sense of safety and trust must exist. This means that organizational leaders must be highly attuned to people’s unique needs, abilities, and their emotional experiences. Healthy workplace communication requires a willingness to observe and listen.
Safety and trust can be created in a few ways. Firstly, it helps when co-workers get to know each other as individuals. Perhaps they ask about each others’ families or recent vacation. Secondly, talking about emotions allows team members to air out challenging feelings. A feedback-friendly workplace allows employees to talk about the tough stuff when necessary. Thirdly, everyone needs to feel comfortable and free to keep boundaries that feel safe for them. If someone says that they aren’t ready to talk about something, it’s best to discuss their hesitancy or wait until they are in a more receptive frame of mind.
A great feedback culture isn’t primarily based upon criticism – it’s highly dependent upon complements. Strong relationships grow when positive feedback is a regular and accepted part of workplace communication.
Consider offering positive feedback regularly. Refrain from using positive feedback to cushion the blow before delivering criticism. This common technique lessens the impact of positive feedback and decreases trust. It trains team members to distrust complements. Provide feedback around the tiny things that someone is great at – or the positives that their shining personality brings to the group dynamic. Also, help you team members to understand that you see when they are trying their best. Don’t solely praise outcomes – praise all of the hard work that goes into a process.
Create healthy patterns that help your team to recognize new patterns of normalcy. Regularly integrate your efforts to create a feedback-friendly workplace. Over time, healthier and more desirable behaviors will become routine and comfortable. If feedback only happens once a quarter, day-to-day workplace culture will change very little. So don’t wait for a special occasion. Integrate live feedback into group activities so that everyone is included – and so that everyone gets the message that this type of activity is something for everyone. Over time, a more positive workplace culture will evolve.
4. Personal Accountability
If you want to show your employees that feedback is important to you, then walk the talk. If the values on your website or in a speech you give at a big event aren’t in alignment with the way you run your organization, employees will see that and it will decrease trust and dilute those values across your organization. Try your best to test out live feedback methods and see where that leads. Do research regarding the various communication tools and techniques out there – and be willing to fail. Let your employees know that you’re trying to improve your constructive feedback skills. Importantly, be transparent about your goal to create a more feedback-rich workplace. Allow employees to share in that goal. As a leader, it’s important that you actively ask for feedback. Don’t expect your employees to take the lead. Show them that you value their opinions by asking them to share how they feel about their workplace experience.
At MeetingPulse, we believe in humble leadership and creating a healthy workplace culture by design. We provide easy-to-use interactive live feedback tools that support healthy corporate culture for employees and administration alike. If you want to know more about your employees’ thoughts, ideas, and preferences, try out our browser-based audience response system. We provide real-time survey and polling software for any device, so your audience will never need to download an app. Contact us for more information about our audience response system or click on ‘Keep Me Posted’ on our blog page to receive blog updates and our free ebook.