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Sharing Employee Feedback: A Key Tool for Improving Organizational Culture

July 12, 2023 | | Employee Experience

One of the most effective ways to drive growth and success is through a strong employee feedback program. Organizations that prioritize employee feedback and make it an integral part of their decision-making process have a significant competitive advantage. They are better equipped to navigate complex transitions, reduce turnover, and improve communication. Furthermore, research shows that companies that listen to their employees' feedback often see financial benefits. Let's dive in and see how a company can benefit from a feedback-driven approach.


Creating A Feedback Program

According to research, companies that prioritize employee engagement are more likely to implement feedback initiatives such as formal recognition programs, annual employee surveys, and one-on-one meetings. This approach has been proven effective in improving retention rates and increasing productivity, as demonstrated by several studies on employee recognition.


Here’s a closer look at the benefits of feedback initiatives and how they can drive engagement and performance in an organization.

Importance of Sharing Employee Feedback

Creating a culture of feedback within an organization goes beyond just gathering employee feedback; it also requires sharing that feedback with the appropriate parties. When feedback is shared openly and transparently, it fosters a sense of trust and collaboration between employees and management.

Sharing feedback enables managers and leaders to understand their employees' experiences and perspectives better. It allows them to identify areas for improvement and take proactive steps to address them. Additionally, sharing feedback can help managers and employees establish a stronger working relationship built on mutual respect and understanding.

Challenges of Sharing Employee Feedback

Despite the benefits, sharing employee feedback can be challenging. Here are some common challenges that managers and leaders face when sharing employee feedback:

  • Fear of negative responses: Many managers worry that sharing employee feedback will result in negative responses. They are afraid of criticism, and this fear can prevent them from initiating the conversation.
  • Poor timing and delivery: Sharing feedback at the wrong time or inappropriately can make employees feel undervalued or attacked. Feedback delivered without empathy and understanding can lead to a breakdown in communication.
  • Lack of action and follow-through: Managers and leaders who don't follow through on employee feedback can create mistrust and disillusionment among employees. Employees may feel like their opinions are not valued, leading to disengagement and turnover.

Best Practices for Sharing Employee Feedback

To overcome the challenges of sharing employee feedback, it's essential to follow these best practices:

Set the Stage

Integrating a culture that embraces feedback into the hiring process can be a game-changer for an organization. When selecting new hires, assessing whether they have a growth mindset and are open to constructive criticism is essential. By asking questions such as, "How do you handle feedback?" or "Can you give an example of a time you received feedback and how you applied it?", insight is gained into their attitude toward feedback and whether they are willing to learn and grow.

Additionally, look for self-motivated candidates who actively seek personal and professional development opportunities. These individuals are more likely to embrace feedback and use it to improve their performance.

When evaluating a candidate's response to failure, consider how they frame their experiences. Do they view failures as opportunities for growth and learning? Or do they become defensive or disengaged? A candidate who can discuss how they have learned from past mistakes and apply those lessons moving forward may better fit an organization's feedback culture.

Creating a Safe Space for Honest Feedback

Psychological safety is crucial in creating an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing feedback. It refers to the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Research has shown that psychologically safe teams have a 27 percent reduction in turnover and 76 percent more engagement.

To establish psychological safety within a culture of feedback, managers should create an environment where employees feel safe and supported in sharing their thoughts and feelings. This can be achieved through building a culture of trust, active listening, and open communication.

Managers can start by actively listening to their employees and showing a genuine interest in their perspectives. This means allowing employees to voice their opinions, ask open-ended questions, and seek clarification when needed. Managers should also be willing to admit their mistakes and model vulnerability, showing that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them.

Timing and Delivery

Managers should choose the right time and place to deliver feedback. They should also use the appropriate tone and language to ensure the message is received positively.

In addition to choosing the right time and place and using appropriate tone and language, managers should ensure they have prepared well for delivering feedback. They should clearly understand the purpose of the input, the specific behaviors or actions they want to address, and the desired outcome of the conversation.

Managers need to be specific and factual in their feedback instead of making generalizations or assumptions. They should also provide examples to illustrate their points and avoid making personal attacks or criticisms.

Transparency and Actionable Steps

Transparency is vital when it comes to feedback. Managers should be transparent about the feedback they receive from employees, colleagues, and other stakeholders. They should communicate what feedback they received, how they plan to address it, and what outcomes they hope to achieve. This transparency can build trust and demonstrate that the manager is committed to continuous improvement.

It's also essential for managers to take actionable steps to address feedback. Feedback is only valuable if it leads to action and improvement. Managers should identify specific actions they can take to address the feedback they receive and create a plan to implement these actions. They should also establish metrics and goals to measure progress and ensure that their efforts are making a difference.

Addressing Both Positive and Negative Feedback

Acknowledging and appreciating positive feedback is just as crucial as addressing negative feedback. When managers recognize positive feedback, they can reinforce desirable behavior and motivate employees to continue performing well. This recognition can take many forms, such as verbal praise, written commendations, or public acknowledgment.

On the other hand, addressing negative feedback is crucial to helping employees improve their performance. Managers should focus on the behavior or performance issue at hand and not make it personal. They should explain the impact of the behavior on the team, company, or project and offer constructive suggestions for improvement. It's essential to deliver negative feedback in a supportive manner that shows the manager is invested in the employee's growth and success.


Tools for Sharing Employee Feedback

One-on-One Meetings

Regular one-on-one meetings allow managers to discuss feedback with employees and establish a strong working relationship.

Employee Feedback Platforms

Online platforms such as survey tools, chatbots, and pulse surveys provide an anonymous and convenient way for employees to share their feedback.

Focus Groups and Surveys

Companies can use focus groups and surveys to gather in-depth feedback on specific issues or topics.

360-Degree Feedback

This tool gathers feedback from multiple sources—including managers, peers, subordinates, and customers—to provide a holistic view of an employee's performance.


Learn How to Lift Employee Experience and Edge Out the Competition

Building a thriving employee culture is essential if organizations want to pull ahead of competitors and hit company goals. And there are more ways to improve employee experience, lift customer experiences, and spark organization-wide growth. 

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