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When most people hear about feedback, you can notice a slight horror on their faces.
Indeed, in our culture feedback is often related to something bad and dreadful. It can be a performance review at work or complaints from your friends.
When we were a small team of 7 people, we shared thoughts without any issues. When we grew to 30 team members we conducted an internal survey. The results showed that only 40% of the team received actionable feedback. The system didn’t work.
“Bad news travels fast, good news travels slowly” — said Ben Horowitz about the good company culture.
Feedback helps the team grow and prevents from falling into decline.
Jim Collins identified “Denial of risks” as one of the stages of decline. He mentioned that in bankrupt businesses a lot of team members knew about the issues. But limited communication prevented them from solving problems before the company collapsed.
Recently I discovered Andy Stanley’s 6-step guide on how to create a culture within the organization. Appeared that we implemented the feedback sharing culture very similar to his concept. Below I’ll share the steps we took to put it in place.
6 Steps to create the feedback giving culture:
1. Name it.
It’s an easy but important step. The desired outcome is clear. We want to encourage the feedback sharing in our organization.
2. Brand it.
Now we need to make it memorable. Few people want to share feedback. But the teamwork is one of our core values and we want to help each other. That’s what we emphasized on — Help each other grow by sharing honest and constructive feedback. Now it’s clear. It has the purpose. It’s emotional.
3. Wear it.
A leader cannot demand from the team the behavior he doesn’t embrace. Before encouraging our team to share the feedback, we showed an example. We shared the feedback before the salary review, during the one-on-one meeting. Expressed love and feedback whenever we saw an opportunity.
But that was not enough. We needed to encourage peer-to-peer feedback sharing.
4. Teach it.
Our Talent Development Manager (aka HR) conducted a training and taught the team how to give feedback. The feedback should be concrete, prepared in advance and time-related. You should share it with best intentions and mention positive moments first. The feedback sharing should be a dialog, not a monolog. Read more details how to give feedback in this article.
5. Institutionalize it.
Here are a few practices how we adopted it.
- Feedback sharing Fridays. The last Friday of each month is the Feedback sharing day. Every team member should exchange feedback with at least 3 co-workers. That doesn’t take much time. And team members do share it often. It’s also ok if the actual feedback exchange happens during the next week.
It doesn’t mean that we share feedback only once a month. But it’s a good checkpoint not to forget to share feedback if you haven’t done it before.
- Salary review. Our team members have self-defined salaries. When the team member requests the salary review, we collect comprehensive feedback from his co-workers. The survey consists of 15 open-ended questions that test both soft and hard skills. We share the results with the candidate. Based on the results we create the improvement plan.
- One-on-ones. Every 4 months founders meet core team member. Team leads meet with their teams. 90% of the time the team members speak, sharing the feedback on what it is like working in our organization.
If you think it’s not worth the time, I recommend to try it. You’d like the results. In our case, at least 5 times we discovered and later fixed important issues during the one-on-ones.
- Collect feedback regularly. We conduct team NPS surveys regularly and analyze the results. Also, we use the tool Officevibe that simplifies feedback collection in the team.
We encourage giving feedback on the spot as soon as you notice it. The feedback given on time has the most valuable outcome!
6. Recognize it.
What gets rewarded gets repeated.
To support the culture of the feedback, you need to reward and recognize it. It’s important to follow up after the feedback, help with the improvement plans. The way team members work on feedback impacts their next salary review.
We express gratefulness.
During weekly summaries, we recognize constructive feedback.
Usually, it’s enough to say “Thank you!” and show the results of improvements in a few weeks.
We’re glad that the team understands the importance of the feedback sharing.
One of our team members Anton once told a touching story. The feedback inside the team helped him improve his personal relationships. That’s amazing, as the happier our team members are in life, the better results they show at work.
Without proper feedback, the problem may creep in and destroy your organization. Regular feedback is like an antidote, that kills problems. And helps the organization move forward and strive.
It requires 3 things: conscious effort, some knowledge, and the discipline.
Help your teammates grow — let them know how you think they are doing.
They’ll appreciate it.
Many thanks to Masha for teaching us how to share the feedback.
And many thanks to the Uptech for being such a great team and helping each other grow!