Building Continuous Feedback Culture

A Complete Guide

Introduction

An organization's continuous feedback culture plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of its purpose, vision, and mission. A constant feedback culture encourages team members to provide continuous and honest feedback regularly, resulting in better collaboration and productivity. For any feedback system to be effective, it should be both specific and actionable.

Continuous delivery without continuous feedback is very, very dangerous.
- Colin Humphreys

Employees can feel that they are being listened to, valued by their employers, and encouraged to do well. Constant encouragement and dialogue around objectives, performance, initiatives and blockers are necessary as such conversations let employees know their input has value and promote employee engagement through shared participation, which further impacts an organization from a workforce morale standpoint and operational execution.

Why Feedback is Important?

  • Feedback aids in better decision making; 60% of the employees feel something is holding them back from their work. Imagine how these employees can make decisions in the absence of continuous feedback.
  • Feedback helps employees perform, better; 72% employees said, in a survey, their performance would improve if managers gave timely and constructive feedback.
  • Leaders thrive on feedback; Research indicates that leaders who give continuous and constructive feedback are 5 times more effective.
  • What is feedback culture?

    A continuous feedback culture is an environment where employees know they can share their thoughts and opinions with leaders without fear of judgement or retaliation. It also means that the person in a leadership role will seek to provide continuous constructive feedback to employees for improving their performance and maximizing potential.

    The best continuous feedback process happens organically in a culture of trust and respect where people feel comfortable challenging each other during conversations. Once leaders create a positive environment where feedback feels natural, employees will start giving constructive criticism more frequently.

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    Impact of continuous feedback on culture

    The continuous feedback culture encourages team members to provide honest feedback regularly, resulting in better collaboration and productivity. With an explicit focus on regular performance management, leaders can closely monitor the performance of their teams. It can happen collectively and individually, which can have tremendous implications for satisfaction among employees.
    Organizations need to gauge what aspects of their continuous feedback culture employees value the most. Such understanding will help organizations determine ways to improve it. Employees will have a sense of ownership and involvement in developing the feedback culture, thus promoting individual engagement. In turn, such individual engagement has a positive influence on productivity.

    5 Benefits of creating a continuous feedback culture

    #1

    Leads to better goal management through continuous measurement.

    Goal management is a continuous process. Continuous attention ensures managers are aware of progress and and such attention also provides concrete opportunities for growth throughout the year. With continuous feedback, employees also find themselves spending less time fixing issues as it provides early signs of issues.

    #2

    Promotes employee engagement

    Employees want continuous feedback and expect leaders to create an open and respectful environment. They feel engaged when they know that their voices have value and feedback is not just a one-off show but rather an ongoing conversation between the employee and leader focused on continuous improvement.

    By providing continuous constructive criticism and having regular check-ins with employees, managers can build closer relationships with team members. As a result, these employees will feel to share ideas for improvement. It will result in increased innovation, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

    #3

    Improves Collaboration

    Improved collaboration is a result of continuous feedback and improvement. Through regular feedback, employees learn what their teammates do best. They also understand ways to work together more productively as a team. When leaders give continuous feedback to their employees, it helps them develop trust in one another.

    #4

    Promotes employee recognition

    People want to work for a company that offers continuous feedback. Continuous feedback culture lets employees know how their work is seen, valued, and acknowledged by management. Regular feedback leads to trust between colleagues and superiors because each party can provide direct input on performance.

    Further, continuous feedback culture promotes continuous learning instead of waiting for annual reviews or even worse, never getting any feedback, which could lead to under performance in some areas. The continuous feedback culture promotes learning and development amongst employees.

    #5

    Leads to development of employees

    In the modern business world, continuous feedback culture is a powerful tool to help employees grow and perpetuate continuous improvements in both job performance and organizational cultures. It is a process of soliciting feedback from employees at each level about one's performance and giving them appropriate responses while improving constantly.

    For example, employees may get continuous feedback about their strengths and growth areas periodically. It will automatically boost their motivation as they aspire to become better employees every day. Thus, continuous improvement through regular feedback offers an ideal environment for individual engagement.

    4 Steps to create a continuous feedback culture

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    Launch a feedback framework

    Introduce what continuous feedback is and why it is essential in the workplace. You can have a pulse survey for your new hires within the first three months of their joining. Ask your employees if they faced any challenges during onboarding.

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    Share feedback through multiple ways

    Create multiple touch points for employees to give or receive feedback. For example, employees can feedback to peers, managers can give feedback for check-ins and 1:1 meetings, employees can seek feedback on OKRs from peers, team members an give feedback to managers, employees can request for behavioural feedback from peers, other colleagues and manager.

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    Leaders should lead by an example

    Leaders need to lead by example meaning the employees will take them seriously and emulate them, which increases the chances of success. If leaders are not leading by example, there could be a disconnect as everyone would see things differently.

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    Linking feedback with employee recognition

    Ensure employees feel valued by recognizing their efforts. Let them feel appreciated for what they have done. It is just a matter of acknowledging that you noticed their hard work and how it made a difference in your organization.Linking employee recognition to feedback demonstrates that you are willing to listen to their concerns and comments.

    Performance feedback and millennials

    Collaborative continuous feedback culture brings about more effective employee performance through positive reinforcement, thus resulting in improved work quality and productivity over time

    Yes, collaborative continuous feedback culture does resonate with millennials because millennials are often vocal about wanting developmental opportunities. They need to continue building their skill sets. Feedback helps millennials feel that their voice is being heard by leadership, resulting in higher organizational loyalty.

    Furthermore, continuous feedback also helps them grow personally and professionally by developing an opportunity for growth while learning from their supervisors.

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    8 Tips for building a feedback culture

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    Promote mindset of growth

    Feedback helps employees and managers by fostering a growth mindset and relationship. Encourage everyone in your organization to perform at their best through continuous development, giving, receiving and providing constructive criticism without fear of repercussion

    Use the continuous development process as a two-way tool that helps managers coach employees, provide feedback on their performance, and offer regular coaching throughout the year with surveys that indicate what areas they need improvement.

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    Communicate mission and goals clearly

    You should communicate the mission and goals clearly and regularly and invite continuous feedback to ensure continuous improvement. Make clear that this is a priority starting now, not just something to think about in the future

    When things are going well, spend as much time reviewing problems you could have prevented with continuous feedback. If people see improvement across work, they will be more likely to see feedback as necessary.

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    Explain the purpose of the process to employees

    At the heart of continuous feedback is a sense of ownership, where employees feel that they have a say in how the company runs. Employees are the best source of continuous feedback as they closest to day-day operations. They are on the frontline, and their work directly affects the quality of service delivered to customers.

    The direct line of communication means employees can provide honest feedback to help improve operational efficiency and ultimately increase profits for the company

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    Have necessary tools to provide feedback

    You can develop a continuous feedback culture by ensuring there are sufficient tools available to enable regular feedback. It will include both internal and external processes, which should promote feedback at all levels throughout the organization. The list provides several examples for continuous feedback tools:

  • Conduct regular pulse surveys.
  • Have an online platform for every employee to give anonymous suggestions.
  • If a team works together, have peer-to-peer feedback sessions to create an open space where people are comfortable being honest with each other.
  • Encourage continuous feedback from managers, supervisors, and employees.
  • Ask participants to rate the importance of continuous feedback on a scale of 1-10, which can help determine if feedback is a critical organizational value.
  • Have weekly staff huddles where team members to give constructive feedback to each other one at a time.
  • Conduct quarterly or semi-annual 360-degree reviews where everyone receives honest, anonymous feedback about their performance
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    Make employees accountable to feedback

    There are several ways to improve your performance processes, and one way is by giving feedback to employees.

    It will also ensure everyone feels accountable for their actions or inaction. If every employee knows how these conversations with managers matter, there will no longer be any need for its importance.

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    Offer feedback training

    You can do it by letting employees have meetings at regular intervals. These meetings will help them find out what they are doing great and where they might need some improvement. It also helps them understand the expectations from their work.

    Everyone will be on the same page and work towards a common goal or vision of the company.

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    Create a safe environment around feedback

    A continuous feedback culture is an environment where employees know they can share their thoughts and opinions with leaders without fear of judgement or retaliation.

    It also means that the people in leadership roles seek continuous constructive feedback to improve performance and maximize potential.

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    Make feedback a routine affair

    Continuous feedback seems simple in implementation, it is not always easy. To set up a continuous feedback culture in your organization, leaders need to recognize the importance of this type of feedback from their employees and take steps towards setting up an effective system.

    Employees with an open dialogue will feel more engaged in their work. It is because they can voice concerns about their job or company without fear of repercussion. Employees also tend to appreciate the openness and authenticity of this type of relationship.

    52 Inspirational feedback quotes

    Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man growth without destroying his roots. - Frank A. Clark

    Feedback is the breakfast of champions. - Ken Blanchard

    Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas. - Jim Trinka and Les Wallace

    Make feedback normal. Not a performance review. - Ed Batista

    True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes. - Daniel Kahneman

    I think it is very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you have done and how you could be doing it better. - Elon Musk

    Examine what is said and not who speaks. - African proverb

    All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual. - Albert Einstein

    Improvement begins with I. - Arnold H. Glasow

    To become more effective and fulfilled at work, people need a keen understanding of their impact on others and the extent to which they are achieving their goals in their working relationships. Direct feed ack is the most efficient way for them to gather this information and learn from it. - Ed Batista

    We cannot just sit back and wait for feedback to be offered, particularly when we are in a leadership role. If we want feedback to take root in the culture, we need to explicitly ask for it. - Ed Batista

    That is what makes Linux so good: you put in something, and that effort multiplies. It is a positive feedback cycle. - Linus Torvalds

    There is no failure. Only feedback. - Robert Allen

    The most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better - because your job is to try to help everybody else get better. - Jim Yong Kim

    The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw

    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    Average players want to be left alone. Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth. - Doc Rivers

    You cannot achieve excellence in life if you fear opinion. - Janna Cachola

    The only thing worse than not requesting feedback is not acting on it. - Frank Sonnenberg

    Feedback turns good into better and better into best. ―Frank Sonnenberg

    Feedback is a listening system― John Doerr

    The most critical aspect of feedbacks is how you interpret them. ― Bernard Kelvin Clive

    Do not use proxies when you give tough feedbacks. Be direct! - Assegid Habtewold

    With real feedback, effective adjustments are possible. ― Chris Hutchinson

    Give feedforward not feedback. ― Chris Dyer

    Positive or negative it is all feedback. ― Oscar Auliq-Ice

    The best way to look back is to get feedback― Bernard Kelvin Clive

    Feedback is the bridge to effectively connect lesson-learned from the past to the future performance and potential. ― Pearl Zhu

    Feedback does not tell you about yourself. It tells you about the person giving the feedback. When we look at praise and criticism as information about the people giving it, we tend to get curious about the feedback, rather than dejected or defensive. ― Tara Mohr

    The people who care about you may not tell you your blind spots fearing to offend/hurt you. Open up and ask their feedback and get enlightened. - Assegid Habtewold

    Successful people use failures to sharpen their intuition by acknowledging mistakes for what they truly are - feedback. ― Gordana Biernat

    If excellence is one of your values, not only you self-critic and evaluate your performance consistently, you BEG others for honest feedback.―Assegid Habtewold

    If you reject feedback, you also reject the choice of acting in a way that may bring you abundant success. ― John Mattone

    True feedback should be given to empower someone perform better. ―Assegid Habtewold

    If you do not get feedback for your performance, you are going to be working in a vacuum - Peter Maxwell Davie

    I think it is very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you have done and how you could be doing it better. I think that is the single best piece of advice, constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself - Elon Musk

    Leaders cannot work in a vacuum. They may take on larger, seemingly more important roles in an organization, but this does not exclude them from asking for and using feedback. In fact, a leader arguably needs feedback more so than anyone else. It is what helps a leader respond appropriately to events in pursuit of successful outcomes. - Jack Canfield

    Actively seek out and listen carefully to negative feedback - Elon Musk

    Continuous delivery without continuous feedback is very, very dangerous - Colin Humphreys

    I think you should always be seeking negative feedback - Elon Musk

    The best feedback is what we do not want to hear. - George Raveling

    People will not give you feedback until they think you want it. - Sheila Heen

    One of the most powerful forms of information is feedback on our own actions. - John P. Kotter

    The key to learning is feedback. It is nearly impossible to learn anything without it. Steven Levitt

    The concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

    It is always nice to get good feedback, and a bit of encouragement can go a long way. - Andy Murray

    Get a feedback loop and listen to it... When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it. - Randy Pausch

    There must be a willingness to constantly accept critical feedback and rapidly iterate to make things better. - Sam Yagan

    Success has to do with deliberate practice. Practice must be focused, determined, and in an environment where there is feedback - Malcolm Gladwell

    If you are smart, you often want a feedback loop, so you know if what you have done is right. - Bill Gates

    It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it and appropriately act on it. - Steven Covey

    In the absence of feedback, people will fill in the blanks with a negative. They will assume you do not care about them or do not like them - Pat Summitt

    Conclusion

    We all know that giving and receiving feedback seems like an obvious skill for any good leader, manager, or individual contributor to have. But what you may not know is how central continuous feedback is to an organization's overall health and success.

    According to research by Gallup, continuous feedback was one of the main factors that lead to employee engagement. Numerous studies show regular feedback leads to better long term performance, increased productivity, fewer errors, fewer accidents, and less turnover. Employees who participate in continuous improvement tend to work harder than those who do not because they believe in themselves and their company more.

    Employees want their actions to matter, which means they need the opportunity for continuous feedback. They can improve where necessary. Employees with regular feedback will remain involved and engaged with their work, which leads to a better company culture overall. One of the main benefits of continuous feedback is increased engagement and ownership among employees.

    Continuous feedback culture creates an environment where everyone has input on improving the organization and ultimately themselves. Employees will feel like they have an essential role in developing the company, thus promoting individual engagement. It positively influences productivity and quality of work, which benefits themselves and the organization.

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