Giving feedback – 5 points to make it an integrated part of work

Giving feedback is a frequently discussed topic in workplaces. At its best, feedback gives you energy, encourages learning and self-development, and gives meaning to your work. However, in many workplaces, feedback is an underutilized resource.

1.    Giving feedback could resolve many problems

Feedback is a key component of competence development. Competence leadership and development are central themes within many organizations’ HR practices today. Based on my experience, most HR professionals see feedback as one of the areas that need most improvement – especially when it comes to establishing and organizing continuous practices for giving feedback to employees.

Research conducted by PwC suggests similar results. According to their recent findings, 75% of employees find giving feedback important. 45% would also appreciate feedback from their peers and clients, not just their leader. Despite this, only 30% of employees receive regular feedback.

Many organizational challenges could be resolved with systematic feedback. Here are two examples:

1.    Why is it so difficult to give feedback?

Giving feedback, like many other things, is difficult without having enough experience. This is especially the case if this is not integrated into the company culture and there are no established practices to support it.

Feedback can be given in many ways. It might be a spontaneous ‘thank you’ for great work or a recurring feedback meeting a few times a year to discuss more specific and in-depth feedback.

When organizations want to have feedback as a part of their day-to-day routines, it is important to create a framework that makes giving feedback more systematic.

3.    Making feedback an integral part of your company culture and practices

When it comes to feedback, one frequent question is whether volume or quality is more important. With feedback, like with many other things, quality improves with experience. Feedback should not be an element that is only given spontaneously or only during annual feedback discussions. As a leader, you should allow sufficient time for giving feedback with reoccurring events when that allows you to concentrate on this topic with your team member. When feedback is given systematically a few times per year, this creates also a routine for more spontaneous feedback.

4.    Who should give feedback?

One could have the assumption that giving feedback is only the leader’s responsibility. However, in many organizations, colleagues, clients, or subordinates might be better equipped to give feedback. In this model, it is the leaders, or whoever is coaching the employee, task to discuss the feedback with the team member. When feedback is given systematically this process includes multiple roles:

  • A person who creates the prerequisites for a feedback process and monitors progression at an organization level
  • A team member, who asks for feedback
  • A colleague, client, or subordinate, who gives feedback
  • A leader or coach who discusses given feedback with the team member

5.    Making feedback a part of the employee journey

According to Josh Bersin, employee experience is the sum of the interactions that an employee has with their employer. Receiving feedback and the related discussion is a perfect example of this.

Feedback should be an important element in the employee journey. For example, this can be accomplished by:

  • Creating a one-on-one process where feedback is a central part of the discussion and when preparing for it.
  • Creating a broader feedback discussion process, where the employee themselves can ask for feedback from colleagues or clients, and where this feedback is discussed with their leader.

Many companies have continuous improvement in their DNA. Continuous feedback enables continuous learning and plays an important role when developing the employee experience. This is why feedback should be an integrated part of the employee journey.

Humbol aims to resolve one of the most difficult elements in leadership: a) the fact that employees get too little feedback and b) the fact that they do not get enough meaningful conversations in the workplace. If you would like to discuss how we could help you build a systematic feedback process, please get in touch.