Employee Feedback: 3 Things You Should Be Doing & Why
We are all familiar with feedback. We receive it in a variety of ways every day. Feedback is just as important at work as it is outside the office, though we may not even realize it. From reading reviews to receiving tips from friends, feedback helps us navigate life.
As a leader, you provide feedback to your employees on a regular basis, whether you know that you’re doing it or not. What leaders often forget is that employee feedback should be a two-way street; in other words, employees should have the opportunity to give you feedback about their experience within the company and their team. This can help foster an environment of trust and compassion so that everyone feels valued as part of the team.
Here are 3 things leaders should know about employee feedback
1. Giving feedback to employees
Most leaders understand that providing employee feedback is key to retaining talent and keeping employees engaged. The first step is understanding why employee feedback matters and how it affects people in the workplace. Then, you can develop top-notch skills for giving effective feedback and create a positive environment where your team receives constructive criticism in a way that improves performance and enhances job satisfaction.
Here are 3 good reasons on why you should give effective feedback to your employees
- Feedback improves employee engagement
Feedback is an important part of any work environment. It not only increases transparency but also helps your organization foster a positive culture that encourages growth and improvement.
For employees, ongoing feedback allows them to align their personal goals with those of the organization. It also ensures everyone understands what's expected of them and how they can improve on their performance. This can help employees feel more valued and appreciated by company leaders, which is a key factor in employee retention.
- Feedback helps employees in understanding their progress
When employees are struggling on the job, constant feedback from you can help them adjust to change, get back up and running, and improve performance. Constant feedback also helps foster a healthy relationship between you and your manager. If an employee comes to you with performance issues or complains that they feel out of the loop, consider this a red flag that they are asking for more communication.
- Feedback can help identify training needs
Any employee who has ever been in a job knows that sometimes, it's easy to feel like they are just spinning your wheels day after day. Feedback helps employees learn, grow and improve their performance and upskill themselves.
Regular feedback to your employees helps in identifying the training needs so you can be proactive about offering those resources before underperformance begins to affect business results or other team members.
What happens when employees don't receive regular feedback?
Without regular feedback, employees are more likely to feel that they have little voice in the organization. As a result, they may become disengaged, and disengagement is a major predictor of whether someone will leave their job. While it's impossible to control every employee's decision to stay or go, providing regular feedback is one way to help keep them engaged.
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2. Receiving feedback from employees
The two-way nature of feedback is something that many managers struggle with. We know feedback is important, but we don't always think to ask for it and give it as well. There are several good reasons to make sure you're getting employee feedback regularly:
- You'll know what your employees want. Employees often want to feel heard and valued in the workplace, but they may be scared to speak up or they may not realize they have a voice. If you aren't asking for their opinion, how can you expect them to give it?
- You'll be seen as approachable and relatable. Whether an employee loves you or hates you, being willing to listen will make them feel more comfortable coming to you with concerns and questions in the future. Even if the change isn't made, knowing that their managers will listen when they give feedback is important for improving employee morale.
- You'll understand where there's room for growth and improvement within your team. An honest look at yourself from your employees' perspective can show areas for improvement that might otherwise go unnoticed by management--or unvoiced by employees who don't feel comfortable speaking up about ways their manager could improve their leadership skills.
What happens when managers don’t receive feedback from employees?
You can’t know what your employees think about their jobs or the company without asking.
You might think you know, but there's no way for you to be sure. As the leader of a team, it's imperative to get employee feedback; ignoring it would be a huge mistake. You need to know how employees feel about their jobs and their work environment because this information is vital for the health of your company.
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3. Promoting peer-to-peer feedback
Peer-to-peer feedback is important in team-oriented businesses. It allows employees to learn from each other and develop a more cohesive working environment.
Here’s why it’s important.
- With the right tools, employees can give constructive feedback to their peers, leading to greater personal growth and career advancement.
- Employees who are comfortable giving and receiving peer feedback find it easier to ask for help when performing difficult tasks, which leads to stronger relationships across the company.
- Feedback also allows you to learn about new skills that your coworkers may have—which could be useful down the line when a vendor or client asks for something your team doesn't know how to do yet.
What happens without peer-to-peer feedback?
This can be a real problem when people work in silos and don't have regular daily contact with their team. Often there are no clear expectations of how performance is measured or what success looks like. Communication suffers and people tend to focus on their own tasks rather than looking at the bigger picture. Due to lack of healthy peer-peer feedback, employees don't share their knowledge with each other and stop sharing their ideas. This leads to a lack of transparency, as well as missed opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
The best leaders know they can't do it all. They're constantly seeking input from their people, from performance reviews to formal and informal surveys. People should be engaged in the innovation process and open to feedback — and if not, that's a problem for the manager.
If an organization is going to be successful in the long run, its leaders must be able to tap into and accurately analyze employee feedback. Otherwise, there's a very real chance of losing valuable insight along the way. What matters is how far your leadership can go in getting those insights and supporting the end goals of your organization together as a team.
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