Feedback Cultures: Why are They Important and How to Build a Successful One

Feedback doesn’t always mean positive, but it is one of the most effective ways for us to find out if we are doing something right or wrong. 

Every organisation should have guidelines on how to use feedback effectively, but having a strong feedback culture will give your organisation the edge. 

Three employees talking about feedback cultures. Why they are important and how they can build a successful one

Feedback Culture Definition

A feedback culture is where each employee feels they have the right to give feedback to another employee in the organisation, no matter if they are senior or junior. 

The goal of a feedback culture is to create a safe and trustworthy environment where all employees feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback – it’s all about honesty! Feedback culture also creates an expectation of cross-hierarchical communication, building mutual trust between staff at all levels. 

Why is Having a Feedback Culture Important and How Does it Benefit Organisations? 

If employees feel they won’t be scrutinised for sharing their thoughts about your organisation, management and other employees, they are more likely to feel happy and engaged. 

According to a study on effective cultures, employees who don’t like their organisation’s culture and ways of working are 24% more likely to quit and interview elsewhere. This often made worse when employees feel they don’t have the power to speak up, leading to disengagement in the workplace. A feedback culture has the power to change this.

A strong feedback culture can provide many benefits for an organisation, especially if done effectively. Some benefits include giving employees the chance to have their voice heard, more personal impact on company improvements, increase in employee engagement and retention, and some organisations see financial improvement. 

Designing a successful feedback culture doesn’t happen overnight, it comes with research, tailoring to your employees, organisational goals and effective but functional design. 

To help you start this process, here are four ways to build and implement your own feedback culture with ease…  

Four Ways to Build your Own Successful Feedback Culture

1.      Create a feedback-safe environment

Now, we know everyone doesn’t like to speak their honest opinions, but this is often down to fear of facing negative repercussions. If you remove this possibility, you’ll see more employees open to giving honest feedback. 

Having trusting relationships with your employees plays a big role in a feedback culture too. Being understanding of different levels of giving and receiving feedback and being respectful is the way to go – never force feedback.

Timing is also key to a feedback-safe environment. Use emotional intelligence to understand whether an employee is ready to give or receive feedback, and if you can’t tell, there is no harm in asking.

Learn more about emotional intelligence and how it can help you become a more successful leader.

2.      Highlight decisions made based on feedback given

Whether you’ve given your manager feedback about the coffee in the office kitchen or suggested word changes on an important report, it would be nice to know what actions came from your feedback right?

The value of following up on feedback is highly effective and can change employee’s views on feedback entirely – even if it’s not a decision that can change the organisation entirely. 

Everyone deserves to know if a changed decision was based on their feedback as this will make employees feel understood and heard. 

Our work environments are constantly changing. Follow these four steps to make sure your learning and development strategy is futureproof. 

3.      Make a routine everyone can stick to

Successful feedback cultures are built on creating a habit out of giving valuable feedback across the organisation. If there’s no routine to your feedback, the chances are employees won’t remember to do it unless it’s routinely set in their everyday culture.

This doesn’t mean you have to give feedback every day of the week. It means making specific time for feedback every week or month, depending on the desired goal from creating a feedback culture. 

Hint: we recommend having tailored feedback sessions each week. This doesn’t just need to be face-to-face, it can be anonymous, 1-on-1 or in a group. Switch it up to keep things fresh!

Read: 4 courses that have changed the way I communicate

4.      Set clear feedback expectations

As your organisation builds a feedback culture, it’s important to integrate feedback standards that you expect employees to follow. These should be standards that help convey a consistent message around feedback across the organisation – one rule for all! 

Think about these four things when setting feedback expectations:

·      Who receives feedback?

·      Who gives it?

·      How often do we do it? 

·      What is the main goal of the feedback? 

Discover 5 things that promise to keep employees happy and productive

Learn, Grow and Develop within the Public Sector

To aid your progress towards a better working environment for your employees, we’ve created a guide that dives into strategies that will support, retain and grow a varied and experienced workforce.

Click the button below to access your free copy. 

Learning and Development handbook