Feedback has long been considered a focal point for employee development and advancement within organizations. But why is it so important, and how can creating a feedback-friendly culture benefit the organization as well as the individual?
THE BENEFITS OF FEEDBACK
Historically, feedback has been primarily used to provide information about the company’s immediate goals and to guide the employee’s future behavior. Effective feedback ensures a smooth flow of organizational goals from the leadership to the employees, boosts creativity, promotes trusts, and drives motivation. A company that uses effective feedback techniques has a much greater competitive advantage in today’s fierce economic climate.
ENCOURAGING A FEEDBACK-FRIENDLY ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
An organizational culture provides employees with a shared set of values, rules, and regulations for how to work optimally. A feedback-friendly culture is one that allows the benefits of feedback to enrich the entire workplace. This concept refers to organizational practices and interventions that emphasize the importance of quality feedback in the company while providing support for the use of feedback.
A new study (Baker, Perreault, Reid, & Blanchard, 2013) found that nurturing a feedback-friendly culture ultimately has the largest impact on the perception of feedback in the workplace. That is, by encouraging a workplace environment in which feedback is encouraged and appreciated, it increases the meaning and acceptability of feedback and its perceived usefulness among employees.
THREE STEPS TO FACILITATE FEEDBACK-FRIENDLY CULTURE
The study listed three elements that can help to facilitate the cultivation of a feedback-friendly culture in the workplace:
- A leader must strive to create an environment that encourages learning in order for feedback to be perceived as supportive suggestions rather than criticism.
- It is important to establish a psychologically safe and trustworthy workplace in order to make feedback useful and receptive.
- Emphasizing ongoing dialogue between higher management and other employees can help increase the meaningfulness of feedback.
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR ORGANIZATIONS
The creation of this feedback-friendly organizational culture allows the benefits of feedback to proliferate, while simultaneously enhancing the meaningfulness of its message. In the end, the study found that organizations that work towards developing a feedback-friendly culture can increase employee performance and improve overall well-being.
Baker, Amanda & Perreault, Dominique & Reid, Alain & Blanchard, Céline. (2013). Feedback and Organizations: Feedback is Good, Feedback-Friendly Culture is Better. Canadian Psychology, 54, 260-268.