If your team members have the ability to process feedback, that can be a very powerful tool. Feedback, if done right, can help grow and develop the people in your organization, improve trust and communication, and bring employees and managers closer together.

This give and take will ignite a feedback culture that can be beneficial to the growth of both the business and the team members.

Unfortunately, feedback is often ignored or left out altogether to avoid making people feel bad. Or, when it occurs, team members aren’t given the skills to process feedback. This leaves them wondering what they should do.

In this article, we will discuss tips you should follow when giving feedback and how you can encourage your team to process feedback while also developing a positive feedback culture.

Developing A Feedback Culture Requires You to Process Feedback

A feedback culture is one in which every employee feels like they can share feedback with anyone else in the company, no matter their role. Creating a culture of feedback in your company is beneficial in a lot of ways.

Performance reviews are estimated to cost a company with 10,000 workers a whopping $35 million a year. Still, 9 out of 10 managers are unhappy with their companies’ annual performance reviews, and almost 9 out of 10 HR leaders say the process doesn’t give accurate information.

Also, the average manager spends 210 hours a year on review-related tasks, which is about 25 days. That costs a lot of money, time, and other things.

Your annual performance review can be less stressful if you get real-time feedback on your work and in real-time. When you think about it, a performance review is just a collection of all the feedback an employee should have gotten over the course of the year. The performance review can go faster if all the feedback is in one place.

A culture of feedback fosters a growth mindset and boosts performance. When employees like what they do, know their goals, and know the job’s values and skills, they do a better job. Effective feedback and getting things done go hand in hand.

Continuous feedback helps make sure goals are aligned, expectations are clear, and employees are motivated. It also makes the workplace a good place to be. One study found that 69% of workers would put in more effort if they thought their work was more appreciated.

People will work better and be more engaged at work if the workplace focuses on targeted goals and improvement.

Process Feedback

Process Feedback: Where Do You Start?

Feedback needs to be pushed by leaders and managers. They need to know how important feedback is and what the benefits are of giving good feedback. When employees see their managers using strong feedback principles, they are more likely to do the same.

There is a difference between good and bad feedback, which is something to keep in mind. When your team members are able to process feedback, the feedback becomes more meaningful. Encouraging managers to tell their employees they did a good job won’t help them do better or build a good feedback culture.

Give the tools for feedback.

If you want your business to have a culture of feedback, make sure to give them the right technological tools. Giving and asking for feedback should be part of what you do every day.

Consider having feedback written down in one place where managers and direct reports can see it easily. This may help motivate team members and help streamline feedback conversations and performance reviews between employees.

To change how people think about feedback, you’ll need to give them the right training and make feedback a regular part of their lives. Everyone from the top down needs to buy into the need to process feedback for maximum growth.

Give training in order to process feedback.

Giving and getting feedback are skills that need to be learned and used. To help managers and team members process feedback, give them training and tools.

For example, holding annual workshops on how to give and receive feedback can help make sure that all employees understand the process. This can also help lessen anxiety about feedback.

Make it a habit by holding team members responsible.

When feedback happens often, people start to expect it. Make sure that managers regularly check in with their direct reports and talk to them about how things are going. Also, tell employees to ask for and give feedback whenever and wherever they can.  Feedback doesn’t have to come at the end of the month. If you see a behavior that should be repeated, fixed, or changed, let the employee know right away.

Tips for Effective Feedback

Don’t give advice that wasn’t asked for. Often, people think that the feedback they get isn’t useful. To make things even worse, most of the time, people don’t ask for it. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for the person, especially if there is no follow-up or explanation past the feedback.

If your team member didn’t ask for feedback directly, be sure to ask them if, when, and how they’d like to get it. By doing this, you can give your employee more power and make it more likely that they’ll act on the feedback you give them.

It’s important to help your people feel confident and comfortable enough to ask for feedback and give them the power to set the agenda.

Be specific: Employees’ feedback should focus on finding solutions and be clear and to the point. Vague feedback only causes confusion and frustration. Be clear about what you want your team members to do, and tell them how they can put the feedback to use.

Show compassion: Feedback can make people feel strongly, often resulting in defensive behavior. Before talking with your team member, you should be ready to give them the time they’ll need to process your feedback. Allowing them this time will show them you’re invested in their growth, not merely there to strike them down.

Give consistent feedback: The most important time for employee feedback is right after an event. Employees are most engaged when they get feedback that they connect quickly. If you wait, it might not have the same impact.

Daily or weekly feedback will help your feedback target the present time and what can change in order to progress further toward team or individual goals.

Evaluation can be hard. It takes time and effort to do it right. Instead of thinking of feedback conversations as a one-and-done, keep in touch with the person you’re giving feedback to and thank them when you see progress.

This will show them that you care about their success and encourage them to keep up the good work.

Keep it private: For some, even praise can be uncomfortable and should occur in a private meeting. Some people just don’t like being in the spotlight. You can also think about giving employees written feedback. This can give you time to think and help you come up with a better answer.

Feedback can be uncomfortable not only for the person getting it but also for the person giving it. Moving the event to a less formal place can help relieve some of the pressure that is building up.

Don’t mask the feedback: Feedback should always have the purpose of helping someone improve. Putting corrective feedback between two pieces of positive feedback won’t make it easier to hear. This method confuses the other person, makes your feedback look bad, and makes people less likely to trust you.

Even though it might make the person giving the feedback feel worse, being honest and open when giving corrective feedback sets the stage for a real conversation. Instead of going around the bush, focus on discreetly giving feedback.

Make sure the conversation goes both ways: Telling someone how they should change doesn’t help as much as talking to a brick wall. Don’t forget that respect is important in talking about sensitive topics. Don’t talk to someone when it would be much better to start a conversation and talk with them.

Let the person you’re giving feedback to answer your questions and let them ask follow-up questions. Once you both know the problem, you can work together to find a solution or plan of action.

Conclusion: The Ability to Process Feedback is Vital to Business Growth

Finding new and creative ways to listen to your employees’ questions and concerns is the first step in building a culture of feedback and teaching them how to process feedback. Your team should feel safe enough to share new ideas and points of view without fear of retaliation or punishment.

As a business owner, teach your managers how to use anonymous surveys, encourage open communication within their teams, and respond quickly to feedback. Depending on what the employees say, this could mean anything from making processes more streamlined to adding more team-building activities to solving problems in their department.

Once your team understands how to process feedback, provide feedback, and the importance of a feedback culture, you will quickly see growth toward goals and increased employee morale.