Feedback is essential - regardless of whether you’re a CEO, a manager, or a new hire.
If you don’t know where you need to improve, you’ll never be able to grow at work.
And yet, feedback is often overlooked in the workplace.
This might be due to time constraints, a lack of guidance, or a fear of criticism. Luckily, overlooking feedback can be easily overcome with the right strategies and tools.
This blog post will dive into the importance of feedback for growth and how management and employees can get the most out of feedback sessions.
Why Is Feedback Important?
We all know that feedback helps us learn, improve and grow.
But while feedback in day-to-day life is optional, it’s essential for success at work. With regular feedback, employees not only perform better - but they’re happier, too.
But feedback isn’t just important for performance - it’s crucial for growth, too.
Without it, employees struggle to improve, move up the career ladder, or get promoted.
And managers, without feedback, lose valuable insight into new ways they can grow the business or how they can boost employee satisfaction.
A company open to feedback is innovative - open to new ideas, ways of thinking, and willing to adapt to better ways of doing things.
Why Feedback Matters
1. It Improves Team Performance
Teams that receive constructive criticism have the chance to learn from their mistakes and change in the future.
This includes positive feedback too. One of the pitfalls of feedback is the assumption that it’s always critical - when in reality, positive feedback can be just as valuable. Positive feedback keeps teams motivated and enthusiastic for upcoming projects and challenges.
Grow recommends that feedback be positive 85% of the time based on praise to criticism ratio data collected on high-performing teams.
2. Feedback Improves Employee Engagement & Retention
More than half of existing employees (51%) said that in the three months before they left, no manager or leader got in touch with them to discuss their satisfaction or future in the organization.
When employee retention is at an all-time low, scheduling feedback sessions with your team to check in could save you the cost of losing your team.
If you can understand their concerns and address them, you’re more likely to make them stay.
3. It Creates a Culture of Collaboration
Positive feedback can have a good impact on individual and team performance.
For example, try telling your team, “thanks for meeting the deadline” or “great work, the client loved it.”
These simple phrases make your team feel valued and encourage them to collaborate and exchange ideas more often.
Feedback won’t always be positive, and that’s okay. However, having work challenged or critiqued by peers is essential for creativity and growth.
However, if you and your team learn to give at least as much positive feedback as you do negative, then the constructive criticism may sting less.
And, if feedback is part of the company culture, it opens the door for conversation and makes the review process collaborative.
4. Build Trust
Having tough conversations is necessary for improvement, but it’s not something everyone is comfortable with.
Giving feedback based on constructive criticism and actionable improvement fosters a culture of trust and support.
And encouraging feedback for management and the company - not just employees - is also important for building trust and creating a collaborative environment.
Plus, you’ll get new and creative ideas for improving the business.
Keeping the feedback positive, relevant, and only critical when necessary for growth will make your team trust that feedback is there for a good reason and more comfortable and receptive to receiving it.
5. Performance Management
Not sure how to match employees with tasks or projects that align with their strengths and interests?
A proactive approach by asking them questions and providing feedback will help you assign employees projects that align with their skills and interests.
A proactive approach can include asking them for feedback on what they did and didn’t enjoy about past projects and tasks.
When employees are passionate about their work, you’ll get better results and get the most out of your team.
6. Better Understand Employees
Managers shouldn’t just give feedback to their team—they should ask for it too.
Feedback is a two-way street.
Without giving your team the chance to critique you, you can’t know how to help your team or what they want from the company.
Making feedback a habit helps you develop a growth mindset as a manager and a business.
The better you understand your employees, the easier retention and employee satisfaction will be. In addition, you’ll be better able to manage efficiently and empathetically effectively.
7. Encourage Learning and Development.
Everyone knows the quote, “Learning is a lifelong process,” but not everyone knows where they need to improve. . .
Self-evaluation isn’t the most effective way to figure out how to move up in your career. And not all employees will make an effort to upskill or reskill when unprompted.
Managers should actively encourage employees to learn and develop new skill sets—and provide them with the resources.
Actively encouraging employees will help performance - but it also shows your employees that you care about their career development, once again boosting retention.
How To Get Started With Feedback
Giving high-quality actionable and constructive feedback isn’t always as easy as it looks. Here are some tips that can help you get it right:
1. Start with Positive Feedback
Positive feedback motivates people and makes them feel valued.
It inspires them to be creative and encourages them to keep working hard.
A study by Harvard Business Review found a 24% improvement in performance when the employee feedback was focused on strengths.
And, on average, the top-performing teams gave five times as many positive comments as negative ones.
Yes - positive feedback should be used to motivate - but employers can also use it to balance out and soften criticism.
A little negative feedback is necessary for improvement.
But, if you want your team to stay productive or feel safe enough to be creative, it should be followed up or preceded with something encouraging.
2. Schedule Feedback Directly After Meetings or Finishing Projects
Feedback tends to be better when it’s fresh on people’s minds.
People can more accurately remember what worked and what didn’t. The suggestions for improvement are more likely to be specific and actionable.
This makes it the best time to schedule or request feedback from your team and colleagues.
It’s also an especially great time to get feedback in a group setting for collaborative projects.
However, it’s not always practical to schedule a feedback session with everyone after completing projects. Templates can come in handy here and save everyone time.
At Grow, we have templates that make feedback easier, whether self-assessment, peer review, or prompts.
A great way to capture people’s feedback after meetings while it’s still fresh is by sharing one of Grow’s short feedback templates with your team. It’s quick and easy for everyone to complete, and you’ll have robust, actionable data to fall back on later.
3. Share a Piece of Feedback You Gave or Received
One of the main reasons people don’t like feedback is that it’s intimidating.
As a manager, one of the best ways to offset this is by sharing some constructive feedback you’ve received and how it helped you.
Sharing constructive feedback helps set the expectation that criticism is normal, safe, and that it leads to growth.
You want to keep meetings relevant, so try to choose feedback that is relatable to the situation and could be valuable to whomever you’re talking to.
Or, you can share some feedback you’ve given before if you know, it’s helped others.
This goal is to make feedback seem less scary by showing that it’s a normal part of work-life and that everyone experiences it.
Making your employees feel more comfortable will make them a lot more receptive to feedback in the future and open to constructive criticism in the present.
4. Make it Routine
There’s no magic formula to getting everyone on the team comfortable with giving or receiving feedback.
But, one way to offset the anxiety surrounding feedback is to make it a regular occurrence with a date.
That way, both you and your employees have time to prepare. This will help normalize feedback sessions, but it will make it easier for employees to prepare feedback to give to you.
The more regular feedback becomes, the more comfortable everyone becomes, and the less disruptive it is for productivity.
5. Use Templates
One way to make sure a process is consistent and easy is to automate it.
At Grow, we believe that templates are as close as feedback gets to automation - they make the process repeatable, streamlined, efficient, and straightforward.
You can keep the feedback session consistent, structured, and relevant - making it less stressful for you and your employees.
By using templates for your feedback, whether that’s getting it or giving it, you take the guesswork out of criticism, make sure that you’re saying the right things, and ask the right questions.
Just Try It
Giving and receiving feedback may seem intimidating, especially if you’re doing it with your team for the first time. The truth is, it will be uncomfortable or awkward at the beginning.
A good tip is to get started with positive feedback first and leave constructive criticism for later, which will be well-received. You can also install the Grow app to use our templates to give or get faster feedback from everyone at work.
Like most things, the secret to giving and receiving feedback is practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You just need to start.