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Be successful with the right feedback

Posted by Laura Tüttelmann on May 29, 2017

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We wanted to know what’s important for you as an employee. During the following weeks we would like to share our results with you and give you some tips. Our topic today is feedback.

Feedback is the basic requirement for a constructive communication process. The goal is to remove ambiguity, to compare work results and to have a look at the needs and wishes of employees. Personal development and team development are potential results of an open minded and honest feedback. Open communication leads to more transparency and honesty. People look at themselves different than others do. Feedback helps to find out if you did a good job and if people appreciate the work you are doing. The manager has the opportunity to speak out praise and criticism. But this is not always the case. We conducted a survey and found out what employees think about their feedback.

Regular feedback is indispensable for successful monitoring. That’s why we wanted to know first how often the people we asked receive feedback. 52 % stated that they obtain monthly feedback and 20 % receive feedback every week. 8 % revealed that they don’t get feedback at all!

Does feedback lead to a better result? We asked the sample of our survey if feedback motivates them or not. The results show that feedback is the basis of every development. Everybody answered the same and stated that feedback does motivate them.

Not every feedback is constructive and of high-quality. We asked for the quality and just 15 % think that the quality of the feedback they receive is very valuable. The majority of the sample of our survey think that the received feedback is improvable.

But what is missing and what would help to use feedback more efficient? Our survey found out that 47 % believe feedback would be more efficient if they would know where they should improve. 47 % wish feedback would be more honest.

We have some tips for you that will help to enhance feedback within a company and avoid misconceptions:

  1. How do I launch feedback properly into my company?

Communicate early. Whether through email or a meeting, establish why you want
to introduce a structured feedback process and how important feedback is for
your employees’ professional development.

Include the whole team. Get managers and employees involved in the concrete setup of
the feedback process in order to make every team member feel like they have a
say. Put together a mixed-department committee to come up with suggestions for
feedback frequency, feedback questions, and barometers for success.

Schedule training sessions for managers. Feedback can do just as much harm as it can good if your team is not trained on
how to provide structured and objective feedback. Organize some manager-only
training sessions to let them practice in a safe setting and learn how to give
better feedback. (Link to the Gesprächsleitfaden & Do’s & Don’ts)

Schedule training sessions for employeesFeedback can be a scary experience for employees, especially the first few
times. Take away the fear of feedback by being open and transparent about how
the process will work and what successful feedback looks like. Answer any
questions, and give them some tips on how to react to feedback, too. (LINK to
guide)

Ask for feedback yourself. Send around a survey after the first feedback period to all
managers and employees and get their thoughts. What went well? What didn’t go
so well? Don’t be afraid to adjust the process if necessary. The process should
fit the people, not the other way around

  1. How should I formulate feedback?

Leading feedback discussions is not always easy. The focus of the feedback conversation should be the employee’s performance in recent months. Let your employees know what you thought they did well and where you still see development opportunities.

Especially important: the conversation should be mutually respectful and as relaxed as possible, so you both can feel at ease to speak your thoughts and opinions freely. Good feedback happens at eye-level, on equal footing. It leaves room for both praise and criticism.

In some organizations, "Good job!" or "This needs to change immediately!" is the full extent of the feedback managers give their employees. This is not constructive. No one knows exactly what was positive or what can be developed further.

In the following some more tips are given on how you should give your boss or colleagues the right feedback:

  1. How to give feedback to your manager

A constructive and rewarding feedback session occurs when two parties are able to both give and receive feedback.

For many of us, however, it can be intimidating give our managers honest feedback. We’re afraid that we will be punished if we criticize and often prefer to choose the more convenient and less terrifying option of saying nothing. However, it’s extremely important for meaningful feedback to reach all parties. Your manager also needs to grow and develop by learning what others think about what they are doing well and what could really use improvement.

To encourage the feedback process, we have put together an interview guide that can be used as a basic template for such a conversation.

  1. How to give feedback to your colleagues

Peer feedback -- as in, providing feedback to colleagues at your same level -- can be the most difficult feedback there is. At the same time, however, it’s extremely important, as we hardly know anybody so well as our colleagues. Through their daily work, we see a lot of the positive aspects of their work and personality, and undoubtedly some things we would like them to improve!

We have compiled a few tips for having a productive peer feedback conversation:

Limit yourself. You have probably experienced yourself someone saying, "but the presentation was not so good, and the slides were not clearly structured, and besides, you’re saying 'um' and 'er' way too much, and, oh, make more eye contact with the audience next time". What follows is a very frustrated feeling, firstly because you feel like nothing at all was done properly, and secondly, because you don’t know where to even begin with your work now. Knowing how this feels, make an effort to limit yourself when giving your colleagues feedback. Prepare beforehand the one or two points you would like them to address, and keep it to that.

Give examples. Concrete examples of specific behaviors help tremendously in understanding what the feedback refers to. The closer to the present the examples are, the better. Example:  “In yestersday’s presentation, I really like that you asked for people’s expectations at the beginning. I think it would have been great if you had ended it similarly, with a brief question and answer session, for example.”

Come up with concrete proposals for solutions. Feedback without proposals is nearly useless. With each feedback point you would like to make, consider what its corresponding action item might be, and how you can help your colleague act upon it.

Pay attention to your wording. The most important thing is that you don’t criticize how a person is, but instead what they do. Feel free to speak about their behavior, but not their fundamental personality. Be sensitive with your wording, and try to avoid assertions like “always” and “never.”This Example: "I’ve noticed you’ve been arriving to the office late recently," and not "You're always late!"

 

You can find more hints regarding the topic feedback on our YouTube channel with thoughts from our COO Thomas:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IT-FkCUR3

Topics: Feedback

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