For some years now, companies have been focusing on sustainability in a wide range of contexts and, in doing so, have been redefining their existing patterns of thought and action. Hierarchical management has had its day and employee appraisals are no longer a one-off annual event. The trend towards straightforward, transparent communication is gaining ground and its success speaks for itself. Regular feedback and constructive criticism are valuable building blocks for creating a stable corporate culture. This is because positive and negative feedback creates clarity. However, some preliminary steps are nevertheless necessary before a feedback culture can be firmly established.
What is a feedback culture?
A clear majority of employees would like there to be clearer communication within the company. Regular feedback from one´s manager is very highly valued, as it provides the necessary orientation in one´s day-to-day work. Employees can then assess their own performance and also their limits. Consequently, this creates more confidence in their own abilities, as well as trust in their employer. At the same time, being able to give your line manager feedback at any time and finding an open door, is also part of a successful feedback culture. Flat hierarchies, a high degree of availability, reliable and well-organized meetings – these are all essential prerequisites that a company must create in order to establish a successful feedback culture.
It is irrelevant whether these are spontaneous conversations or scheduled meetings. Clear and honest discussions are highly valued by employees, as they lead to fewer disagreements and uncertainty and result in greater satisfaction. In turn, this reduces staff turnover, which is a problem for every company, as the entire process of advertising, selection, hiring and onboarding a new employee is always a financial burden.
Only someone who receives feedback can experience personal growth
All feedback –whether positive or negative – is an opportunity for personal growth. Recognition for outstanding performance provides motivation and encourages employees to identify with the company´s values. However, negative criticism – expressed constructively and respectfully – can also be very beneficial for every employee. Only by experiencing failure is it possible to stand up again and, as a subsequent result, to develop strength of character and growth.
A strong feedback culture creates a productive failure culture
When your own performance is visible and recognized, personal success motivates you to continue working for the benefit of the company. However, nobody is always perfect and everyone makes mistakes. It has been the norm in our culture for far too long to view these as nothing but failure and to hear this also reflected by our superiors. But times are changing and more and more companies have recognized how much potential can emerge from a crisis if it is handled correctly. Mistakes are important because the learning experience is more meaningful than any success. Mistakes are an opportunity for personal growth. Those who are motivated and not belittled by their superior often show amazing drive and an even greater problem-solving orientation. By giving critical feedback based on the fact that employees are allowed to fail, employees can stimulate new ideas and promote innovation.
Establishing a flexible feedback culture within your company
Regular coordination and feedback between employees and their superiors is both highly relevant and also contributes to the prevention of unnecessary disruptions in day-to-day business. However, every employee has countless other interfaces. These include relationships with their colleagues within the department, in different teams or with customers. This also calls for clear and transparent communication to ensure efficient processes. They will be different in every company. These different configurations – within or across departments – all result in a situation-specific need for feedback.
Advantages of a strong feedback culture for teams
Respectful and, above all, honest communication within a team is essential for both the professional but also the personal advancement of an employee. Regular feedback helps to identify and eliminate content-related uncertainties more quickly. As a result, there are fewer disruptions and frustration is avoided. The morale within the team is significantly improved by the increased transparency because there is a greater sense of trust, both in other people´s working methods as well as in their own performance. When people are allowed to express criticism, the result is a genuine exchange that leads to more creativity and more productive solutions.
Feedback – the underestimated all-rounder
Feedback makes many things possible. It creates strong employees who know their role and their potential; who support decisions because they can understand them, and who feel comfortable in the company. Feedback builds trust – in oneself, but also in the employer. Employees who are consistently shown appreciation identify with the values of their company, adopt a more goal-oriented approach and value a genuine sense of team spirit.