If you don’t know, you don’t know.
If you don’t know, you don’t know. Why getting feedback is important.
We can give and receive feedback on several different levels within an organisation, from strategic company-wide feedback, operational staff or customer surveys, and even down to tactical feedback such as exit interviews. These different forms of feedback help you understand the ‘boots on the ground’ perspective of your team and their experience working in your organisation.
Whilst all three areas, strategic, operational, and tactical, are of equal importance to look in to, in this article we are going to focus on the importance of receiving feedback for the business as a whole.
What makes a great company great?
Top performing companies are top performing companies for a reason. It’s because they consistently search for ways to make their best even better.
For top performing companies, continuous improvement and innovation are not just showy catchphrases. It’s about putting a true focus on obtaining feedback from across the entire organisation – customers, clients, employees, suppliers, vendors, and stakeholders – to support the business with driving its strategy. This feedback is referenced across all levels of the organisation through KPIs and even general meeting agendas.
Top performing companies are not only good at accepting feedback, they also deliberately ask for feedback and they do the most important thing… they act on it. Great business leaders know that feedback is helpful only when it highlights weaknesses as well as strengths. They don’t want their feedback to sugar-coat the truth. As one of our clients said, “Give it to me straight up. I need to know what the team said, so I can act on making things better for them in the future”.
The Basics of Feedback
What is Feedback?
Feedback is any helpful information or criticism about prior action or behaviour from an individual, communicated to another individual or group who can then use that information to adjust and improve current and future actions and behaviour.
Why is Feedback Important?
Feedback is important because it helps to:
- Improve performance at an individual, group, business, business unit, company or organisational level
- Motivate and engage employees, but only if it is delivered constructively and used thoughtfully and appropriately to engage the employees in the change process
- Make better and more informed decisions at all levels of the business as feedback identifies gaps, challenges and solutions that you may not have otherwise thought of, often from the people who are performing the task day to day.
- Build and maintain communication with others as a continuous loop of information circulates throughout the team on the how, what, and when of areas that need to change.
There are many ways that feedback can be obtained. Here are some of the most common:
- Verbally either in person or over the phone
- Via a pre-existing feedback survey (such as the STAR Workplace survey we use)
- Focus groups
- Electronic questionnaires and surveys from Survey Monkey, Google Forms or similar
When preparing for your survey, it’s important to remember that the nature of the question will service the answer you are looking for, so be deliberate in the wording of your question.
Surveys can also be administered by an external, impartial party or internally by your HR department. They can also gather data anonymously if that would help for more honest feedback.
There is a lot of information out in the marketplace about staff surveys, and sometimes it’s hard to find something suitable for the SME end of town. Gaining feedback from your team doesn’t need to be flashy. It simply needs to follow the basic principles…
Ask for it. Accept it. And act on it.
A cautionary tale…
BEWARE – If you do ask, make sure you act! You can do more damage to your business and your team if you ask for feedback and do not act or communicate your findings and results. Be sure to communicate what you have learned back to the business or individual and check in with them to make sure they understand