The importance of feedback in the workplace can’t be understated. Failing to foster a culture that encourages honest feedback can damage your company’s success.
Here’s precisely why feedback matters so much and some tips on delivering it effectively.
The Importance of Feedback in the Workplace
Reason 1: Keep Everyone on Track
Wondering how to keep all team members on track and performing well? Part of the importance of giving and receiving feedback is to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
If someone’s neglecting to meet expectations or slowing the progress of others, constructive feedback (not judgment or anger) is a productive way to get that person back up to speed.
Reason 2: Create Better Relationships
One component of the importance of feedback is that when team members feel comfortable providing constructive criticism, employee relationships are strengthened. This is especially beneficial when there’s a conflict between colleagues — an open dialogue where feedback is valued can help resolve these disputes amicably.
Additionally, regular and productive feedback reduces the space for conflict to begin with. In a sense, providing this feedback in a structured way gets ahead of problems before they become conflict. If someone’s working style doesn’t mesh well with a team member, valuing feedback means that voice can be heard and respected.
Importantly, creating better relationships through understanding the importance of feedback means leaving space for such dialogues at all times. While quarterly or annual reviews are excellent, the best feedback is open and honest at all times.
Reason 3: Avoid Major Mistakes
The importance of feedback in the workplace extends beyond better relationships — it enhances productivity and workflow. When companies create a culture that welcomes these discussions, significant mistakes are more readily avoided.
Open channels for feedback help prevent the need to correct major mistakes, reduce errors resulting from miscommunications, and prevent extreme negative feelings from those who made an error.
Reason 4: Personal and Professional Growth
The importance of feedback for personal and professional growth can’t be understated; most people actively desire constructive feedback. According to Harvard Business Review, 72% of employees feel corrective feedback from managers would improve their performance. The same study also found that 57% of people prefer feedback to pure praise.
Feedback gives employees a chance to see themselves differently and understand how others perceive them. Often, people aren’t aware of how they may negatively impact others, and they’ll be very open to changing that.
Even if an employee isn’t actively seeking feedback, providing constructive criticism may bring something up that hits home. This allows that person to become a more effective employee.
Reason 5: Motivation
A large part of the importance of giving and receiving feedback is its impact on motivation. When employees feel heard, such as by seeking their feedback, they feel valued and appreciated. These are the people who are the most loyal and productive.
Conversely, receiving feedback allows employees to analyze where they’re doing well and where they could improve. For many people, this ability to grow is motivating, as it allows them to prevent stagnation.
Reason 6: Improves Leadership
How feedback improves leadership is two-fold.
First, being able to provide constructive criticism empowers leaders to develop employees the best they can. Given 56% of HR managers consider training and development an essential part of business, you want to enable leaders to provide feedback across the board. Coaching employees and giving feedback on their progress improves workflow all around.
The importance of feedback for leadership also extends the other direction. For aspiring, or current, leaders, feedback from their team or colleagues helps improve their skills. The most effective leaders aren’t born that way; they learn through experience and insight from others. Feedback is an essential part of this.
Reason 7: Better Employee Engagement
Officevibe found that 40% of workers are disengaged when they aren’t receiving feedback. Further, they found that 43% of highly engaged workers receive weekly feedback.
Employee engagement can:
- Improve loyalty
- Boost quality of work
- Improve communication
- Build professional motivation
- Boost collaboration
- …and much more
That’s why a large part of the importance of feedback in the workplace pertains to employee engagement. And even if employees don’t vocalize it, many of them crave constructive feedback.
How to Provide Constructive Feedback
Tip 1: Be Specific and Use Examples
General feedback that fails to address anything specific is a non-starter. Employees need to know exact instances where they did well or could do better. Provide specific examples, listing as many details as you can, and base your feedback around that.
Failing to be specific means the feedback won’t land, and your employees are unlikely to alter their behavior accordingly.
Tip 2: Never Blame or Judge
An essential part of the importance of feedback is that it’s never based on judgment or blame.
One Stanford study found that participants who read a story about Gov. Schwarzenegger’s mistake being blamed on “special interest groups” — rather than him owning the mistake — were twice as likely to blame someone else for their failures when asked to recall them.
This means that when you base criticism on blame, you’re encouraging other employees to do the same. Creating a hostile work environment is damaging to employee well-being and productivity.
Further, for feedback to stick effectively, it should come from a place of care. You’re providing this feedback because you genuinely want your colleagues to succeed, and that should be clear.
Tip 3: Encourage Everyone to Provide Feedback
Top-down feedback is excellent, but the best constructive criticism goes in all directions. While managers should certainly provide feedback, encourage everyone to share their thoughts with colleagues, whether their peers or bosses.
Fostering an environment where feedback can be given or received by anyone creates trust and honesty. It also holds everyone accountable.
Tip 4: Hear People’s Responses
The importance of giving and receiving feedback extends beyond the insights themselves. You want to pay close attention to the way people respond to you offering your thoughts. Everyone should feel comfortable sharing how they think about the constructive criticism they receive.
Make sure everyone is open-minded and that feedback isn’t one way. Feedback should be a conversation where people go back and forth, thoughts are shared, and productive conclusions are reached.
Tip 5: Let People be Part of the Problem-Solving
Often when giving feedback, solutions need to be reached. How are you going to solve the problem this feedback illuminates?
Even if the deliverer has a solution in mind, bring others in on the problem-solving process, especially the one receiving the constructive criticism. This allows your colleagues to have their voices heard and participate in dialogue, boosting employee morale.
Time to Provide Effective Feedback
Now that you understand the importance of feedback and how you can effectively deliver it, it’s time to implement a culture of dialogue. Doing so will improve overall employee productivity and well-being, two essential aspects of business success.
Need to hire leaders who believe in the importance of feedback? Jennings Executive can help. Learn more today!