How To Embrace Employee Feedback And Use It As A Catalyst For Change
It’s been an exciting year here at eLearning Industry. Not only were we named Best Workplace Hellas 2022, but we also kicked off our 10-year anniversary celebrations. To mark the occasion, we set out to create a series of articles that highlighted our company culture, as well as offered tips on how to build core values within other organizations. It was our hope that, by sharing our challenges and triumphs, we could help other companies avoid the pitfalls and build a culture that everyone could be proud of. This is the final article in that series, and we’re tackling one of the most elusive cultural pillars: embracing employee feedback.
The Importance Of Normalizing Feedback
There is a certain stigma associated with feedback for many of us. We might be the first to admit our own shortcomings, but it’s different when others point them out. And it’s this fear of being “criticized” that often makes employees shy away from the feedback process. Or, worse yet, what if a co-worker mentions that you need to work on something that you consider to be one of your strengths? This is why it’s crucial to normalize feedback within your organization and encourage team members to shift their perspectives. They need to understand that feedback isn’t something to be afraid of, but an opportunity to grow and see things from a different point of view.
Another type of feedback to consider is the feedback that shines the spotlight on organizational strong points and pain points. Employees should feel that their opinions matter, especially when it comes to enacting change within your company and its work practices.
A Story From An eLI Team Member
At the eLearning Industry, we seize every opportunity to have honest conversations and share feedback. This was something that was relatively new to me before I joined the team, as I tended to be someone who avoided hearing what others had to say about me at all costs. However, my first Performance Development Plan (PDP) meeting was a turning point. I received feedback from several colleagues who highlighted my strengths, how I exhibited eLI behaviors, as well as my areas for improvement. At first, I was slightly taken back by that last point, until I re-evaluated my perception of feedback and challenged my self-beliefs, to some extent. It was at that moment that I realized that everything they pointed out was intended to help me develop and balance my workload more efficiently, not to make me feel judged. It wasn’t criticism, but guidance on how to be better at what I do and contribute to the team to the best of my abilities.
4 Tips To Embrace Employee Feedback And Create A Culture Of Constant Growth
Here are some actionable tips for weaving feedback into the fabric of your company culture and giving employees the opportunity to play a more active role in organizational growth.
1. Create An Effective Employee Feedback System
First things first, you’ll need to set up a system that allows for authentic and organic feedback. For example, eLI has several feedback mechanisms in place, from PDPs that include manager and stakeholder feedback to weekly 1-1 meetings. The key is to find a system that works best for your team based on their preferences and organizational goals. Will you have a monthly anonymous feedback round where employees can share their thoughts with up to three co-workers? Do you want to gather more insights about your company and its areas for improvement via a virtual suggestion box?
2. Emphasize the importance of specificity
For employee feedback to make a difference, there’s no room for generalities. Every member of the team should know how to formulate feedback and what exactly you’re looking for. Telling someone that they “did a great job on last month’s project” isn’t going to spark change. However, pointing out how they exhibited the company’s behaviors or core values and providing concrete examples gives that team member a more accurate overview of their performance.
3. Empower Employees At Every Level
One of the most grievous errors an organization can make is reserving feedback for a select few. In most cases, this would be the leader. Effective employee feedback should involve everyone at every stage of the journey. New hires, remote workers, and even external partners may have feedback to share that can help employees pinpoint areas for improvement, as well as equip your organization with the data it needs to stay competitive. Make certain that every employee understands that their ideas count and that they have the opportunity to provide constructive feedback to managers, supervisors, and other members of leadership.
4. Put ideas into action
Ideas are nothing without implementation. Not only does inaction lead to employee apathy in that they feel that your feedback system is merely in place to check the boxes, but it also hinders the potential of your organization. If employees don’t act on personal feedback that they received, they’re doing themselves a great disservice by ignoring their peers and setting for career stagnation. Likewise, if your company doesn’t take employee feedback into consideration and act upon it, you’re missing out on the chance to evaluate your current objectives and practices, as well as squandering one of the most valuable resources at your disposal: the insider’s perspective.
If you’d like to learn more about the eLearning Industry’s origin story and other values that shape who we are today, check out The Best Things Begin On Balconies: A Celebration Of Our 10th Year.
You can also download our eLI Audience Survey 2022: Leveraging eLearning Buyer Insights To Fuel Marketing Strategies to dive into the survey data analysis and discover the real impact of working from home and social distancing on eLearning professionals, HR pros, and corporations worldwide.
Last but not least, we invite you to submit a guest post to share your thought leadership with our ever-expanding community, as well as subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest and greatest eLearning articles, news, and free resources.