1. Evaluate your current feedback culture
To strengthen your feedback culture, you’ll first have to gain a better understanding of what’s currently working and what isn’t. The key to this is, unsurprisingly… soliciting feedback. Employee surveys, focus groups, or observations by a task force team can all help you pick up on current challenges and areas for future improvement.
Maybe your employees have been expressing concerns — like a desire to give or receive more feedback, discomfort with providing feedback, claims of receiving biased feedback, or dissatisfaction with the performance review process. Perhaps you’ve been having trouble resolving employee performance issues or receiving genuine feedback from employees. Or maybe you’re unsure if your new initiatives are working, and need to better understand what employees are thinking. All these are surefire signs that you must focus on improving your feedback culture.
2. Create a plan to improve your feedback culture
Once you’ve taken the time to evaluate your current feedback culture, it’s time to narrow down the areas you need to improve on the most. What is your company doing well with right now, and what needs to change?
- Do we have a process in place to get feedback from our employees (e.g., periodic employee engagement surveys)?
- How does our performance management process work? Are employees receiving consistent feedback?
- Do we have processes in place to enable manager feedback (e.g., regular 1:1 meetings)?
- How are we encouraging feedback between peers and across departments?
- Do our processes encourage a growth mindset?
- Have we ensured giving feedback feels safe?
- Have we set clear expectations around feedback?
- Do we listen to feedback we receive?
3. Ask for employee feedback more often
A good place to start when building a feedback culture is to ask your employees for feedback. The easiest and most systematic way to do this is through employee surveys. If you don't already have an employee survey program, consider putting one in place now.
If you already have an employee survey program, perhaps there are ways you could improve it. Ask yourself:
- What types of surveys are we running?
Make sure your surveys are tailored to the types of feedback that are most important for your business.
- Are we sending out surveys frequently enough?
- Are our surveys collecting the right information?
Check out our list of 72 employee engagement survey questions to find out what you should be asking.
- How is survey data being used? Could we be getting more out of our survey data with advanced analytics?
- Are we turning survey results into action and communicating it to our staff?
Besides using best practices when running your surveys, it’s a good idea to have a single source of truth for your survey data.
If you’re using spreadsheets, online forms, or a mixture of different software packages to run surveys, this can lead to important information getting lost. It may also make it hard to get the insights you need from your data. An HR platform with survey features like Leapsome can help with this.
4. Streamline your performance review process
Another area to focus on when creating a feedback culture is performance reviews. Performance reviews are crucial for development-focused feedback.
If your review process isn’t working, ask yourself:
- What are the main challenges we’re facing with reviews? What are the results we want to see?
Consider if your performance reviews are:
- Providing a framework for development and growth.
- Helping employees develop their skills.
- An accurate indicator of employee performance.
- Being done frequently enough to give us accurate results — we recommend running performance reviews cycles twice a year.
- Bias-free and fair.
With a people enablement platform like Leapsome, you can easily deliver efficient, organized reviews that are objective and inclusive. You can also track performance metrics over time to ensure reviews are working as they should.
For more tips, check out our playbook on how to write an employee performance review.
5. Create a space for informal feedback through 1:1 meetings
Although performance reviews are very important, they’re not the only time managers should give constructive feedback. In addition to formal feedback through performance reviews, managers should also share informal feedback during 1:1s and team meetings.
Are your managers creating an organized agenda for their meetings, with space for bidirectional feedback? Meetings should encourage an honest exchange between managers and employees.
Sensitive feedback should always be given in private during a 1:1 meeting, while team meetings can be a good time to provide general feedback that applies to everyone.
Follow-up best practices for creating a feedback culture
Measure your progress along the way
Once you’ve put together a plan to improve your feedback culture and begun to execute on it, you’ll need to measure whether your efforts are working.
As you implement new feedback initiatives, remember to regularly measure if these are impacting your main KPIs — for example, is employee engagement up since launching your new survey program? Consider sending out follow-up surveys to gauge staff response. Ideally, these should take place at least once per quarter.