What are the premises behind feedback culture? What objectives are pursued?
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Professor Christine Naschberger of Audencia Business School discusses ways in which business leaders can aim to receive consistent constructive feedback from their workforce.
It takes a long time to develop a feedback culture in an organization. Since 2015, some multinationals companies like Deloitte or Accenture have abandoned their annual performance review and instead have implemented a kind of “on-demand” appraisal. Feedback is given whenever needed. For these kinds of organizations it does not make sense to sit down only once a year to discuss performance and competence issues. Performance and competencies development are on-going issues. For example for a consultant who has just finished a project, it may be more interesting and pertinent to get immediate feedback from a client right after the completion of the project.
It should be clear what kind of rules are established: for example feedback should be easy to understand, specific, meaningful and relative, timely, constructive, and continuous dialogue. Employees need to understand what it means to give feedback and how feedback should be given. Organizations may provide employees with a formal tool e.g. a short feedback form.
There are pros and cons for providing an official HR tool. On the one hand, it may guide employees to clarify mutual expectations and on the other hand, employees may feel that this is an additional bureaucratic burden that needs to be done. In some sectors where it is important to reduce risk like in investment banking organizations may provide strict rules about timelines, for example, it is expected that feedback should be given within 48 hours. Such a rule may make employees uncomfortable especially at the beginning because they may feel stressed about the strict rule. What will happen if I do not give feedback within 48 hours? What are the negative consequences? The negative consequences for myself, my colleagues, my organization, and the environment? All these kind of questions may arise and create additional stress for employees. In the long run, this negative energy may turn into a positive one as employees do not keep incidents for them but they share with their managers. So, it may be a relief to share the responsibility.
In order to best prepare employees organizations may implement training sessions so that employees are aligned with organizational, in this case, HR, goals. Employees also need to know what is expected of them. What kind of posture, attitude and leadership behaviour should they adopt? Therefore companies may also assess to what extent managers adopt this kind of leadership behaviour.
In order to prepare employees best organizations may implement training sessions so that employees are aligned with organizational HR goals.
The impact on an organization’s success may be manifold. Companies may be able to react quickly to incidents. If something negative is happening line managers are alerted more quickly. Some experts would even say that in this case the Jérôme Kerviel case at Société Générale could have been avoided or that the losses of the bank could have been moderate. Therefore especially in a volatile environment risk can be lowered. Generally speaking, organizations may become more flexible in adopting an instant feedback culture. They are able to respond quicker to internal and external changes. Finally yet importantly, the bottom line may be affected in a positive way as losses may be reduced, organizations adapt more quickly.
An instant feedback culture may also stimulate learning within organisations.
Companies are able to learn from errors and from incidents – this may constitute even a competitive advantage in the long run.
An instant feedback culture may also make sense for employees as they see immediately the reaction of their managers and organization. Their feeling of usefulness may be stimulated. Employees know why they come to work every day and their daily contribution is clear. All in all, there are many benefits of adopting an instant feedback culture. Companies which value feedback may also be considered as more attractive – the Employer Brand is influenced in a positive way and also employee’s experience. More and more corporations try to foster employee experience – a new HR trend which has become popular in the past few years. The instant feedback culture is in line with a talent management strategy: an organization is able to attract new candidates and to retain valuable talent. So if you are an HR professional, do not think twice: just move on and launch an instant feedback culture. The earlier you will start, the quicker you will reap the fruits of your labour.