culture of feedback

Three Steps to a Culture of Feedback and Recognition: Part 2

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Truly having a feedback-rich culture can differentiate an organization when it comes to candidate attraction and employee retention. In fact, according to PwC, nearly 60% of survey respondents reported that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis—a number that increased to 72% for employees under age 30. That’s an aggressive feedback cadence for any manager to keep up with but when you’re attuned to your team’s performance, giving feedback becomes a habit. Giving feedback and recognition is a balance between your rational brain, which drives for metrics and results, and your emotional brain which values creativity, learning, and yes emotion. The first part of our series discusses this in greater depth as well as introducing the first step to creating a culture of feedback and recognition: Identifying Your Barriers. However, even if you’ve found the balance between the rational and emotional, the barriers to giving feedback and recognition still exist, and so you must bring awareness to the behaviors you want to reinforce.

Step 2: Identify Behaviors to Reinforce

Consciously knowing and looking for these behaviors is the second step to building a culture of feedback and recognition. Perhaps you want to focus more on implementing engineering best practices or promote better communication amongst your team. These are behaviors you can be on the lookout for and can serve as feedback “triggers” to help create a habit of giving feedback and recognition. Chip and Dan Heath refer to this as “finding the bright spots.” The bright spots are those glimmers that something is going right on your team; something that you can study and then replicate. Looking for the “bright spots” becomes easier when you know what you’re looking for, especially if your barriers include lack of time and habit.

Let’s say one of the behaviors on your team you want to reinforce is a sense of urgency. Historically your team has been slow to action when it comes to fixing problems and taking ownership of results. You notice one day that Marcus has stepped outside his normal role of Technical Support Associate to assist with onboarding a new client since your Customer Success Manager is away at a conference. The customer had an urgent problem with their setup and rather than have them wait until the CSM returned, Marcus took ownership of the problem and is triaging with the engineering team. That’s a bright spot and it should be celebrated by recognizing Marcus in a timely manner.

Once you’ve identified the behaviors you want to reinforce with your team we suggest sharing your goal of giving more actionable feedback and recognition and your focus areas with your direct reports. Communication is key when it comes to building a culture of feedback and recognition and making your goals known is powerful from an engagement standpoint. This also opens up an opportunity to understand better how your individual team members would like to receive feedback and recognition. It is absolutely different for everyone and while many may prefer public praise, others may appreciate praise and actionable feedback in a 1:1 setting. Words are powerful and have a tendency to motivate individuals so whether you write down the feedback or praise on a card or send it out in a public Slack channel, be sure it’s meaningful and thoughtful.

By identifying the behaviors you want to reinforce with your team, you create your own “triggers” of awareness for opportunities to provide actionable feedback and praise in a way that works for your team. Whether recognition is public or actionable feedback is private, finding ways to promote the behaviors you need your team to exhibit is a valuable exercise in managing others but also in driving employee engagement.

Missed Part 1? Check it out here.

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