With how often the word “feedback” comes up at work, you would think that we would all be a lot better at it. Unfortunately, many managers are afraid of giving feedback, and individuals may not know how to react to feedback at work when they receive it. What goes into creating a culture of feedback within your company?

In many cases, feedback is reserved for a special occasion — a performance review, a one-on-one, or a survey. But a culture of continuous feedback is required to help people set goals, make decisions, take responsibility, communicate effectively, and respond to setbacks, all of which are critical functions of a high-performing team.

Countless studies show that people want more feedback and that the more feedback they receive, the more engaged they are with their work. 

Focus on Building Trust

Building trust isn’t easy and can’t be forced between individuals, but you can take steps to create trust in the company as a whole and reduce resistance to feedback.

First, clarify expectations. If someone fears for their job when making a minor mistake, they’ll be resistant to any kind of feedback. Make it clear for both people-managers and individual contributors what the purpose of feedback is within your organization. Let people know their goals are improvement and innovation, not perfection.

Next, reinforce ongoing feedback. Are performance reviews a once-a-year occurrence, or are regular one-on-ones safe places to share? Define what continuous feedback is at your company and hold people-managers accountable for providing it. If you’re not sure where to start, look into the variety of workplace feedback tools that simplify sharing praise and feedback. 

Finally, encourage feedback from employees. When feedback only goes one way, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s not much trust. Actively encourage feedback from your employees and act on what they say to build trust, improve engagement, and make your company stronger overall.

Utilize the Feedback Cycle

Making continuous feedback a part of your culture also comes down to ensuring the feedback is the right kind.

Constructive feedback blends positive and corrective feedback and should be delivered in a way that promotes growth. A productive feedback cycle can help to reframe constructive feedback to create actual change.

5 Steps of the Feedback Cycle

  1. Identify the Issue or Success
  2. Consider the Causes and/or Consequences
  3. Decide on Solutions or Modifications
  4. Take Action
  5. Reflect on Performance

Encourage your people to focus on this framework in situations where feedback is given and received to make both triumphs and failures part of the learning process. With dedication to the continuous feedback cycle, people will learn and grow in their positions, work together with purpose, and improve customer satisfaction.

Embrace Constructive Feedback Across Your Company

Common reactions to feedback can include fear, embarrassment, anger, and denial. With so many negative emotions tied to feedback, it’s important to maintain the right mindset.

Fostering resilience, a growth mindset, and being mindful will help employees with how to receive feedback at work.

Be transparent and demonstrate that ideas don’t always pan out as planned to develop a greater trust and learning culture. When employees and people-managers know that they’re actively encouraged to learn from their successes and failures, you’ll build more trust, help to encourage a growth mindset, and reduce anxiety around feedback.

Using Verb to Develop Your Company’s Feedback Culture

While you can start building a culture of trust, you can’t personally coach everyone to improve their ability to give and receive feedback.

Verb’s platform uses practice-based learning to develop leadership skills like this and more across your entire organization.


Ready to see how Verb can help your organization create a culture of feedback?

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