Do you have a clear perception of your workplace behaviour? Do you acknowledge and understand your strengths and areas for development? Do you know how your behaviour impacts your colleagues? Are you aware of your colleagues’ perception of you? If you can answer those questions with a ‘yes’, then chances are you're more or less in control of your workplace relationships. If not, then workplace feedback can help you.
Think you're self-aware and have a clear understanding of your own thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotions in a given situation? Time for a reality check! It is easy to think that we are good at our jobs, excellent communicators and provide the best levels of service to our clients, but is that everybody else’s perception?
Your peer in finance might agree, but what about your senior colleague in sales? How does the new office temp see you? Does your line manager share your views on which strengths and limitations you display in your job? How do your workplace behaviours affect your working relationships?
For a productive working environment, it's crucial to check that we are operating on the same page as our colleagues and not inadvertently behaving in a way that others may feel is disruptive or a barrier to success.
Regularly gathering information and feedback from all our colleagues will ensure that our own perception is as close to reality as possible. However, it's important to get that feedback process right so that it can be used constructively.
How important is workplace feedback?
Workplace feedback is essential for improving performance. It is the cheapest, most powerful and yet most underutilised management tool that we have at our disposal. Workplace and employee feedback can be motivating, energising and has strong links to employee satisfaction and productivity. Regular feedback leaves people feeling involved and valued in their organisation.
Covering all angles
Ad hoc feedback is always useful for personal development, but how can you harness that and create a formal process that will proactively support your progress?
360 degree feedback is an employee feedback survey and involves seeking confidential feedback from your key colleagues, direct reports, managers and sometimes even customers, to provide a well-rounded picture of how you are perceived across the business. These insights:
- are a powerful way of spotting performance gaps
- enable you to identify your level of self-awareness
- allow you to understand the impact you have on the rest of the organisation
- help with building relationships at work
When designed to analyse performance against critical competencies, 360 programmes also ensure that your training and development interventions are aligned with business needs and have maximum impact.
The 360 Feedback process
When implemented well, 360 Degree Feedback can be really simple and yet incredibly valuable. Typically it will involve feedback from 6-12 nominated respondents, who can be both internal and external.
You and your respondents will complete the same questionnaire, which involves rating your behaviours against relevant competencies, ranking the importance of those competencies to your job role and providing comments on key strengths and potential areas for improvement.
The majority of feedback collated is anonymous, which really helps to encourage truly open and honest feedback. The final report can then be used constructively within 1:1 appraisal sessions, to establish tailored personal development plans that benefit both the individual and the organisation.
What outcomes can I expect to see?
Businesses will implement 360 programmes for a variety of reasons (for example, to address issues of underperformance or to standardise their appraisal systems) but the potential benefits are universal.
Benefits to individuals
- Deeper understanding of their strengths and development areas
- Improved self-awareness and workplace relationship management
- Greater support in developing long term goals
- Increased motivation – employees will work harder if they feel valued
Benefits to the organisation
- Stronger employee engagement – helping to build open and honest dialogues across the organisation
- Improved employee retention – organisations that develop their people and that approach workplace behaviours, will retain their employees for longer
- Greater insight into the effectiveness of training and development programmes
- Access to data to allow performance benchmarking
- Tighter control over under-performance
Positive feedback examples
Positive feedback is a meaningful and effective method to ensure your employees feel valued. Employees who are given effective, positive feedback are generally more engaged, productive, and loyal to the business.
We've pulled out positive feedback examples from this blog to help you build a culture of feedback in your business.
Example 1: When your employee reaches or surpasses a goal
"Great work on your latest report. Your monthly goal was surpassed by over 50%! Your hard work will be a significant contribution to our business's target for this quarter.”
Example 2: When your employee takes initiative
"Thank you for taking the initiative today by offering to run our meeting. You showed that you are capable of taking charge and getting our employees to work well together. Your great communication skills helped everyone feel heard!"
Example 3: When your employee goes the extra mile
"I received your presentation. Thank you for sending it in three days before the deadline. Your presentation included all the necessary information and figures we needed to form a decision. The additional work and time put into this presentation were noticeable. Great work! "
Example 4: When your employee helps their co-workers
"Thank you for assisting our new employees by explaining our HR process. You presented our HR process clearly and accurately. Because of your team effort, our new employees can quickly get up to speed and settle into their new roles. Your initiative is a great benefit to the team.”
Example 5: When your employee needs a confidence boost
"Good job solving that customer complaint yesterday. Your ability to confidently handle problems has always been a valuable contribution to our business. You displayed great communication and problem-solving skills. Keep up the good work!"
How to give constructive feedback
Not everyone knows how to give constructive feedback. Here are a few suggestions for how you can provide effective feedback to your colleagues.
Always be specific in your feedback. The more detail and action points you can provide, the easier it is for your employee to implement change.
Deliver in a timely manner
Provide feedback as soon as issues arise for the information to have maximum relatability and effect. This can boost motivation and morale while addressing negative habits before they become entrenched.
Give the right amount of praise
Ideally positive and constructive feedback should outweigh negative feedback. However, this may not always be possible, but try where you can. Acknowledging positives among negatives can be a good way to reassure your employees that you haven’t lost perspective.
Whether your feedback is positive or negative, it should be honest and genuine. If the feedback is positive, let your emotions indicate that you appreciate their efforts. If its negative, try to avoid displaying negative emotions such as anger, sarcasm or disappointment.
When delivering feedback, give your employee a chance to respond. It should be a conversation between you both. This shows that you’re prepared to listen to their concerns and their interpretation of events. It’s also an opportunity for the employee to express their ideas to you and become part of the solution.
How Thomas can help you get better workplace feedback
At Thomas our 360 Degree Feedback assessment quickly and easily enables people to gather performance feedback from their managers, colleagues, team members and customers and then compare this feedback with their own perception of their performance.
Our blog ‘How to Get Better Workplace Feedback’ explores the top feedback methods available in the workplace.