How to Build a Culture Based on Feedback

7 Tips for Creating a Feedback-Rich Culture

Creating a culture that values feedback can help you grow your company by leaps and bounds. A company culture that takes feedback seriously is naturally receptive to changes, so it will encourage employees to come up with new and exciting ideas.

Feedback also helps you (as a company) find out what you’re doing right or wrong. If you use the comments to lead company-wide improvements, you’ll have more engaged employees who stick around longer.

Your employees won’t feel comfortable giving criticism overnight. Instead, follow these tips to help your employees feel more comfortable giving (and receiving) feedback so you can create a feedback-rich culture.

1.    Set the Example

Like any other aspect of company culture, you set the tone. So, set the example for feedback, too. You have to be open to criticism (no matter how uncomfortable) so you can learn your company’s weaknesses. Then, be transparent and honest about how your company can grow and improve.

Once you show that you’re willing to accept feedback and act on it, your employees will become more and more comfortable sharing their thoughts with you.

2.    Build a Culture of Learning

If your employees value learning, they’ll always be looking for new ways to grow and improve, so they’ll be more open to feedback – since it can help them grow.

Build a culture of learning by hiring people who are lifelong learners and by offering professional development opportunities.

3.    Make Feedback Part of the Routine

You can’t just send out an employee survey or hold performance reviews once a year and expect to build a feedback-rich culture. Instead, regularly check-in with your employees to get their thoughts on you and your company and to give them feedback (because no one should ever be surprised during a performance review).

4.    Highlight How Feedback Has Helped You Make Decisions

If an employee gave you feedback that you used during the decision-making process, let them know. Don’t just tell them you made a decision, but explain how their comments helped them make the decision.

If you never act on your employees’ thoughts, they’ll stop giving them to you. But, if you explain how you’ve used their feedback, they’ll keep sharing it with you.

5.    Send Out Regular Employee Surveys

Employee surveys are an easy way to get feedback, especially from employees who don’t feel completely comfortable sharing it directly. (Anonymous surveys are great, so you’ll get more honest responses.)

You can ask questions like:

  • What makes you proud to work here?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job? Least?
  • How can the company help you be more successful?
  • How does the company support your growth?
  • Does the company and leadership encourage you to explore new ideas? What happens if an idea fails?
  • What role do the company’s values play in hiring new team members?
  • What role do the company’s values play in performance reviews?
  • How is conflict resolved?
  • What’s one thing you would change about the company if you could?
  • When and how do people give and receive feedback?
  • How does the company celebrate successes on a company-wide level? On an individual level?
  • (If you’re a manager), how do you support and motivate your team? How does your manager support and motivate your team?

6.    Teach People How to Give and Receive Feedback

Not everyone knows how to give criticism constructively, and not everyone knows how to gracefully receive and act on it. Teach your employees how, when, and why to give feedback.

You can have them go through role-playing exercises to practice giving and receiving criticism in a safe environment.

7.    Strike a Balance

When you’re giving feedback, don’t just give negative feedback. If an employee only ever hears negative feedback, their motivation will decrease and they’ll be less engaged. They’ll start to think that they’re failing at everything.

On the other hand, if you only give positive feedback, your employees won’t think they have to improve, so they won’t try to.

You should strike a balance – give both kinds of feedback so employees know how they can improve, without feeling defeated.