How performance driven organizations thrive on feedback

21 Aug, 2020
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Feedback is like that nourishment for a plant when supplied at the right time and in the right amount, it helps in the process of immense growth.

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve”.

Bill Gates

The first time I experienced the big word “FEEDBACK” was while I was still taking the baby steps of my career. We had an OKR assignment where each one of us was teamed up with a partner and after a week, we were asked to tell two positives and two feedback back points where our partner can improve. The feedback was supposed to be open feedback in front of the entire team. As any fresher, I was more hesitant to give my feedback rather than to receive one as my partner was far more experienced than me. But in the end, the activity made me realize a few things:

  • Made me feel more at ease with my teammates.
  • The positive way in which my partner has received my feedback made me understood that you are never too old or experienced to take the right feedback.
  • Teams need to listen, talk, understand, and be open to taking the improvement points from one another.
  • Overall, the experiment made one thing clear that people thrive on the feedback and it is one of the most vital ways to improve ourselves.
Feedback is feedback, be it from your colleague, manager, or customer, every opinion count. We just need to know the difference when to use whose and how to.  Supplying constructive feedback helps in maintaining a balanced work atmosphere. The vital step to run a company is to gather relevant information from various sources which will charge up the decision making.

Types of Feedback

Feedbackcan be a direct one-way conversation from manager to employee or it can be a productive discussion between both parties. It all depends on when and how you give it.

Negative Feedback

Perhaps, the toughest but the most agreeable one to give and get. Negative feedback is about providing the facts that have happened in the past and that needs to be changed and avoided to yield better results in the future. 

Positive Feedback

First and foremost, do not gloss over the positive feedback. It evaluates the performance of the employees and encourages them to keep up the good work in the future. Though positive feedback is important, it needs to be well balanced with the negative feedback.

Negative Feedforward

Giving negative feedforward is not about stating the things that went wrong but instead to center on the behavior and actions that must be avoided in the future.

Positive Feedforward

Just like negative feedforward is informing employees about things that need to be dumped at the earliest, positive feedforward is about affirming the employees that the methods that they are following are yielding good results and need to be continued. To be the best and to thrive in the corporate battleground, 360-degree feedback is one of the effective ones to follow where the feedback is taken regularly from all the sources who contribute.

Stakeholders of Feedback


The customer is the undisputed king whose opinion matters the most. Companies must constructively collect data from clients about their team members, managers, individual performances. There must be regular assessment through surveys, interaction, feedback forms, etc.

Managers and team leaders:

Managers and team leaders work closest to the ground and are a wealthy source of getting first-hand feedback from employees. Feedback need not always be through surveys, a simple interactive session with teammates can also help in collecting abundant information about their opinions. Managers must be trained professionally to acquire feedback accurately.


Nobody at work can know you better than your co-workers. Peers who work together, on similar projects can provide a different outlook for the feedback procedure. 


Feedback need not always be from higher to lower level, inputs must be taken from subordinates too on their management. This instills the sense of freedom for employees to voice their opinions and gives them the confidence that everyone is equal in the organization and their opinion matters as much as the others. 

The positive impact of feedback culture

A workplace that believes in feedback culture undoubtedly ranks higher in performance than the others. Forbes report states that employees who observe that there are given a platform to express are 4.6 times more likely to feel entitled to perform their best. 

Raises employee engagement 

Employees who are given the privilege to talk about their minds and give their opinion are the ones who are most engaged. These are the ones who are most faithful to the company. They are not only high performers but are also contribute to the company’s branding as no one is a better ambassador than a happy employee.

Establishes a positive work environment 

The atmosphere of a company or a team where people listen, talk, and opinions and improvement points are orderly taken yields positive results than its counterparts. Reports say that companies with a positive work environment are 12% more productive than those with negative work culture who are 10% less constructive.  Google is the live example whose employee satisfaction increased by 37% after designing its feedback system and programs to improve employee engagement.

Boosts retainment 

A bulky salary package is not enough to uphold a good performer if he feels less valued in the company. They might start looking out for other options when they are unable to get apt input to improve and pull up their position which in turn results in draining of valuable resources.  A well-designed feedback culture helps in resolving this issue. When employees are given regular feedback about their work and are helped with ways, they can upgrade themselves and on the other hand, when their feedback is also considered, they are less expected to leave the company. 

Improves the overall company culture

Regular feedback and interactive sessions help the employees to automatically understand and incorporate the company’s core values. When people within the organization are open with each other, their goals and values are easily communicated. Feedback should not be restricted to individuals. Employees must be systematically involved in sharing their inputs on how the company can grow and improve. This helps in the opening to new ideas and hikes the productiveness.

Building up feedback culture in your company

We came through types of feedback, sources of feedback, the importance of feedback, now let’s understand the ways to construct the feedback culture in the organization.

Open door 

One simple yet effective way of encouraging feedback culture is to have a walk-in system. If an employee is given the freedom to walk up to his manager or HR for voicing his point of view, it creates an ambiance of openness and morality.

Peer-Peer feedback

Interaction between the co-workers is more than with the manager. The ongoing feedback amongst team members helps in pulling up the performances of employees by identifying the areas that need improvement. Through this, a high-level performer can mentor and guide low-level performers and help them in succeeding which in turn helps in better results for the team.

Urge feedback from subordinates

Feedback is always two-way. Managers need to take a deep breath and ask for insights from their team.  One way is to collect anonymous feedback regularly from the employees. You can ask their view on your management style or give them a chance to express the things they feel that need to be changed in the team or ask them for improvement points. Planning the course of action based on feedback is the most difficult and prime act for any manager.

Take responsibility for your actions

Do not go into the defensive shield as soon as you hear something that might not be positive. The whole intention of taking feedback is to analyze the gaps and work towards building them. Take a moment to understand the intention behind the feedback and analyze the statistics before responding. If you feel, there is genuine scope for improvement and an apology is needed, do not hold back in saying “I’m Sorry”. Once you do this, trust and confidence in the management become stronger and open culture develops.

Try to hear the silence

The office is our second home where we work closely with people of different mindsets. One cannot expect everyone to be vocal about their opinion.  For example, a new important change in the project is announced, look around the room when you speak, and try to observe for any downhearted looks, uneasy gazes or tensed faces, etc. If you sense any such behavior, take some time to think a little deeper as sometimes it is needed to read the invisible lines before concluding. It is better to approach such employees and allow them to enlighten you. It is always better to reach out than to stay silent and misinterpret. 

Focus on continuous feedback rather than yearly

Old school feedbacks that come only yearly once do not have a place in the modern work culture Constant meetings, one to one and group discussions, anonymous feedbacks help in developing the feedback culture in the company. When the employees are routinely exposed to the feedback, they get habituated in receiving the feedback which improves employee engagement.  The rapport between employee, manager, and customer also increases in this give and take the process as it starts to feel more natural.

Regularize the feedback tradition

In the beginning, it is hard to give your opinion on anyone or take one from others. It is necessary to make the feedback as a regular part of the culture. For that, we need to stop treating it specially.  This can be done, by constantly taking the opinions of employees. For example, after a scrum meeting, make it a habit to split the employees into groups, give them time to interact, and then ask them for open feedback. Slowly, the feedback system will be normalized, and employees will become more comfortable. After all, we humans are known to be adaptable if we do anything repetitively. Feedback is not a one-time procedure, one can get valuable input from anywhere, we just need to keep our eyes, mind, and heart open to receive them.
Aikya Inuganti
Senior Executive-HR at coMakeIT

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