Productivity in a workplace is of benefit to employees, businesses, and customers alike. Employees want to spend their days feeling happy and fulfilled, in an ambience they enjoy. Productivity also has financial benefits, with the possibility of promotion or pay rises.
For businesses, productive employees offer a greater return on investment. It stands to reason that profits will increase if your staff are more productive, meaning a company is able to grow. And for customers, productive employees are a great incentive to stay loyal and resist the pull of shopping elsewhere.
Creating a great feedback culture is an essential part of fostering productivity within your business. Think of it as on par with having a reliable CRM software system or employee reward scheme.
Empowering staff members by giving them a voice, recognizing their views, and rewarding their innovations has been strongly linked with an increase in productivity. For any business, it’s of equal importance to securing meaningful customer feedback.
Many firms have seen increased revenue as a direct result of improving their feedback procedure, and a good system will also encourage employee retention. Follow our tips on creating a great feedback culture and see the difference it makes to your own organization.
1. Introduce the concept at the interview stage
The interview stage is often something of an unnatural setting for employers and employees alike. Even if steps are taken to make the occasion as informal as possible, it can quickly become a box-ticking exercise where little of true worth is discovered by either party.
But businesses can use the opportunity to display their human side, and a productive workplace culture should be made clear to all employees from the very beginning. In the same way that you might outline call center metrics to potential customer service reps, companies should use the interview stage as a place to introduce and even sell their feedback policy.
If you want the best talent to join your workforce, then outlining your philosophy as early as possible is the best method of attraction. It’s also made clear to all new starters that they’ll be fully involved in company policy from their very first day at work.
If you utilize headless ecommerce and promote it at interview, you’ll likely entice new developers to join your team, and introducing your feedback culture can work in the same way. Having the freedom of self-expression is a big pull for any employee who’s considering whether to dedicate their skills to a certain business.
2. Ensure proper feedback training is given
Different personality types will be happy to deliver and receive feedback in different ways. What proves an effective method for one individual may have negative consequences for another. It’s important to not let your feedback culture become a free-for-all, in which the loudest voice wins.
Part of the battle in cementing a procedure that fosters trust and loyalty is to work on how feedback is delivered. There’s no sense in having systems in place that only enable certain personality types to thrive.
Your business should outline a proper procedure for feedback and train all employees accordingly. It’s not just front-line staff that should adhere to the process, but every member of staff from the CEO downwards. If the top echelons of the business are feeding back in different ways, this will have a negative effect on the workplace as a whole.
Employees need to feel that they’re part of a common purpose, and if different ranks are working to a non-company-wide philosophy, then divisions will occur.
3. Make sure employees feel safe to speak out
Anyone who has ever faced negative consequences as a result of giving feedback will be wary of doing so again. A good feedback culture needs to protect against this happening – everyone needs to feel safe that their opinions will not be held against them.
Part of the problem here is down to the traditional manager-executive relationship. Too many individuals see a personal promotion as something which grants them untouchable authority over their staff. Whereas in reality, they’re merely a part of a much bigger jigsaw.
A modern manager needs to be ego-free and accept their own human fallibilities, as well as focusing on the wider picture. Businesses will only grow with constant improvement, and feedback from all levels is imperative to this. Include a regular feedback review as part of optimizing your business processes.
4. Ensure your workplace is diverse
As well as ensuring that all levels of your company follow the same feedback policy, the make-up of your workplace should be diverse. A business with a multicultural front-line team but an all-white management team is not conducive to a good feedback culture, let alone a productive working environment overall. Employees need to feel represented in order to be able to speak out and air their views.
A diverse workplace will also offer a wider range of perspectives. When it comes to finding solutions through feedback, the more ideas you can gather, the better. People from similar backgrounds will often come up with similar ideas. A diverse workplace can help to inspire new ways of thinking and spark fresh, creative approaches within a business.
5. Promote the use of different feedback methods
Even when faced with the most reactive employer, some individuals will find the giving of feedback to be uncomfortable. No one can force a person to give feedback, but a company may be losing out on great solutions if some ideas are not raised. Promoting your culture and investing in training across the board are essential steps but will only go so far. Giving your employees options to feed back in a way they feel comfortable is also a must.
The technology available in the modern age means we have a range of feedback methods at our fingertips. There’s no need for feedback to be merely verbal these days. Feedback software can even be made anonymous to employers and work like a file sharing app, making for a more open ideas-culture than ever before.
Treat it as you might treat investing in support software – it’s well worth shopping around and trialing different platforms until you find one that works for your company’s needs.
Utilizing feedback software can also give structure to your process. For example, you may send out feedback forms on the same day every week, and then discuss the issues raised on another agreed day. Different feedback methods can be incorporated at different times. You might include monthly one-to-ones, bi-weekly team meetings, and weekly anonymous feedback forms as part of your wider policy.
In doing so you’re giving your employees several different platforms upon which to air their views, with each setting offering the opportunity for different kinds of feedback.
6. Encourage both positive and negative feedback
One thing often neglected by employers is the need to gather positive as well as negative feedback. Productivity in the workplace is directly linked to employees enjoying their daily work – and recognition for a job well done is an equally-important factor.
This needn’t be the sole responsibility of your management team. Individual employees should be encouraged to offer positive feedback to their colleagues whenever necessary. Balancing negative feedback with positive has also been shown to make individuals more open to criticism when it does occur. If a person only ever hears negative feedback when they’re turning in great work day after day, they’ll quite rightly feel hard done by.
How you present your feedback culture is also an important consideration. Yes, it’s important for individuals to be able to both give and receive positive and negative feedback on all manner of things, from procedures to company software and anything else that is or isn’t working. But you can also incorporate knowledge development into your plan.
All employees should be given time to research the wider industry they’re working in, and use any knowledge gained to recommend improvements within their own business. Not only will this allow your workforce to see the bigger picture and where their own role fits in, but the more industry insights you can gain, the better it will be for the company as a whole.
7. Show the results of feedback
There’s no point having a feedback structure in place if the results are kept secret. Employees will quickly see no point in taking the time to share their views if nothing ever changes. Businesses need to make it clear when a new policy was introduced because of feedback, and to recognize the individual(s) involved where possible.
Showing the results of feedback is as important to your workplace culture as first call resolution is to customers when they contact a call center (what is first call resolution? Definition and benefits – it’s resolving a query at the first point of contact, resulting in a high level of satisfaction).
This procedure is just as important as any other facet of your feedback policy. It makes it clear to employees that their role is valuable, and justifies the reasons behind your feedback culture as a whole. Like a great QA strategy, it’s wholly dedicated to the concept of continuous improvement (what is QA? It’s quality assurance; a strategy aimed at detecting and fixing potential service problems before they occur).
This also works when it comes to individual feedback, and conversational support can be invaluable. One-to-one sessions often include plans aimed at giving employees clear goals to achieve in order to progress within their career. If they’ve acted on developmental feedback in order to reach a specific target, this should be clearly explained during a session. Knowing that targets are attainable and that achievements are noticed are essential measures in encouraging productivity amongst any workforce.