Improve Performance and Productivity with Feedback

How Critical Feedback Enhances Employee Performance

If you want to improve workplace productivity, you might consider revamping your organization’s approach to giving critical feedback.

Research suggests that companies can experience productivity declines in the double digits when difficult conversations are avoided.

Improved performance along with the opportunity for the development of great employees and future leaders can backfire if feedback is offered in the wrong way and can lead to defensiveness and resentment.

An extremely important element of professional development and employee performance is getting critical well thought out and timely feedback and understanding how to receive and act on it.

A Culture of Trust and Safety

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, said that she identifies scalable employees when she sees “Someone who takes critiquing. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

She adds in a recent interview with HBR on her new book Option B-

“You need the discipline of setting really ambitious goals, making it safe for people to debrief and own failure and get feedback; and be willing to learn and correct.”

Therefor, it is important for employees to be open and appreciative when receiving comments on performance and to recognize that accepting constructive criticism on the job is a critical factor for getting promoted. Not only does listening to feedback help a person improve his or her abilities, it also demonstrates the character traits and attitudes that management like to see in future leaders.

Business leaders can do a lot to create a culture around in the moment critiquing.   They can consider ways to provide training in how to give and receive feedback in constructive, positive ways. The business culture should enable everyone to see that this model of communication is designed to promote growth and development, decrease workplace stress, and improve productivity and not an opportunity to put down or demean employees.

Building a positive culture of feedback can significantly reduce workplace stress as employees know where they stand regularly with regard to performance.

Delivery Frequency

One way to develop a positive culture around giving and receiving feedback is to avoid lumping it into annual performance reviews. The formality and weight of annual reviews can make them very stressful; it is often better to deliver it with more frequency, in the moment and preferably within a shortened time frame.

Hearing critiques or praise about work practices that occurred a year ago can be frustrating. And employees lose many opportunities to change and grow.

Finally, a healthy feedback culture can be developed when onboarding new hires. While sharing about the organizations culture, management can inform new hires that the company supports growth and learning by giving constructive feedback on a regular basis. This diminishes the negative stigma related to it and further embeds a culture of learning into the organization.

Healthy organizations encourage trust and strong communication. This results in improved overall performance and less time wasted.


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