9.06.2011

Making Feedback Work For You...

One of the biggest benefits of moving from the traditional performance management approach to a continuous feedback model is that you always know where you stand. You don't have to wait until the end of the year to sift through pages of stale, poor quality, and ultimately unhelpful performance feedback to find out what you should have been doing 6 months ago. With regular feedback you can learn and improve as quickly as possible.
One way to make this feedback even more potent is to focus it around the areas that you really want to develop the most. How do you do this?

Ask...

No... I don't mean send an email to everyone you work with saying "did you like my presentation?". Instead, pick two or three areas that you want to develop and capture them as questions. Make these questions public so that your colleagues are aware of them when they interact with you. You can think of it as a continuous 360 degree review, but focussed on what's really important to you and minus all of the heavy-weight cruft that is usually part of traditional 360's. For a manager you may ask questions such as:

  1. Am I communicating our priorities clearly and often enough?
  2. Am I spending enough time 1 on 1 with my team?
  3. Am I providing sufficient support without micro-managing?

Questions like these not only help the manager develop their management skills, but they also communicate to their team where their manager is trying to improve. Perhaps you want feedback on something more specific like a presentation you gave, or some code that you have written? Regardless, when your colleagues know what you actually want feedback on, they're likely to tell you and you'll better understand what you really need to do to become more effective.

We've been doing this at Culture Amp for a little while now - initially we wrote our feedback questions on post-it notes that we stuck to our monitors to test the idea, but since we've found it so useful we've added this as a feature in the latest Cadence release.

How do you target the feedback in your organisation? If you've done something similar in the past, let us know.

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