The power of everyday feedback

Written by: Maud Hollis is a consultant – executive search practice at Tile Hill
Published on: 10 Aug 2023

Feedback, when wielded effectively, has the power to revolutionise the way we approach personal and organisational growth. No longer should it be confined solely to addressing poor performance. Instead, we must recognise the untapped potential of feedback when it becomes an integral part of our everyday interactions. By embracing feedback as a proactive tool for growth and development, we can create a culture of continuous improvement, where feedback serves as a catalyst for progress, innovation, and individual empowerment.

At Tile Hill, we are passionately committed to achieving exactly this. Our mission is to make feedback an integral part of everyday business, where everyone feels empowered to seek and give feedback, from top to bottom and across all levels – peers, candidates, and recruiting organisations alike. We firmly believe this cultural transformation will not only benefit us as individuals but also contribute to the overall success of our company. This article explores why feedback should be part of everyday business and the numerous benefits it can bring.

The fear of feedback

Many of us have experienced negative or poorly delivered feedback at some point in our lives. Such experiences can leave us feeling hurt and defensive, causing us to shy away from future feedback. However, by making feedback a regular part of our interactions, we can break down this fear and build a culture where individuals feel safe and encouraged to share their assessments and perceptions without fear of retribution.

The role of healthy communication

A feedback culture thrives on trust and strong communication. Establishing healthy habits centred around open and honest communication is crucial to creating an environment where feedback is welcomed and embraced. When feedback is delivered constructively and respectfully, individuals are more likely to be receptive to it, leading to personal and organisational growth.

The importance of feedback across all levels

Feedback should not be limited to interactions between managers and employees. Peer-to-peer feedback is equally essential, as it helps employees understand how their actions and behaviours impact their colleagues and the overall team. By seeking feedback from various sources, individuals can gain diverse perspectives and insights, enabling them to make better decisions and improve their performance.

Driving organisational progress

Organisations that embrace a feedback culture experience continuous growth and development. Feedback helps identify areas for improvement, address mistakes, and recognise strengths. By providing clear objectives and actionable feedback, employees can work on their weaknesses and capitalise on their strengths, leading to higher overall performance and productivity.

The impact on employee engagement and retention

A recent survey from an employee engagement and performance consultancy found that employees who receive regular feedback are two times more engaged in their work – very impressive. Employee engagement is the lifeblood of productivity and innovation, and a workforce that is fully engaged brings unparalleled enthusiasm and dedication to their roles.

Moreover, the study found employees who are exposed to regular feedback are three times less likely to contemplate seeking other job opportunities. In today’s competitive job market, this statistic highlights the value employees place on being heard and acknowledged.

Furthermore, the study revealed employees who receive frequent feedback are, remarkably, 1.4 times more likely to stay loyal to their organisation. In an age where retaining top talent is paramount, this finding underscores the profound impact of creating a feedback-rich culture.

The Harvard Business Review’s classic account of embedding a feedback-rich culture outlined four essential elements:

• Foster a sense of safety and trust: Leaders must create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable sharing and receiving feedback. This creates trust and ensures employees benefit from the feedback they receive.

• Balance between criticism and positive feedback: Feedback should not only focus on addressing weaknesses but also on recognising and reinforcing positive behaviours and achievements. This balance makes feedback more meaningful and impactful.

• Integrate feedback into daily routines: Making feedback a regular part of daily interactions normalises its importance within the organisation’s culture. When feedback becomes a routine practice, employees are more likely to embrace it and actively seek opportunities for improvement.

• Leadership accountability: Leaders who want to promote a feedback culture must take personal accountability for their actions and decisions. This includes acknowledging mistakes and taking meaningful risks to drive progress and growth.

Feedback is a powerful tool that can transform an organisation’s culture and drive success. By making feedback a regular part of everyday business, we can create a culture of continuous improvement, increase engagement, and increase retention rates. Embracing feedback requires effort, time, and commitment from all members of the organisation.

This change won’t happen overnight, but the benefits it will bring to individuals and the organisation as a whole are well worth the investment. 

Maud Hollis is a consultant – executive search practice at Tile Hill