Being transparent and open in giving and receiving feedback, with the aim to set clear expectations and support employees’ development processes, is an important element in creating psychological safety. In return, an organisation that is able to establish a culture with psychological safety will experience a faster development process and higher levels of motivation.
In the past, annual appraisals, where employees received a performance review from management, were rarely likely to happen more than once a year. Luckily, that trend has changed. Today’s agile organisations fully understand that true development and constructive feedback are vital to short-term and long-term excellence. We have seen a clear movement towards monthly or even biweekly appraisal/feedback sessions that utilise annual surveys and more frequent shorter surveys to target the key elements of the company strategy.
This in combination with regular micro-feedback loops establishes a culture of continuous development clearly linked to the ambitions of the organisation. If people grow the business will grow.
A parallel can be drawn here between a football team and a business team… What would happen if the top level football teams stopped receiving continual feedback and only received feedback on their strengths and development areas once a year? What would their rate of progress be? Just imagine if football players are only given a yearly appraisal after which they then play for a whole year before they received feedback again.
Continuous feedback given before, during and after the game, as well as during training sessions is a well-established process for developing individuals and teams. What if you invested the time and effort into providing employees and colleagues with feedback in the same way that top level football coaches do?
What league is your team playing in? What would the return for your business be if your team was able to develop to the next level?
Here is a summary of some of our observations split into 6 stages of ambition levels when it comes to making the connection between feedback, appraisal, and company success. We have found that companies that have made this connection invest more time and effort into individual employees’ development and have shifted the feedback task from HR to all company leaders.
Integrating the feedback process into a normal procedure in the daily operations has in all cases we have seen so far lead to improved business results.
The benefits of being at stage 5 or 6 are huge, both for individuals working in the organisation and for the organisation itself.
Overall, psychological safety is higher, leading to a long list of benefits.
- Motivation and engagement levels are higher.
- The engagement to reach company targets is higher and productivity levels are higher.
- Creativity is higher, as well as the capacity for dealing with complex issues.
- The employer brand is stronger and attracts more talented people.
- More teams in the organisation reach high performance levels.
- Stress levels are lower (negative stress) reducing sick leave.
We hope this article serves as a catalyst for you to start reflecting on where you are and what could be the next step for you and the organisation you work for. Some questions to think about:
Where are you today with your organisation?
What would be a desired next step for you?
What do you see as a possible outcome?
What could be the first step to take from here?
Written by Peter Lysell