Feedback (1): Why it’s so important

What it’s all about

Only about 10% of managers give their staff professional feedback on their performance. At the same time, however, most employees expect such feedback.

Feedback is a help, not a threat

Feedback is a process by which a manager communicates information to their staff about their performance, behaviour and/or the results of their work. Feedback can be both positive and critical and is usually given to help individuals improve or strengthen their performance.

A good internal feedback culture is characterised by feedback that is

  • is timely, specific and focused on behaviours or results,
  • is not personal or derogatory, but limited to the factual level,
  • presents to the employee in a fair and balanced way what he or she is doing right and where there is room for improvement; and
  • is given in a constructive manner to help the interviewee optimise his or her performance and potential for task fulfilment.

The wrong mindset

In everyday life, however, only about 10% of managers give their staff professional feedback on their performance. As a rule, most are guided by the toxic mindset: „If I don’t say anything, everything is OK!“ They are convinced that it is quite sufficient to limit feedback to mistakes, misbehaviour and undesirable events, as this would make it clear by itself that the absence of corrective evaluations means exactly the opposite, i.e. recognition, approval and praise. The problem here is that the staff’s expectations are quite different and that this abbreviated form of feedback leads to a negatively charged working atmosphere, which is quickly perceived by staff as a „grumbling culture“.

Advantages with synergy

The low implementation of professional feedback management is hardly understandable in view of the multitude of benefits. When reviewing the following overview of benefits, it also becomes apparent that the listed effects are mutually dependent and interrelated in such a way that a synergistic effect is created overall. Synergy of effects means that two or more effects or actions in combination can produce a stronger or different effect than if they were considered individually. Synergy makes it possible to achieve better results with fewer resources or effort.

Feedback…

…improves performance

Feedback helps employees to identify their strengths and weaknesses, to understand tasks and responsibilities more clearly and thus to improve their overall performance. This also has a direct impact on external relations, for example in the form of higher customer satisfaction.

…supports development

By making their staff aware of the positive and negative aspects of their job, leaders enable staff to develop their skills, knowledge and roles in a targeted way.

…strengthens motivation

When bosses show their employees that they value and recognise their work, the addressees receive confirmation that their work is meaningful and that they are making an important contribution to the overall goal.

…improves relationships

Feedback is an important part of successful internal communication. When implemented regularly, it creates an open dialogue and supports the development and expansion of an intensive quality of relationship. In this function, feedback also acts as active dismissal prevention.

…creates a clear understanding of expectations

Through feedback, employees understand in detail and precisely what managers expect of them and what they need to do in order to do their work effectively, efficiently and productively according to requirements.

…increases self-confidence

Feedback helps to increase employees‘ self-confidence and helps them to better assess and use their skills.

…reduces errors

Evaluations guide staff to continuously review their work and in this way noticeably reduce errors.

…intensifies trust

The feeling of being able to rely on each other is strengthened and a conducive, mutually satisfying working relationship is created.

…improves communication

Feedback promotes an open and honest exchange of information and opinions.

…increases satisfaction

Staff feel valued and experience directly that their work is recognised.

…increases commitment

Commitment intensifies as team members feel more integrated into the work and the company. Feedback encourages everyone to do their work to a high standard.

…increases efficiency and productivity

Feedback eliminates potential work mistakes but also reinforces positive actions, helping employees to improve the way they work. This leads to optimised work processes that have a direct beneficial impact on the work result.

…expands the capacity for innovation

Feedback also helps employees to develop their creativity and innovative capacity and to generate new ideas.

…reduces conflicts

Feedback reduces the likelihood of potential disputes between supervisors and their staff, as well as within the workforce, as problems can be addressed openly and resolved directly.

…leads to self-reflection

Knowing the boss’s views helps the individual employee to reflect on his or her work and behaviour in comparison and to improve himself or herself as a result.

…intensifies teamwork

Feedback is also a way of promoting team spirit and strengthening cooperation between team members.

…strengthens loyalty

Professional feedback promotes the loyalty of employees to the company and to their supervisor.