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Completing the Feedback Cycle

When you talk about feedback, the last part of the word is very important: you have to get back on it. Collecting feedback correctly is only the first step. Handling it correctly is the second. Because no matter how genius the way in which you collect your feedback, if it isn’t followed by actions, it’s nothing more than a bad retrospective.

Don’t waste their time

For many people getting back on feedback is difficult and time consuming, especially on company level. It’s probably why it often gets neglected. There are surveys and big plans. And then… Nothing. It’s bad because it communicates you don’t appreciate your people. And if this happens more than once people stop trusting surveys. Or worse: everything from HR. That’s also something I experienced myself. I spend time filling in two pages of questions, I thought about it, worked on it and then… Nothing. I felt they wasted my time!

Speed of actions taken

When it comes to getting back on feedback, the most important thing to consider is the speed of your response. The higher the frequency of your feedback collection – the faster the speed of response should be. In my last blog post I told you about Vincit. When you enter their building, you answer a single question (How Do You Feel Today?) with only two possible answers (Great or Bad). You just have to push a button. The results are instantly visible on a big screen. I also wrote about a company called SC5 that found a fantastic solution for their feedback cycle. Employees can post a question adding ‘/question’ in whatever Slack channel they use. It then automatically appears as an anonymous question on a Trello board. When someone moves it to ‘Done’, the answer shows up in an open Slack channel.

It’s all about transparency

Doing company-wide retrospectives right can actually be easy and fun! The guys at Futurice dedicated a wall where you can give feedback. On it, the HR people sometimes simply react to a question right away.

Futurice Reaction

It’s not only quick, it’s also transparent. And that’s the other important thing about following up on feedback. Really, don’t be shy. Act out loud, tell your colleagues what is happening. There’s no better way to make clear to your people you heard them, you appreciated their effort and, most importantly, that you care. There are plenty of options to do it: regular company gatherings (Team Breakfast at Ministry, Afternoon Tea at Vincit, FutuFriday at Futurice), company-wide newsletters, announcements on walls in public places.

But what if it turns out you can’t take any actions? Maybe there isn’t enough money, time or you simply don’t have the manpower. Well, make sure you tell them. Your employees are reasonable adults, not crazy kids. (Okay, I sure hope they’re a bit crazy, it wouldn’t be any fun otherwise 😉 What I’m trying to say: they will understand and appreciate the way you inform them.

Make everyone responsible

Transparency is good for several reasons. One: You invite employees to provide their ideas on how to solve issues. Two: Everyone can see you improve things that actually bother people. Three: You share the ownership of solutions, and thus the problems. But the biggest plus: You make everybody responsible for the current company state. People often think, “Okay, I provided my feedback. Now it’s their problem”. And really, that would be the biggest problem of all.

See you on Monday,


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