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21 Apr

Don’t give up on feedback, but know when to stop

When you decide to collect company-wide feedback, there’s an important thing to remember: You could fail. And that’s not a problem. After all, it’s just another experiment you can learn from. In this case: You either receive good feedback, or you’ll find out what doesn’t work.

What is success?

Of course, in order to know if what you do works, you need to define what failure or success means. So make sure you define your goals and add a clear timetable. When do you need to see results? When is it time to adjust what you do? Don’t act too quickly, but we’ll talk about that later. The other thing you need to think about is the most important metric in collecting feedback, the participation ratio. That’s the amount of employees that provide you with feedback compared to all the employees. You’ll want to hear as many people as possible, not just a small group. And your employees will only dedicate their time if they believe that it’s not only empty words. So getting back on feedback is a must. Read more about that right here.

Take your time

But what you need most of all is time. When Vincit (I talked about them before right here) started their experiment of introducing ‘open salaries’, only 5-10% shared the information. It would have been very easy for them to decide no-one was willing to do it and kill the experiment. But they didn’t. The management gave a good example by sharing their salaries and gradually people saw the benefit. Now 90%+ of the employees share their salary.

When you are starting with company-wide feedback, you need patience. Sometimes it takes time to figure out if your way of collecting feedback is a good one. While developing their educational program HubSpot found that “To accurately judge if your program is working, you’re going to need anywhere from six to eight months. That can be hard in a fast-moving environment.” They also said: “If you’re not patient, you might prematurely kill an effective program.” The same applies to monthly/quarterly feedback surveys by the way.

Knowing when to stop

There are plenty great tools to collect your feedback. MailChimp, Google Analytics, Survey Monkey. Or even a big wall. Talking about walls, there’s one thing as important as patience, and that’s knowing when to stop. I told you guys earlier about the feedback wall at Futurice full of memo’s. They set it up after moving to their new office. Seven months after my first visit, I stepped into their office again. But to my surprise: no wall. (Obviously there was a wall, but it was empty, duh.) When I asked about it they answered they said: “We removed it. After a couple of months the flow of new stickers decreased and almost disappeared. Apparently our colleagues didn’t need it anymore.”

So was their wall a waste of time? On the contrary. For a while it was the perfect tool. Until it wasn’t anymore. Luckily, there are methods enough to keep everybody happy. And that’s what’s collecting feedback is all about!

See you next Thursday,


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