Giving and receiving feedback in the workplace is not a warm and fuzzy nice to have. It should, when done well and does, increase the productivity and profitability of your organisation. This is good news right?! Having conversations, about performance, on a regular basis, increases success.
In fact, CEB tells us that when informal feedback is delivered well it can improve productivity by nearly 40 per cent. Now that’s pretty compelling. We all know that the more productive our people are, the greater the profits.
There are many organisations who have realized the power of creating feedback cultures where people, not just the leaders, have feedback discussions, on a regular basis. They don’t wait for the performance reviews. Deloitte’s research and costing tells us that an annual appraisal for 65,000 staff took 2 million hours. Expedia says it mostly wanted to ‘rehumanise’ the relationship between employees and bosses. A recent PwC study conducted in Australia showed that 81% of companies had performance management systems which were only “somewhat effective” at achieving their goals.
Adobe, a global software business, estimates that their annual performance reviews were costing them 80,000 hours of managers’ time each year, the equivalent of 40 full time employees. And after all that effort, internal surveys revealed that employees felt less inspired and motivated, and staff turnover increased.
Increasingly the progressive companies are recognizing this and ditching the performance reviews in place of feedback cultures and regular ‘check ins’. Adobe led the way, soon followed by Juniper, Accenture, Microsoft, Deloitte, Zappos, Expedia, Dell and GE. There are over 30 companies now ditching performance reviews in place of feedback and ‘check in’ cultures. It’s no surprise these are the ones that attract the best and brightest as they are receiving the feedback they need and deserve and improving themselves and productivity as a result.
Yet many don’t organisations don’t focus on create feedback cultures. Why is this?
1. Organisations don’t muster the courage to invest in their people and culture. They are stuck in the 1940s and they just don’t get it. As a result, these are not high-performing companies. Even for those that value and encourage feedback it is still not translating into action, or the actions are often damaging.
2. People think the change will be too hard and too disruptive. Creating a cultural shift requires effort yet what they fail to see is the costs that are removed and the productivity increase.
3. We often blame the organisation and its leaders for failures in feedback and get stuck in what I call ‘the blame trap’. Getting stuck in the blame trap means we blame others, organisations and leaders and do not take any responsibility ourselves. It’s not a healthy space, and nor does it allow anyone to move forward.
BRW, who award and recognise the ‘Best Places to Work’ site that one of the factors about creating these high performance worksplaces is where ‘the bosses saw issues from the employee’s point of view, gave meaningful feedback and information’. I know this to be true as I work with many of them and they are committed to improving the quality of their conversations. Then they improve collaboration with each other, and their customers, and drive better strategies and relationships. The great companies get it. No wonder they are becoming the places that employees flock to and stay with. The cost to hire and train new employees dramatically reduces when you have people knocking on the door to join.
So if we want to remain not only competitive, but ahead of the game, we need to move into the future and have feedback become part of our everyday. Part of how we flow. Creating a feedback flow is how progressive and competitive organisations get things done and create happy, fully engaged employees and customers. It is where we reverse the push of giving feedback and add to it the pull of receiving it, and alter systems to create an even flow.
Georgia Murch is an expert in teaching individuals how to have the tough conversations and create feedback cultures in organisations. She is the author of ‘Fixing Feedback’ and a highly engaging speaker. Visit www.georgiamurch.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org