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Nailing the employee feedback process: Strategies for the modern-day HR

Receiving and providing feedback is an intrinsic requirement for an entity to thrive — your body, a relationship, or your business. Yes! The reaction of pulling your hand away from a hot pan on touching it is based on reflex feedback loops. That time you told your partner their cooking was great — it gave them confidence. And, as for your enterprise, feedback can build or break your workplace culture

But how? What is employee feedback, and why is it so critical for success? We’ll dive into everything you need to know about employee feedback right here.

What is employee feedback?

Before we define employee feedback, let’s break down what feedback means. It is any information or comment that advises the receiver about the quality of any task, performance, or behavior. 

In an organization, feedback is two-pronged. Managers and team leaders are in a position to provide feedback to employees - giving insight to workers about performance, skills, attitude, and other elements of their work. Workers give feedback about the enterprise’s policies, procedures, workplace culture, environment, and leadership.

Types of feedback you need to know about

Feedback is the breakfast of the champions, and the champions of your organization are your employees! And like any breakfast — there are different kinds of cereal, err, feedback. Let’s look at the most important types of feedback:

1. Positive feedback

Positive feedback relates to encouragement, praise, recognition, and shoutouts. It’s simple: Credit is given where credit is due. If an employee has performed well under tight deadlines, achieved a challenging target, or shown personal growth — it is time for them to shine with positive feedback. Organizations could have forums to celebrate individual and team wins, however big or small. Rewards and Recognition platforms are fantastic for acknowledging and nurturing talent. 

The biggest advantage of positive feedback is identifying the cause-and-effect relation and implementing it across the organization.

2. Negative feedback

Feedback provided with the intent to improve is negative feedback. Feedback on poor performance, lack of initiative, negative attitude, and lack of accountability are some examples of negative feedback from managers to workers. Your team should not take negative feedback lightly, as it can significantly impact a worker’s career and mental health. For instance, any negative feedback submitted in writing indicates a profound impact, and the feedback provider is making a deliberate effort to articulate and record it. It should always be given appropriately, with context, and at the right time. 

If negative feedback is communicated, your team must investigate deeper into the negative experience to see if it is an isolated case or identify a pattern in the feedback. 

3. Corrective feedback

Corrective or constructive feedback is the best kind — it is actionable feedback that aims to assist. Look out for employees who consistently provide constructive feedback to the organization and their colleagues — they’re highly motivated and engaged.

As examples of constructive feedback: Rather than reprimanding a worker for not meeting deadlines (negative feedback), tell them how they can manage their time and priorities to meet deadlines in the future (aiming to assist). Similarly, instead of feedback about excessive workload, an employee could initiate a conversation with their manager about techniques to prevent burnout.

A culture of corrective feedback enables an organization to get first-hand insight into what could be done better and demonstrate to their workers that the enterprise leaders care about feedback.

💡Continuous feedback: It’s not just a buzzword

The process of feedback is more than just a one-off item on a checklist. Today, organizations strive to provide and receive continuous, real-time feedback. It encourages a workplace culture of openness, trust, and autonomy while empowering your leaders to take action on anything that disrupts employee experience. The result? A ripple effect of reduced employee turnover rates, higher productivity, and an improved sense of belonging among employees. 

In 2022, inFeedo observed that organizations using Amber, our employee experience platform, improved their engagement score by as much as 24.8% in just one quarter. This was possible by taking employee feedback and acting on it. 

Benefits of employee feedback

Amber’s own experience with feedback indicates an 11-point increase in the overall engagement of employees whose grievances were heard and resolved by the organization. Here’s a low-down on the benefits of employee feedback:

1. Improved employee engagement

Employees receiving regular feedback on performance, attitude, or even compassion are more likely to feel valued and connected to their work, leading to higher engagement levels. 

2. Increased productivity

Communicating how workers can improve is critical to enhancing their performance, output, and quality of work. Quick Tip: Corrective feedback works best.

3. Continuous learning and development

Help workers identify areas for growth and improvement and support them with opportunities for continuous learning and development.

4. Better alignment with organizational goals

Enable employees to understand how their work contributes to the organization's overall goals, increasing their sense of purpose and motivation.

5. Improved retention and decreased turnover

Regular feedback to employees makes them feel valued and increases job satisfaction.

Given the benefits of feedback to both the worker and the organization, one would assume that it is not difficult to secure — but remember, all feedback is not actionable. Organizations strive to create a culture of openness that fosters transparency, but certain challenges exist.


Challenges to receiving continuous and actionable feedback

1. Fear of retaliation

Employees may hesitate to provide honest feedback when they feel it would negatively impact their job or relationships with their colleagues.

2. Lack of anonymity

Without a psychological safety net of anonymous feedback, workers may be less likely to provide candid, timely, and constructive feedback.

3. Lack of trust

Employees who don’t trust their managers or the organization may be less inclined to engage in the feedback processes.

4. Previously ignored feedback

Lack of acknowledgment or action on feedback makes employees unlikely to respond to feedback requests in the future.

5. Communication barriers

Language barriers and ineffective or missing communication channels make it difficult for employees to provide effective feedback.

Want the secret sauce to nailing employee feedback?

When collecting actionable feedback, your HRBP team requires all the help it can get. 

1. Prepare your managers

First, train your employees, and more importantly, your leaders, on receiving feedback. Mckiney’s research reveals that 71% of employees who feel their organization has an effective performance-management system said their managers were trained in providing feedback and coaching. When companies start collecting feedback through structured processes, they consider how employees feel (valued and heard) but often do not consider how managers and team leaders respond to feedback, particularly negative or corrective feedback. 

Sunil Setlur, at Gojek, built a workforce that knows how to give and receive feedback using Exposure Therapy. The organization must expose the teams and its managers to make them believe that feedback is not an indication of performance but a scope for improvement. Automatically, with repeated exposure to feedback, negative feedback is transformed into positive feedback.

2. Make feedback an integral part of milestones and moments

An employee’s journey in your organization goes through milestones, for instance - completing their first month within your organization. An employee at this stage will have very different feedback from workers who have completed six months, a year, or five years.

Key moments in a worker’s career include changing their manager, moving to a new location, and after appraisal season. 

To tap feedback at each juncture of an employee’s lifecycle, your team must have the support it needs - a large team, software to analyze the data, and action to facilitate change. But performing these tasks manually is not practical or scalable. 

3. Invest in an AI-powered listening platform

You’ve got as far as you could using manual processes - it adds a layer of subjective assumption and is neither cost nor time-effective. Move away from a point-in-time approach, and get an employee engagement platform that listens for you. 

AI-enabled listening solutions reach out to employees and managers regularly, create a safe and anonymous space to speak freely, and consolidate and analyze the feedback based on which it suggests actionable suggestions to your team.

In 2022, Amber helped 250+ CHROs get AI-driven employee insights to drive business results. You can start today! Download the Report 


4. Analyze the feedback

Now that you have the data, you also need the ability to slice and dice it to derive meaningful insights. For example, analyzing demographic-specific feedback empowers you to gauge whether workers in the same office or location face similar challenges. With such insight, you can quickly identify patterns and take corrective action.

Feedback analysis empowers your HR team to take action and “transform themselves from a people function to business leader,” says Sergio Salvador. Mckinsey says: AI systems provide valuable insights for managers about employees who deserve praise and recognition and identifies others who need support to improve their performance.

💡Pro tip: Laser focus on feedback from

🎯Top talent

Create customized watchlists to monitor employee engagement levels within top talent closely. 

🎯Workers who need attention

Monitor people flagged by your AI listening platform — promptly identify individuals spreading themselves too thin, discussing work-life balance and employee burnout. Acting quickly will reduce the chances of your at-risk employees quitting. 

5. Take prompt yet effective action

To ensure continued and actionable feedback, your team must demonstrate that the feedback is valued.

First up, close the feedback loop! Active listening is all about communication — acknowledge feedback and tell your employees it has been considered. For every 100 at-risk cases, the organization didn’t act on, 60 resulted in an exit within six months.

Secondly, sync with employees who require one-on-one conversations. Go deeper into a select few chats that have the potential to create the most impact on your people strategy. 

With a strong feedback game, your HR team can speed up the acknowledgment process with the help of AI. It can supercharge your action plan by brainstorming with you and suggesting practical ways to mitigate the challenge. 

6. Follow through on your promise

Don’t stop at the talk. Your team can empower leaders to take decisive action with actionable insights and feedback analyses. Again, convey the plan of action on how your organization will tackle the situation.

Make ‘listening’ a part of your company’s DNA

An annual feedback survey is not going to cut it. Change your perspective about employee feedback from a to-do on your checklist to a game-changer and leverage its insights to address the elephant in the room(s) — employee attrition, employee experience, employer value proposition, and productivity. 

Do you want to convert feedback into a conversation AND gain actionable insights from workers across departments, demographics, and hierarchies without getting overwhelmed by data? Experience inFeedo’s Employee Feedback Software - Amber, and discover why 250+ organizations and 700,000+ employees trust her.