Blog Workplace Culture

Building a Self-Sustaining Culture of Feedback & Why (and How)?

Feedback is one of the cornerstones of employee management. But, when feedback is truly part of your workplace culture, it doesn't just flow in one direction. So, let's take a look at how to start building a culture of feedback for your business that's self-sustaining.

Updated 14th May 2023

According to Gallup's most recent State of the Global Workplace report, global engagement sits at an unimpressive 21%. Long-term, mass disengagement isn't sustainable. Something must be done. But that's not the only Gallup statistic of relevance today. There's an old, pre-Pandemic statistic from Gallup worth mentioning too.

According to their research, managers account for up to 70% of employee engagement variance. And if this is still broadly true, what does it say about engagement in the modern workplace?

Central to building a culture of feedback and engaged employees is the idea of a "Virtuous Circle" 

Virtuous Circle noun:

"A chain of events in which one desirable occurrence leads to another which further promotes the first occurrence and so on resulting in a continuous process of improvement."

When a robust virtuous circle of feedback is created, it can create a workplace where employees are emotionally satisfied. It can strengthen the relationship between managers and employee. And it could nurture the workforce to becoming proactive in reacting to change, rather than simply awaiting orders.

The good news is that, most likely, your employees want feedback. So you'd think building a culture of feedback would be easy. But, even when people want feedback, they aren't necessarily very proactive in seeking it.

So exactly how should your system work, if you're taking aim at creating a virtuous circle of feedback? Let's dive into the various types of feedback now.

Work culture has many forms of feedback

Manager and employee feedback (ideally two-way)

Feedback from a manager to an employee is the most common type in the workplace. After all, guiding employee performance and ensuring target achievement is a manager's job. But, if that's all there is to employee feedback in your organisation, you're missing out on so much value.

Feedback between managers and employees is at its best when it cuts both ways. Sure, it's important to tell employees how to improve. But managers must also listen to what their people have to say about the state of the workplace. If you can't do that much, don't expect your top talent to stick around for long.

Peer recognition

Managerial plays a vital role in employee engagement. But peer recognition can be just as vital, as shown by a Globoforce/SHRM study. When it comes to building a culture of feedback and recognition, it's not enough for managers alone to be offering them. Only when everyone is getting involved can that sort of work culture be achieved.

41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction. 45% of employees value feedback from their peers, clients and customers, while 44% would give recognition to others if given the tool to do so. Yet despite these compelling stats, just 14% of companies are supplying the tools necessary to facilitate this process.

Employee visibility

Thanking someone privately is all well and good. But visibility is an aspect of employee recognition and feedback that you shouldn't overlook. Workplaces are full of constant networking opportunities and chances to make an impression. And that sort of thing is much easier when you have well-known accomplishments to your name.

Creating a virtuous cycle from these three forms of feedback

Direct manager-to-employee feedback provides vital, tailored and in-depth closed feedback. But this only impacts the two of them. It's the sort of thing you'll get every week from an employee check-in.

Transparent feedback via peer recognition and employee exposure go beyond the four walls of the one-to-one meeting. This creates a "networking" effect of productive, positive encouragement. When done well, these positive vibes can be contagious in the best possible way.

An open process, such as that which defines peer recognition and employee exposure, encourages others to share and provide feedback. This is something that could and should serve as a building block for a thriving company culture (which is central to making this process self-sustaining).

Building a culture of feedback with Weekly10

Weekly10 makes carving out a virtuous circle a breeze. That's because its features the three key features of a flourishing employee feedback structure.

Employee feedback and manager feedback

One-to-one feedback is given an overhaul with Weekly10 in two ways. First - manager and employee feedback is fast and effective. It's given in increments of just 10 minutes per week. To reiterate, this feedback should go both ways, so everyone can have their say.

This two-way street is right about where emotional intelligence comes in. It opens up the conversation to the employee's feelings, needs, goals and frustrations. This form of continuous feedback also leads to fewer (unwelcome) surprises and shorter feedback cycles, encouraging participation and creating a fresh mindset of expecting, accepting and embracing feedback. Filling out an update on the go is simple. With support for attachments and comments, employees can use Weekly10 as if they were back in the office.

Peer recognition is built-in through mentions (@name)

With Weeky10, peer recognition is easy and instant. Two elements that encourage the forming of habits and the forging of a long-term feedback culture. This plays into one of the golden rules for a successful feedback system - that feedback should be a continuous, regular process & not big bang. That's how a feedback system becomes the way things are "done" (not just some short-lived fad that fails to launch).

Employee exposure with manager pass-ups

Beyond the recognition given by fellow employees, exposure can give your workforce the credit they crave from further up the workforce food chain. With Weekly10's Manager Pass Up feature, a manager can quickly and easily "pass up" the good work of an employee by forwarding it to their own boss. This immediately secures exposure in the wider organisation (a further driver of a culture of feedback).

Creating a self-sustaining culture of feedback demands a multi-pronged approach that considers differing preferences for feedback, and the universal disdain for traditional annual reviews that are cumbersome, clunky and expensive. By building feedback into the everyday, it becomes a driver of change and a delivery medium for peer-to-peer recognition; while exposure to upper management and the wider organisation only serve to complete an effective, virtuous feedback cycle. All of which Weekly10 makes simple and seamless.