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The importance of feedback in the workplace

Keep these 3 things in mind when you  — or someone you know  — starts to doubt how much feedback at work really matters.

You know this person. That one person who’s skeptical of feedback in the workplace. To them, asking for feedback feels like a distraction. Or giving feedback seems unnecessarily negative and burdensome to consider. They’re thinking: “ Of all the things that need to happen in running a team, do we really need to spend all this time and energy on feedback?

I get it. The word “feedback” has been thrown around so often in business articles and at conferences, it’s easy to forget the core of why feedback is important in the first place.

But the importance of feedback in the workplace can’t be understated. It is a fundamental pillar of successful company culture. Without it, that culture that you worked so hard to construct can come crumbling down.

The good news is that you don’t have to learn this lesson the hard way. Let’s zoom in on the three reasons why feedback matters so much:

Reason #1: Feedback helps you make better decisions.

Did you know that 65% of employees think their company is behind the curve on something in particular? Yes, sixty-five percent of employees (according to over 1,200 employees we’ve surveyed through Know Your Team). Or, did you know that almost 60% of employees feel that something is holding them back at work? Sixty-percent! Imagine trying to make a decision on a business strategy without knowing these things. When you stop to take the time to listen to what your employees are saying about what’s happening on a daily basis, you can unlock an incredible amount of insight as to what’s happening at every level of your company. Getting feedback is how you can make more informed decisions.

Reason #2: Feedback helps employees do their best work.

Employees crave hearing feedback because it helps them perform better. In a study shared in Harvard Business Review, 72% of employees said they thought their performance would improve if their managers would provide corrective feedback. For employees, they don’t just want to be patted on the back and told, “Good job.” Employees want the truth. They want to know: How can I be better? What can I change or improve? In fact, in that same study, 57% of people preferred corrective feedback to purely praise and recognition. Employees actively want to be improving, and feedback helps them get there.

Reason #3: Feedback makes you a better leader.

In a 2013 study discussed in Forbes, researchers found that leaders who gave honest feedback were rated as five times more effective than those who do not. In addition, leaders who gave honest feedback had employees who were rated as three times more engaged. Clearly, your team views you more positively the more you give them feedback.

On top of that, hearing feedback from your team is the fastest way for you to improve as a leader. Others view you differently than you view yourself. So hearing their perspective can challenge you to learn, grow, and overcome a shortcoming you had as a leader that you’ve always wanted to address.

The Feedback Road Map: Putting it into practice

Ready to give it a try? If you’ve never implemented a formal or even informal employee feedback system, you might be wondering where to even begin. Start with these articles in our blog:

👉 Be sure to also check out our Culture Question Tool in Know Your Team — our insightful employee pulse survey questions help you uncover the meaningful feedback you’re looking for. We give you 300+ questions, based on research, that help you grow as a leader and make useful improvements in your team. Give it a try and explore our Culture Question Tool in Know Your Team today.

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Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Canopy. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.