Embedding Feedback Cultures
Training in isolation does not drive change. It’s a vital part of the process but it’s not the start or the end. Creating cultures where everyone in the organisation learns to give and receive feedback, in the everyday, is when they are in their ‘Feedback Flow’. Where they are highly capable and equally motivated. This requires a clever strategy.
When we create and sustain these feedback cultures it drives engagement, gets things done and creates profitable and thriving workplaces. This is not change management – it’s sustain management. It’s making feedback an everyday habit.
This is no small feat. This will take something.
But make no mistake, it will become the most significant cultural shift you will ever participate in.
Criteria to working together
If you are serious about becoming a great place to work and one that others can’t stop talking about, for all the right reasons, then these are the conditions for entry:
This is your number one (and ideally only) culture initiative for the next 18 months
Your exec team is on board so its seen and known as a whole of business initiative
We can identify $5M – $10M below the line savings that are possible
We can identify $50M – $100M above the line growth opportunities
Allocate the resources to the implementation of the program (so it’s not just a people and culture initiative)
Minimum of 2000 employees
Problems you identify with
Performance reviews aren’t working – we are not having the conversations in between
Leaders aren’t walking the talk – our values and behaviours are still glossy prints on the wall
Our staff turnover is an issue – too high in regrettable turnover and/or too low for our non-performers
Safety is not improving – physical accidents and stress claims
We overcomplicate engagement – we are trying to move the dial with too many initiatives and can’t measure which one is making the difference
We spend too much time in meetings and not solving problems
Benefits of the program
Eliminate dependence on formal performance management and create a ‘performance forward’ review focus
Significantly improve productivity by teaching people to get things done
Create a culture of accountability and commitment
Teach individuals to own their own development and the role they play in helping or hindering a high performing culture
Sustain or become the ‘great place to work’ attention to attract and retain employees and customers
Create a significant shift in physical and psychological safety in all the good ways
What success looks like
There are two ways of looking at how we will measure success when embedding a feedback culture.
It’s the reduction in the cost of running an organisation. We call them below the line value because this is where expenses sit on a profit and loss statement. We expect to identify $5M-$10M in savings.
It also creates growth opportunities. We call this above the line benefits because this is where revenue sits on the P&L. We expect to identify $50M-100M in growth.
The program structure
Embedding a feedback culture has 5 distinct components and none of them are mutually exclusive:
It starts with YOU
Unless your people understand why and are on board the change will be near impossible. Especially the leaders. Let’s work on them first and inspire the rest of the business thereafter.
Train ‘n’ Support
Yep there is training. It’s fun, engaging and highly pragmatic. Then we ensure there are systems and processes to remind and motivate people to embed what they learnt into the everyday.
Measure 'n' Tweak
There is no point changing anything if we don’t measure it. Then we look at what’s working, what’s not and make the changes necessary to keep moving forward.
Accountability with Rigour
How ironic would it be to implement a feedback culture yet not hold each other to account on the changes? Let’s not do that. Let’s also do it with candour and grace.
90 Day Focus
Creating short spurts of change that link to the strategic plans for the team or organisation is a game changer! We create thematic chunks of change and just when people creating new habits and dip in momentum, we create a new one. It’s brilliant!
The roll out strategy
Phase 1 – Discover, educate and decide
DISCOVER the current state of the organisation through focus groups with a cross section of the organisation (role, department, region, level, years of tenure). EDUCATE and involve relevant stakeholders about the content and intended impact of the program to gather thinking and feedback. DECIDE with the execs and key stakeholders if we would like to go ahead with the program. Are we in or out?
Phase 2 – Pilot and Design
With a cross section of the organisation we will run pilot programs and redesign accordingly. Present and agree to whole of organisation rollout. Create ‘feedback challenges’ to be spread through the program. Allocate resources and create a comms strategy for the whole of business.
Phase 3 – Train and Communicate
Recruit and train Feedback Mentors across the business that are the cultural custodians of the program. Recruit and train Feedback Facilitators to deliver the training. Rollout training across the organisation (Includes a combination of online and in-person depending on role and location). Include post training Coaching Clinics to embed the learning. Run by Feedback Mentors and/or trained Facilitators.
Phase 4 – Measure and tweak
To ensure we are aware of what’s working and what could be better we keep our eyes on how we measure success. Highlight success stories with the great results and support those leaders and managers where we are not getting the traction. Initially this will be done monthly, then quarterly, then in-line with normal engagement measurements at the ‘sustain and grow’ phase.
Phase 5 – Sustain and Grow
Just like any culture it requires attention. Here we maintain the feedback culture through induction of new staff and success stories through the organisation. It becomes part of the values and how we measure performance.