Are your feedback systems working with or against your vision and culture?

By Richard Wortley  |  2018-02-09T14:29:59

It’s widely recognised that many organisations need to develop a stronger ‘learner worker’ culture to compete successfully – innovation, collaboration and business agility are highly dependent on this shift. Jacob Morgan and other notable futurists have done great work illustrating the ‘7 Principles of Future Employee’ and what a high performing culture looks like.

So how do organisations develop this culture along with the right mindset and leadership attributes? Targeted development, recruitment and talent management are an important part of the answer, but we are moulded and influenced by the environment we operate in.

You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?
- W. Clement Stone

Setting the right platform for the collaboration and behaviours that align to your vision is fundamental. A key component is the communication and feedback systems that teams rely on month in month out to perform in their roles. Often under researched and overlooked, these systems are a huge factor in whether teams are able to deliver results. There are a multitude of surveys and feedback systems out there, but what should organisations be looking for to give themselves the best chance of success? After being around a wide range of systems in recent years (and seeing organisations both fail and succeed), here are some of the most important aspects we have seen to encourage an inclusive, collaborative and open 'learner worker' culture: 

1. Insightful at ALL levels – everyone can access appropriate level data/feedback to support better decision making (from Team Leader up to CEO)
2. Feedback is instant and actionable - important feedback is always available (real-time) to be discussed when needed and addressed within hours and days (not weeks or months)
3. Encourages local ownership – teams and departments have ownership and visibility of their own results rather than being dependant on HR or other centralised functions to produce reports or recommendations 
4. Supports constant improvement – teams and departments can share and action their own results regularly and the process can challenge improvement from both an individual and team perspective
5. Clear WIFM (What’s in it for me?) – everyone involved gets tangible benefit and value from the process. Feedback should support teams with their work and any associated deliverables each month 
6. Straight talking – language throughout is real, meaningful and relevant to those involved
7. Brings focus aligned to strategy – encourages constant front of mind around mindset and behaviours associated with the vision, values or mission of the organisation
8. Integrated – actioning and addressing feedback is aligned to regular team meetings and conversations. The process is regular, ongoing and not a standalone initiative or project (for the sole benefit of a single, centralised group or function)
9. Simple and intuitive – successful systems need to be simple, easy and intuitive. Clunky dropdown menus and long surveys don’t last and draw focus away from what's important
10. Audience Specific – there should be scope to ensure teams and departments can always understand what’s relevant to their own areas of work.

Just as no two organisations are the same, no one-size approach will work for everyone. Technology increasingly influences what we achieve and how we achieve it. It's vital to think not only about outcomes, but about the behaviours and thinking your business systems encourage. We're a product of our environment and the environment we create will have a lasting impact on the business and people within! 

To talk about how Teamgage could foster the right environment in your organisation, please get in contact with us.

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