5 Ways Feedback is Essential in the Workplace

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importance of feedback

5 Ways Feedback is Essential in the Workplace

The feedback loop one of the key components of “effective” work communication. It’s the response that should occur in reaction to an action or behavior. It helps us adjust, improve, or react in an informed way connected to data.  Come to think of it, we can hardly operate without the system of feedback. At workplaces, however, the context of feedback varies so let’s discuss this essential topic.

When was the last time your manager gave you feedback on your performance at work? We bet it took you more than five seconds to recall it. In an organization, a feedback-rich culture is mandatory to optimize the productivity-scope. While there are companies that fail to incorporate this indispensable element, there are also many companies who include it but get it wrong.

How Essential is Feedback in the Workplace?

According to research by Office Vibe, more than 25% of employees have not received as much feedback as they would have liked. Unsettling, yet not surprising. Feedback is the cornerstone of successful management communication, and if it’s lacking, this limits the scalability of a business.

In the workplace, there are primarily three types of feedback:

  1. Positive feedback: Provided to congratulate and commend the performance of an employee for encouragement to keep up the good work.
  2. Constructive feedback: Suggestions or comments to be used for improved behavior or performance.
  3. Negative feedback: Must deliver with care, as it can be destructive to an employee. Done well it should be focused on giving criticism and devising a mutually acceptable plan.

In addition, each type of feedback is essential in order for employees and companies to thrive. We must be careful not to only focus on the first two and forgo the third one which is naturally avoided and creates a negative vibe between employee and manager. The importance of a complete loop of feedback, from positive to constructive to negative, is crucial for a healthy and continuously improving culture.

The bottom line is that the stash of information found within the feedback loop of an organization is gold in relation to assessing the health of that organization. Let’s review the 5 ways feedback is essential in the workplace.

importance of feedback at work

5 Ways Feedback is Essential in the Workplace

1. It Provides Employees With a Map of Performance

Imagine going on a voyage without a map in your pocket. You may pressure your memory to recall the route, look for signs here and there, and assume (the worst-case scenario) the way to your destination. However, at the least, this in unpredictable, stressful, and unnecessary.

The same goes for work. If you give insufficient feedback to an employee, they tend to become excessively self-criticizing, insecure, or even self-flattering. This puts a break to their improvement, barring the way for constructive growth. Employees may judge themselves on their overall success instead of focusing on their professional development.

For instance, an employee can confront the manager if there is no promotion in the third consecutive year. Only to find out later that he/she was not assertive enough yet. Anyone would wonder why this particular feedback was not given earlier. It has lost them another year of promotion due to fostering a wrong idea of professional competence.

2. It Helps Critical Growth and Improvement

Of course, as understood by the previous point, feedback at the workplace is a driving force for growth and advancement. Relevant feedback, provided by the manager, allows individuals to perceive themselves in a different light. Feedback from colleagues can differ from the one given by a senior. Therefore, while a feedback loop between colleagues can be productive, it’s not necessarily as constructive as feedback from a boss.

A combined set of feedback from every working relationship unravels different aspects of an employee. For example, feedback from team members can help determine where someone is in their leadership development. Specifically, how it influences other members of the team. An employee can choose whether they will take in this feedback. On the other hand, the feedback from a senior will provoke change and fuel growth. Constructive, as well as negative feedback, such as a punctuality-warning, when applicable from a senior, is valuable. Feedback on someone’s method of working/behavior is critical to employees’ development and the overall productivity of a business.

3. Feedback is Motivating

Being appreciated is perhaps the only real source of motivation at work. Employees working tirelessly can become demotivated. Have you ever felt demoralized at work because you weren’t given the heads-up you deserve? Yes, we’re talking about the positive feedback loop, which celebrates work well done. It encourages others to do better, driven by the sense of purpose that their work is seen and acknowledged. Feedback helps integrate value to a working system. You know what else? This is based on our neurology and the fact that our brains release oxytocin and dopamine when we are given positive feedback. And when that happens, we feel good.  

A weekly or monthly recognition at work can boost the morale and self-confidence of employees who rightfully deserve the appreciation. Between organizations, positive feedback can help formulate wiser business decisions and foster better working relationships. Let’s go to the fourth way feedback is essential in the workplace.

4. It Cultivates a Healthy Working Environment

Peer-to-peer feedback cultivates an environment where one can easily resolve small issues, team members are friendly and compatible, and the entire staff can be active and engage. Another study by Office Vibe reveals that 4 in 10 workers become disengaged when they receive little to no feedback, often distancing themselves from avenues of growth and finding it difficult to remain focused on “good-job-done” at work.

Looking into the future, the generations of millennials and Gen Z are more than ever craving feedback. Therefore, feedback is essential to develop positive working relationships and engage employees within the organization for the overall success of the organization.

5. If You’re an Executive, It Helps You Keep Track of Employees

Providing feedback in the workplace – to staff and employees – allows you to keep track of your workforce and reveals how many of them applied the feedback into their work and how many dumped it into the bin. Without establishing a feedback loop, you can’t determine the true scalability of an individual, and thus, his/her effectiveness and potential to remain a part of your team. Similarly, giving feedback will help distinguish your “assets” who can accept constructive feedback and incorporate it maturely.

Conclusion to Feedback and Why it is Essential in the Workplace

The importance of feedback extends beyond annual appraisals or reviews. A feedback-rich culture at the workplace is about promoting a regular and fluid form of feedback-communication that values, criticizes, and builds growth and relationships.

If you’re in a situation where you aren’t getting the feedback you need, you may be asking yourself how you can influence a change. We invite you to talk to your boss in your next one-on-one and ask for more constructive feedback. It’s also important to know exactly how you will make your next promotion: what do they need to specifically see from you in order to know you’ve reached that milestone? What are the success metrics? Keep tuning in for information on this topic and more.

Check out our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers who offer complimentary 25-minute phone sessions to help you apply the importance of feedback to your team.

We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.