Employee feedback is bigger than HR, it's a conversation

Cal Tokorangi
Cal Tokorangi | July 30, 2021
Employee feedback is bigger than HR, it's a conversation

We need to challenge the idea that employee feedback is only good for measuring employee experience and job satisfaction. When feedback is a two-way conversation, the applications are endless.

Making work better through conversation.

This approach to employee feedback shifts the focus from traditional HR methods - I’m looking at you, annual employee surveys - to a tool that builds all areas of your organisation. A two way conversation model encourages two things: a growth mindset from all involved, and action at the edges of the organisation.

When we have a growth mindset, we know that giving and receiving feedback helps us change for the better. We accept that we may come across challenges, and understand that overcoming those will lead to more positive outcomes, now and in the future. We know that we’re helping ourselves, our environment and the work we do, better through conversation.

Action at the edge adopts an ‘all-in’ mentality that flatlines once siloed structures. It means that leaders and their teams can act on feedback without having to work everything through HR. Feedback goes to the people who can make something happen with it, and more action takes place at the individual level. Closing the feedback loop means employees can clearly see their feedback contributing to positive change.It also creates a culture of change, setting the standard that the way things operate today may not serve us in the company we’d like to be tomorrow.

How can embedding this ‘feedback as a conversation’ model benefit your organisation?

When open and honest conversations are the norm, culture improves. Employees are more mindful of the things that affect their own work and are more likely to speak up about them, knowing something will happen as a result. Open feedback may seem like a difficult thing to master, but once people see the value of talking about work, they begin to embrace the opportunity.

Senior leaders can see in real time what is happening in the organisation. No longer something that needs to be planned out, rolled out and results slowly collated. They can engage with people leaders or even individual contributors about their feedback; letting them know that their feedback is valued. This gives executives an opportunity to explain wider organisational strategies, helps everyone understand the business direction, and ensures everyone is focused on delivering the right value to customers.

Annual employee surveys and performance reviews are slow, outdated processes and can’t surface the countless micro opportunities for change that make an impact on employees' day-to-day work life. Continuous two-way communication and authentic conversations encourage openness in every part of the organisation, leading to more agile and proactive ways of working.