Your employees won’t feel comfortable giving criticism overnight. Instead, follow these tips to help your employees feel more comfortable giving (and receiving) criticism so you can create a feedback-rich culture.
1. Set the Example
Like any other aspect of company culture, you set the tone. So, set the example for feedback, too. You have to be open to criticism (no matter how uncomfortable) so you can learn your company’s weaknesses. Then, be transparent and honest about how your company can grow and improve.
Once you show that you’re willing to accept feedback and act on it, your employees will become more and more comfortable sharing their thoughts with you.
2. Build a Culture of Learning
If your employees value learning, they’ll always be looking for new ways to grow and improve, so they’ll be more open to criticism– since it can help them grow.
You can’t just send out an employee survey or hold performance reviews once a year and expect to build a feedback-rich culture. Instead, regularly check-in with your employees to get their thoughts on you and your company and to give them feedback (because no one should ever be surprised during a performance review).
4. Highlight How Feedback Has Helped You Make Decisions
If an employee gave you feedback that you used during the decision-making process, let them know. Don’t just tell them you made a decision, but explain how their comments helped them make the decision.
If you never act on your employees’ thoughts, they’ll stop giving them to you. But, if you explain how you’ve used their feedback, they’ll keep sharing it with you.
Not everyone knows how to give criticism constructively, and not everyone knows how to gracefully receive and act on it. Teach your employees how, when, and why to give feedback.
You can have them go through role-playing exercises to practice giving and receiving criticism in a safe environment.
7. Strike a Balance
When you’re giving feedback, don’t just give negative feedback. If an employee only ever hears negative feedback, their motivation will decrease and they’ll be less engaged. They’ll start to think that they’re failing at everything.
On the other hand, if you only give positive feedback, your employees won’t think they have to improve, so they won’t try to.
You should strike a balance – give both kinds of feedback so employees know how they can improve, without feeling defeated.