By Daniel Debow, co-founder and co-CEO of Rypple
For an employee, there’s nothing worse than not knowing where you stand at work. He or she feels adrift, unfocused and unclear about whether their work makes a difference (or whether it’s advancing their career). Specific, frequent and helpful feedback can fix this. Unfortunately, traditional performance appraisals that happen once or twice a year are the opposite of simple, frequent and helpful. In fact, reviews are painful for everyone. Nobody likes them. Not managers, not employees and not you, the business owner.
So what can you do to help your team improve and give them the coaching, feedback and thanks that they desire? Here are three easy steps that will help you move towards a feedback culture at your business:
1. Every day, give someone public recognition for specific work.
This is simple, cheap and very effective. Go tell them in front of other people that it’s good work and why. If you use email, be sure to CC the team. It doesn’t need to be a big huge honking deal. Just say something nice or something specific. And do it every day. Be genuine, be specific and rotate through your team – and people will step up their awesomeness.
2. Every week, meet 1:1 for 15 minutes with every team member.
Sounds so blindingly obvious, no? If you want an awesome team with engaged people you need to . . . engage with them! Simply setting the time and sticking to it can make a huge difference. Just listen (mostly) and talk. My simple observation is that the basic habit of making space for a human conversation leads to all the good engagement, learning and relationships required for meaning at work – and awesome teams.
3. Once a month, ask your team a question and get their anonymous feedback.
We all have blind spots. Even the most attuned, open owner will have blind spots to team problems that can easily be changed with knowledge. Our blind spots can kill awesomeness, so you should kill your blind spots. If you don’t know your blind spots (and trust me, you have ‘em), a little real-time feedback will go a long way.
Just remember to lead by example and be open to receiving feedback as well as giving it. Then you’ll be well on your way to building a feedback culture at work.
Daniel Debow is the co-founder of Rypple, web-based software that great teams use for ongoing feedback and coaching. At Rypple, Daniel is responsible for marketing, engineering and product development initiatives.