Getting Feedback from Your Team

It is important for businesses to welcome feedback from their employees/team. Getting feedback is a great opportunity for growth. Does your company have the proper set up for feedback? In a recent chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, Host Kelley Plats from North American Coating Laboratories in Ohio, led a discussion about getting feedback from employees.


Ice Breaker

The chat began with participants sharing a time they recall feedback was put into action within an organization.

Ruby Rusine and the Social Success Marketing team said, “Well, we always do feedback by looking at data and then, we're asked to test the data so we can act on it.”

Host Plats replied, “Gotta love data driven feedback! The justification is helpful for buy in!”

Val W from Monofrax LLC said, “When I suggested that we name the folder for our quote and order log AAA quote & order log so it would show at the top of the computer files.”

Chris Giglio from Zero Surge said, “At work I'm always suggesting new platforms to try. The most recent was a project management software that we're now using and it's making things much easier. It helps that my boss is extremely open to new technology.”

Host, Plats said, “That is awesome! Being open to feedback opens the door for easier continuous improvement!”

Host, Plats said, “Needed a computer added to a production area so the team would have easier access to customer notes and files. The computer was added!”


Importance of Feedback

Next, participants discussed why it’s important to get feedback from your team.

Julie Basello from Radwell International said, “It's important to get feedback because multiple brains are better than one and it's critical to a positive culture and good morale that team members feel included and heard.”

Host, Plats replied, “Excellent! Collaboration and morale are great benefits of feedback!”

Rusine said, “Feedback from our team is like a superpower. It can help us improve our work, build stronger relationships, and create a more positive work environment.”

Basello replied, “Boom!”

Steve and April said, “Feedback is important as it gives us instant data to see what's working and adjust what's not while on the fly.”conversation_feedback_women

Host, Plats replied, “No need to wait! Get feedback from your team/customers/peers!”

Weber said, “Without feedback you have no idea what works and what doesn't.”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “Feedbacks are important because it fosters a collaborative and empowered environment, promotes improvement, and improves team effectiveness.”

Brett from FreightPOP said, “Feedback from your team is important because it gives you different perspectives on your work, while also ensuring that you and your team is communicating with each other!”

Host, Plats replied, “Keep communication open! Trust yourself and your team!”

Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online said, “The production team have far more insights to the manufacture of a product than management. They should be included in all conversations about making the product. Over time, they will learn to short the production whilst maintaining quality. especially if they are on Bonus. In selling, the sales team have far more hour's integration with the customer and have many insights to their behaviour, idiosyncrasies and habits. It is essential for marketing management to include the sales team in any campaigns and promotional activities. Get the feedback from those who are doing the job.”

Stepanov added, “Feedback promotes a culture of continuous learning and development. By reflecting on the feedback from your team and implementing necessary changes, you can continuously improve their skills, knowledge, and performance.”

Kati McDermith, the Manufacturing Hype Girl said, “it’s important to know what is important or valuable to them. It shows that you’re willing to be a partner.”

Host, Plats said, “To make sure you are properly supporting and challenging your team!”

She added, “It also highlights strengths and opportunities for yourself as a leader.”

David Meyer from BizzyWeb said, “That's how the team grows, and how you show your people you're listening and you care.”

Host, Plats said, “It goes being telling, it helps you show that you care. What's the saying...words are forgotten, but people remember how you made them feel.”


Creating a Culture

The chat then went on to discuss how leaders can create open and inclusive cultures for feedback.

Weber said, “All feedback is acceptable, even negative feedback. No judgment. Everyone is encouraged to participate.”

Rusine said, “Model it. Create a safe space for it. Encourage everyone to give it. Act on it.”
Host Plats replied, “Couldn't have said it better myself!”

Packer said, ‘See A1. Include the relevant teams in all deliberations. Action their feedback and suggestions and when it is done feedback to the teams to make sure they were listened to. If a team member has given feedback and it is actioned, they will be more inclined to give more.”

Basello said, “Truly listening and problem solving based on feedback. Staying close to their operation. Allowing others to make decisions or to be part of the decision-making process when appropriate. Create positivity around feedback and discussions so people share.”

Giglio said, “I think the easiest way is to have leadership personally ask individual employees for feedback. Not just people in management roles but every single person in a company. It's important that everyone feels valuable... mainly because every employee is valuable.”

Stepanov said, “In order to create one, be the first to do it. Lead your team. Seek feedback actively, be open to recommendations, and respond positively to criticism. Doing this inspires others to do the same.”

Steve and April said, “Foster a culture where feedback, both positive and negative (let's call it constructive) is encouraged without fear of reprisals.”

Brett said, “It's important to emphasize the idea that there are no bad ideas! It can be scary, especially for newer employees to make suggestions, but if there is more encouragement for them to speak up without the fear of judgement, more ideas will be brought to the table.”

Meyer said, “It's all about modeling. Listen, show you care, make it okay to raise concerns and share successes. We start every all-team meeting with wins (personal + professional) and we set aside time in each meeting for feedback and learning.”

Stepanov added, “Create an environment in which team members can freely share their opinions, ideas, and concerns without fear of being judged or retaliated against. Encourage open communication and reassure people that their opinions are appreciated and will be taken carefully.”

McDermith said, “many ideas come to mind, but I’ve always been a fan of the team giving confidential reviews of managers.”

Host, Plats said, “Show interest in them and their work! Ask them how they are doing is a great first step!”

She added, “This can tell you when you need to back off or show more support.”


What Can Derail the Feedback Culture?

The host then asked participants what can derail an honest and open feedback culture.

Rusine said, “Lack of trust. Fear of retaliation. Toxic/unsafe work environment. Lack of training.”

Stepanov said, “Fear, lack of trust, judgment, defensive attitude, and when feedback is being ignored.”

Host, Plats said, “Repeat that last one louder for the folks in the back!”

Meyer said, “Not honoring the feedback, criticizing, punishing team members who offer their thoughts, or simply not asking for feedback. It's a conversation, and you need to listen, and respect your team.”

Steve and April said, “Perhaps the feeling (whether real or perceived) that feedback doesn't really do anything, or even worse, anything negative is used against them.”

McDermith said, “retaliation.”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc replied, “Hi Kati, great answer.”

Brett said, “Favoritism, fear of judgement from employees/higher ups, lack of communication, and failure to provide a platform/system for feedback to be given/received to name a few!”

Giglio said, “When leadership takes criticism too personally and doesn't look at it from a logical perspective. This can lead to malice that makes employees afraid to offer their feedback.”

Stepanov said, “If feedback is largely used to criticize or blame, it might hinder open and honest conversations. To foster a healthy feedback culture, it is critical to combine constructive criticism with positive reinforcement and recognition of strengths.”

Host Plats, said, “Defensiveness from leadership and lack of accountability.”

She added, “You asked for the feedback, you need to prepare yourself for it both positive and negative. Also, when you mess up, you have to hold yourself accountable to your team. Owning your mistakes and holding yourself accountable have an added benefit. Showing your vulnerability can help encourage your teams to show theirs and seek out support when needed.”


How to Get Feedback

The chat then went on to talk about how to get the feedback once you’ve created the culture and you’re ready for it.

Rusine said, “You simply have to ask. It can be done thru regular person-to-person sessions, or maybe have an anonymous feedback box if there are too many employees.”

Host, Plats replied, “It is the easiest way! Why not just ask?”

Stepanov said, “Make the feedback survey anonymous if you want to encourage honest and unbiased comments. Assure team members that their identities will be preserved in order to create a comfortable environment for openly discussing their ideas.”

Austin said, “Ask for it.”

Steve and April said, ‘Make it part of work. Regular review periods for fellow employees and supervisors (anonymous reviews maybe.) For non-employee reviews, such as regarding clients or tools of the trade, make that part of a regular briefing (whether daily or weekly.)”

Rusine replied, “If it's part of the routine at work, employees will somehow be used to it as long as it's done properly, welcomed, and acted upon.”

Steve and April replied back, “I think that making it a regular part of work routine probably helps employees to "normalize" providing and receiving feedback and ingrains it in their work culture.”

Giglio said, “Ask! Most employees won't just come to you with feedback. Surveys are easy, an anonymous box for those with social anxiety, one on one talks. There's a million ways to handle feedback you just have to be proactive about doing it.”

Packer said, “Regular meetups when you simply ask. The time spent will save more time in production efficiencies, sales and many other aspects of the business.”

Stepanov added, “We do conduct monthly surveys and one-on-ones to ask for feedback.”

Brett said, “You just have to ask for it!”

Host Plats said, “Ask for it!”

She added, “Asking a specific question can get the ball rolling. Examples include: How can we make meetings more effective? Do you feel your ideas are being heard by the team? Are you feeling supported by leadership?”



Next, participants discussed the first thing that should be done when a team member provides feedback?

Austin said, “You really should say thank you!”

Rusine said, “Listen and acknowledge, then say thanks.”

Host Plats replied, “It really is good manners!”

Austin replied, “2 Words, Thank You, are just so powerful. This has nothing to do with anything but one of my pet peeves is the word Thanks. It just seems so laisse fair.” feedback_conversation_laptop

Packer said, “Whatever the feedback... Listen. Confirm you understand. Give them a time for follow up. Thank them.”

Brett said, ‘I think the very first thing you should do is thank them for taking a look at your project/idea/solution and actually sharing feedback with you! That can be scary for some people, and a simple thank you can take away a bunch of tension/anxiety from the situation.”

Host, Plats said, “Exactly! Often people don't know how others will respond, so setting the tone with "thank you" can make a world's worth of difference.”

Steve and April said, “The magic words (besides please)”

Stepanov said, “Say thank you, of course! Their feedback is valuable.”

Host, Plats said, “Thank them or show gratitude.”

She added, “Even when it is tough to hear, feedback is vital to continuous improvement and as leaders we need to be sure to express our appreciation for the information provided by our teams. If you need to, ask clarifying questions or for examples so you have full understanding. Taking the extra step to problem solve can also be beneficial for both your and the employee’s development.”


Now What?

Finally, the chat shared what should be done with the feedback received after thanking the employee/teammate.

Rusine said, “Clarify, then, make a plan, and if within your power, act on it.”

Packer said, “Action it, and provide feedback to the originator. If they do not get feedback from you, you will have broken the loop.”

Stepanov said, “Review and analyze, create a plan, and put them into action.”

Steve and April said, “Review the feedback with them to make sure you understand it and are on the same page. Sometimes people can initially view the issues with different perspectives based upon their position, or degree of involvement with the issue.”

Host, Plats said, “Action it! Sometimes the answer will be no, but it is important to action and respond to each piece of feedback. When you leave someone hanging or they don’t see progress, team members may be discouraged.”






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