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Talent Management – How badly do we seek feedback?

Publication Date: Jun 06, 2019
 

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Written by Daniela Chetchuti

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Effective talent management allows organisations run smoothly.  When it’s done right, it motivates employees and develops talent, which in turn ignites continuous growth with the organisation.  While there are a few key factors that make up a strong talent management system, one critical piece of the puzzle that cannot be overlooked is ongoing feedback.

At its worst, feedback is that loud disrupting warp of sound that comes from holding an output device, like a microphone, too close to a loudspeaker.  Similarly, this can happen in organisations, where well intentioned communication comes off as unclear and ambiguous. However, feedback at its best, is valuable information that can be used to improve team dynamics and performance.  In its most desirable form, feedback is a coaching exchange that resolves employee frustrations, strengthens relationships between peers and management which ultimately boosts productivity.

meet and greet 1.JPGThe ‘why’ giving feedback is important, is a no brainer really.  It motivates.  Strong leaders intentionally give confidence boosting feedback, because employees who feel empowered are better able to accomplish ambitious goals.  It creates a sense of purpose.  The feeling of belonging and fitting-in with a company exceeds the desire to work simply for a salary at the end of the month. By its own virtue, inviting employees for an open exchange of ideas, also helps to spur innovation.  Furthermore, fostering an ongoing loop of feedback is not just about making employees feel good; but it is also a powerful retention strategy that can contribute towards a higher performance drive.

Many studies stress on the need for an increase in constructive feedback.  One study carried out by Glassdoor, one of the largest recruiting companies having world-wide reach, said that among its clients, 81% of employees are motivated to work harder when their managers show appreciation for their contributions.

But it is not just a nod or a pat on the back, there is a proper way of providing feedback consistently to produce effective results. Furthermore, showing curiosity by asking the right questions is also a vital part of providing ongoing feedback. One does not need to make overwhelming changes to the current talent management mechanisms, but simple tweaks to serve as building blocks goes a long way.

Managers should not wait for half yearly reviews.  Issues can pile up and if left unsaid, a potential minor issue could become quite complex to tackle.  Ensuring such an open relationship with employees, by the time the half yearly reviews come around, managers will not feel overwhelmed with having to address a myriad of issues that could have been avoided in a piecemeal way. Another shortcoming with simply relying on such reviews is that problems may be forgotten by the time of the reviews are due.  Structuring weekly dialogue will make tracking and supporting a colleague’s work much easier, with feedback occurring almost instantaneous.

Helping an employee progress should always be the goal of constructive criticism and going back over past mistakes will deter the effort and objective of giving feedback. Furthermore, if negative but constructive feedback is required, then this should be relayed to the employee at the beginning of the meeting.  By leaving the problem communicated at the end of the meeting, any words of encouragement given at the beginning of the meeting will be forgotten.  It is also important that managers understand that as much as praise for some people is better delivered in a private meeting, far more importantly is to give negative feedback away from a public arena.  Some people just do not like being the centre of any attention.  Which brings up the next point.  One-to-one meetings over coffee, potentially; even leaving the office as an informal meeting helps to change the dynamics of employee-manager relationship.  Employees will feel more at-ease and helps create a healthy environment where open and clear communication becomes a practiced skill.  

meet and greet 3.JPGQuestions, are core to any thriving team, department or organisation at large.  Part of being successful in supporting employees, clients, or any other stakeholder is the ability to ask the right questions; regardless of their complexity or sensitivity. Making it a habit to ask questions may return answers that can help teams gain a better understanding of their construct, culture and the ultimate product/service being developed.  Asking questions outside the usual task-based routine is also another way of garnering strong feedback.  Managers should consider asking questions, among others, around how to keep morale, about building / improving on the organisation’s culture, and on how to increase cross-team collaboration.  Once such questioning become habits, and thus an improved open communication could be felt, deeper questions requiring more profound thought could be addressed. Such as employees’ growth and progression expectations, their alignment with the organisation’s core values, vision and culture. 

As already mentioned, there is no need for any major overhauls to an organisation’s talent management strategy.  Starting small with some of the actions highlighted and allowing for organic growth is the best way to achieve measurable results.  Acknowledgment and offering thanks to individuals who offer feedback is the golden rule; where people will feel that their voice is heard and are encouraged to continue offering valuable responsive communication.