Feedback is crucial to continuously improving performance. Everyone needs to be told how they are doing; even people who claim they do not need validation from others feel something when complimented or criticized. Although responding to feedback is natural, giving it or asking for it is a skill that needs to be learned.
Without any form of feedback, an organization may as well be operating without objectives or goals. Eventually, accidentally or by sheer luck, the goal may be achieved or the objective realized but it will never be in an efficient way and, worse, cannot be guaranteed.
Accurate, objective, and timely feedback is critical in ensuring the proper implementation of a performance review process and any continuous improvement initiative. Organizations benefit from being told what they are doing right, what they can improve, and what they are doing wrong and these should come from both customers and within the organization.
No matter what type of business an organization is engaged in, getting input from clients or customers is critical to continued success. Clients or customers are the ones driving any organization’s profitability. If clients or customers feel that an organization does not care about them and their feedback, they would not be loyal customers. When changes are made according to client or customer feedback, it leaves them feeling empowered and, in reality, they are indeed.
Appropriate customer feedback keeps an organization going in the right direction. It is an efficient way to constantly improve service levels and to confirm if your product or service is meeting the needs and expectations of their target market.
Management must keep in mind that employees are often the organization’s greatest assets. The more engaged employees are, the better their performance would be. Their feedback can help the business grow and succeed.
When employees are given the opportunity to provide feedback, they feel appreciated and contributing to the organization in a way that is on top of doing their work as best as they can. When employees know they have a voice, they would be encouraged to share their opinions. When they do give feedback, it is crucial to let employees know that their feedback would not just to be filed away, that instead it will be acted on.
No matter where the feedback comes from, it should have three characteristics: accuracy, objectivity, and timeliness. Accuracy is important because vague statements will not trigger the correct response that will be helpful and false or incorrect observations may do more harm than good. Feedback must also be objective or at least limited to the facts and circumstances pertaining to the subject. Although emotions are a big factor that lead people to give feedback—an ecstatic customer most likely will give glowing feedback while an upset one will leave a scathing one; a recently promoted employee will be very grateful while the one who did not get the promotion may be more critical—being aware of the emotional circumstances surrounding the feedback will put it in better context for the person analyzing it. Lastly, timeliness of the feedback is very important for obvious reasons; this is one instance when being late is not better than never.
As a skill that needs to be learned, not everyone would be able to give the same kind of feedback. A dispatching supervisor when asked if a batch of items can fit into the delivery truck may give a positive feedback while the truck driver may say otherwise. Another example would be a writer thinking that what he has come up with is absolutely amazing while his editor, reading it with a different set of criteria, would think otherwise.
However, there are also ways of getting feedback that are not subject to human opinion. Measurement equipment, indicator sensors, monitoring tools, and statistics dashboards are also a source of feedback. Using pre-set, pre-determined criteria or values, the feedback will be less erratic but will not be able to allow for anything more than pre-set tolerances.
Regardless of manner or source of feedback, in the end, it will not be of any help if they are not gathered consistently, analyzed properly by trained staff, and acted upon by management. A firmly placed and effective continuous improvement procedure is the lasso that will harness the power of feedback.
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