Whilst the action itself of gathering feedback is crucial to a business, it is just as important that that feedback is gathered in the right context to ensure that the information gained is relevant and valuable to your businesses cause.
Leaders often fail to set the scene to participants for feedback initiatives. By failing to communicate your context, it may leave participants feeling uncomfortable providing honest and constructive feedback. This is unwanted as it means that the feedback process was a waste of time, and money, for the business.
When creating a context of feedback to participants you should:
- Clearly communicate the feedback aims and policy.
- Detail how the information will be used.
- Reassure the participant about issues such as anonymity and accountability.
- Insure that the feedback is done in a private and comfortable environment.
Anonymity and data confidentiality are important factors for concern when it comes to the feedback process. It is important that you communicate that all information will be anonymous and confidential as it ensures that participants will provide honest, valuable and constructive information.
If you’re managing surveys internally, there are often concerns about anonymity and participants may fear negative consequences. Because of this, they may be more inclined to say what they think management ‘wants’ to hear rather than what management ‘needs’ to hear. You want to ensure that this does not happen, as if it does the entire feedback process has been a wasted investment.
It is also important that managers communicate the “who, what, when, where, why and how” details to participants. It may seem like a very simple and obvious thing, but many people in leadership positions fail to explain this to their participants to ensure they understand ‘the big picture’.
You must also ensure that you are frequently encouraging and reinforcing to participants that their feedback is valuable and essential, otherwise participants may choose to not participate or forget – and without a sufficient amount of feedback responses the survey becomes less valid and useful.
Full Circle Feedback