The Power of Feedback in the Workplace

By Stephanie Reyes via tribehr

Feedback, in any system or organism, is an essential element of growth and improvement—and in the most extreme cases, even survival. It is defined in various ways. The most relevant definitions for the purposes of Human Resources and Organizational Development are:

  1. Merriam Webster: Helpful information or criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, etc.
  2. Oxford: Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.
  3. Free Dictionary: The process by which a system, often biological or ecological, is modulated, controlled, or changed by the product, output, or response it produces.

Feedback in the Workplace

In the work environment, feedback (ideally) flows in all directions, as well as between the organization and related external parties. Some of the most common sources of workplace feedback include:

  • objective data and metrics
  • peers
  • reports
  • managers and supervisors
  • executive
  • customers, suppliers and partners (flowing to)
    • front line employees,
    • the broader organization; or
    • the public via reviews, social media, etc.

Aside from objective data, which simply provides statistical information and metrics without specific intent, most feedback takes the form of praise, constructive guidance, or simple criticism.

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