How to Create a Culture of Feedback

How to Create a Culture of Feedback

Feedback keeps our work environment healthy. It makes us honest and accountable.

Here’s how we’ve created a culture of feedback at Nearsoft.

When feedback is inherent in your culture, you are bound to have an interesting ride. People that are open and receptive towards feedback engage in discussions regularly; this is not only a positive outcome, but an expected one.

Living in a Culture of Feedback

Nearsoft is a WorldBlu Certified Freedom-Centered Workplace since 2008. We are proud of this and work hard to keep it going.

It can be tricky to know how to focus your effort when you work in a flat organization. There is no “boss” or “manager” to tell you what, when, and where to do something. The team is your boss, so to speak. Because of this, good communication within a team is a must, and feedback plays a major part of this equation.

I recall a coworker’s experience. He is one of the most talented people I know. Nevertheless, he was having performance issues with the team. It turns out he was dedicating most of his time to projects he was most interested in.

Of course, pursuing other interests is positive and encouraged. But not at the extent that gets in the way of delivering to your promises. There needs to be a balance. And this is precisely what came up in his 360 Assessment.

At the time, he did not take the feedback well. After giving it some thought he was able to understand the team’s expectations and work towards that. Without sharing timely feedback with him, this situation could have turned into a real problem.

Good Practices

Get to know each other,

  • One of our core values is Long Term Relationships. Feedback is part of the company DNA. We all want to know each other well, warts and all.
  • Share more than just work related things. We want to know what others are passionate about, their hobbies, how they feel, their troubles, their lives!
  • This is part of the reason we have a Team Building Week twice a year; we also have a budget for office exchanges that can be used throughout the year.
  • Getting to know one another builds trust.

Be fearless,

  • Facing things head on. Don’t wait for something else to happen; certainly, don’t wait for that precise moment (news flash, there is no perfect timing).
  • If you think it’s going to be uncomfortable, it will be. Regardless of the weather, or if you wore your lucky socks or not. We are all grown ups here, stop avoiding the issue and talk it through.
  • As in one Nearsoft core values, Be Smart and Get Things Done.

Lead by example,

  • You need to walk the talk. The only way to make feedback normal is to actually practice it normally, as redundant as that sounds.
  • Regularly ask for feedback and be open to receive it.
  • Don’t stay quiet when you have the opportunity to give feedback to someone.
  • The related core value is Leadership.

Nearsoft’s Organization Structure

I am part of the People Development Team, and we facilitate programs and processes for people. Among them we have the Onboarding process for new hires, 360 Assessments, individual Career Paths, and Mentorship.

Part of our Vision is to be a source of happiness for ourselves and our communities. This includes helping others grow.

We may not know how long we will work with someone, it might one year or ten. But we want to help them be the best version of themselves during that time.

We take our inspiration from Ubuntu: I am at my best when you are at your best.

This is How We Do it

In most traditional work settings, “feedback” is given by a manager once a year. It tends to be a checklist of performance questions. This is often tied to compensation.

In some cases, feedback may be anonymous.

Here’s the ways we do it at Nearsoft.

Day-to-Day Feedback

This is basically any casual conversation where you are able to give feedback.

Tip: Ask permission beforehand and preferably do it in private.

1-on-1

Their objective is to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to be heard and express how they feel, and to talk through any type of issue.

These meetings can be by invitation or requested by people.

People throughout the company have trained to do this in their teams.

360 Assessments

We all have our own 360 assessment every six to eight months.

It is an opportunity to,

Reflect on what went well and what didn’t during the past months.

  • Create action items to continue growing.
  • These assessments are not at all tied to compensation. They are stressful enough as it is without mixing in the subject of money.

    Orientation Feedback

    After a six-week Onboarding period, we have a session called End of Orientation Feedback. The format is very similar to the 360 Assessment.

    It is an opportunity for new Nearsoftians to give and receive feedback. It is indeed their first formal feedback session. Oftentimes people discover aspects of themselves they had never thought of.

    Formal Formal Feedback

    The feedback process comes into play help when a team identifies that a teammate is underperforming and has exhausted other means of feedback with no improvement.

    At this point, they may reach out to someone in our People Dev team for help. We act as a facilitator at the meeting and also gather information the meeting, including,

    • Behaviors and observations, as clearly as possible.
    • What is expected of the individual in question.
    • Possible outcomes, including what’d happen if expectations are not met.

    Still a Work in Progress

    We are always looking for practices that we may want to incorporate. To mention a few,

    • Defining clear objectives for each milestone during Onboarding, as Greenhouse.
    • Training ourselves to be Coaches for other teammates, as 7geese.
    • Mentors having a Three Month Check-in with new hires, inspired by the work they are doing at Linkedin

    Finally…

    Feedback keeps our work environment healthy.

    By understanding each other we are able to work better together.

    And, you don’t have to work at Nearsoft or any Freedom-Centered Workplace to practice and educate others around you about the benefits of sharing feedback regularly.

    It doesn’t matter where you are or what you do. In the long run, helping people around you grow will always be rewarding.

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