March 22, 2017

If you want my commitment, give me feedback

It's a pleasant experience to walk into an office and witness employees working happily even when the boss isn't present. What's on the minds of these engaged employees? The simple answer is their commitment to the organization. This is the power of engagement! If you're a department manager, you can harness this power, and as employees, they need feedback and opportunities for professional development.
If you want your employees to be engaged, it doesn't have to be a challenging or costly effort. By incorporating a culture of feedback and recognizing talent within your organization, you can foster commitment among your team. However, providing effective feedback is more than just giving occasional pats on the back. Here are some key strategies:
  • Performance Appraisal:
    A structured method for delivering feedback in the corporate world is through performance evaluation. These evaluations provide insight into what's happening within the organization and offer an opportunity to provide feedback to employees. You can conduct evaluations throughout the year, and if they are straightforward and efficient, employees won't tire of them. In return, they'll receive productive feedback to enhance their performance and professional skills quickly. Moreover, these evaluations can involve bosses, colleagues, or direct reports, making the process more enriching
  • Build peer relationships:
    Encouraging peer-to-peer conversations, even without direct involvement, helps build trust among team members. This allows employees to address internal issues and provide feedback to each other. As Mary Shapiro, a professor at Simmons College, emphasizes, 
"the only way to do a good job is through good relationships - the better the relationship, the better the job".
  • Take care of each project:
    It's crucial to hold a post-project meeting with the team to review what went well and what didn't. This helps you understand what needs improvement and what should be done differently in the future. Such meetings provide insight into each team member's growth needs.
  • Participatory environment:
    When addressing conflicts with employees, involve them in the problem-solving process. The more involved team members are, the more valuable and enriching the feedback will be.
  • Be Regular:
    Regular meetings and evaluations should be an integral part of the organization's culture. You don't have to conduct evaluations every month, but it should be a recurring practice. Providing opportunities for the boss and employee to discuss professional development—whether quarterly, semi-annually, or annually—is always beneficial.

Feedback has the power to change an employee's attitude. However, ensure that your team views feedback as a growth opportunity rather than an audit. Plan assessments and meetings in advance and maintain a positive tone throughout. Engagement is a means to an end, not the end itself. It's a way to make employees happier, resulting in increased productivity, innovation, and responsibility. Commitment is an investment that benefits everyone.