Good two-way communication is vital for any relationship – but especially when it comes to running complex organizations. This flow helps to deliver information from areas of need to those who can drive the proper response. Timely feedback is so essential that businesses see a significant return on investment from a ServiceNow implementation project plan, for instance, which keeps the entire team on board with changes. Here’s how feedback makes a difference on every level.
Employee performance and development
Managers know that employees are among the immediate beneficiaries of feedback. Yet this potential gain can be wasted if the information isn’t delivered soon enough. You can imagine someone working on the front lines of customer service, for example; they won’t have trouble recalling an interaction from earlier in the day, but if the supervisor tries to coach them about it a day or two later, the impact of the feedback will be lessened as the employee’s focus shifts to a new day’s worth of customers.
When feedback is given promptly, it takes less time to coach an employee while also increasing effectiveness; the incident is still fresh in their memory. A high level of self-awareness can be rare among workers, and even those standout individuals still benefit from their manager’s different perspective. Being coached in this way not only improves employee performance, but motivation as well – it shows workers that their job, and how they do it, matters.
Management and decision-making
If you’ve ever driven a car with a manual transmission, you know that there’s a highly tactile aspect to this experience; the driver develops a feel for the machine and the road, more so than with an automatic transmission. Similarly, managers need to develop a sense of connection with their people – and timely feedback is crucial to this as well. Communication should not be a one-way street; effective organizations encourage their employees to speak up and be open with leaders regarding concerns or suggestions they have.
In their role as decision-makers, managers will greatly appreciate the need for information. If employees aren’t comfortable with a manager’s style, they will be less receptive to instructions and less open in communicating their needs, potentially creating an information gap between the productive workforce and the upper levels of an organization. On the other hand, management that effectively partners with employees will be attuned to their needs, take steps to address them and uplift morale and performance.
Improving customer experience
In the book The Limits to Growth, it’s demonstrated that delays in feedback lead to societies falling into a pattern of overshoot. For example, industries don’t have any incentive to operate sustainably until they receive evidence that their processes are hurting the environment. Such feedback delays have been a major contributing factor to many of the environmental problems we face today.
Likewise, businesses ultimately serve their customers’ needs; progressive delays in transmitting feedback throughout an organization will lead to customer frustration. Suppose you were to report a product issue; customer support acknowledges the feedback, then months down the line, a new version of the product is released, which still has the same flaws. Not only would this be a disappointing experience, but it shows that the organization doesn’t take action on feedback – and you might be better off taking your business elsewhere. Prompt transmission of feedback throughout the system would lead to the appropriate response and better customer experience.
Using these lessons, you can apply the power of feedback at any level of the organization where you’re involved and contribute to better results.