Am I ready?
How to know If your organization is ready to gather feedback
Feedback without action can be harmful. It can break down trust and destroy opportunities to gather input in the future. When I meet with organizations considering using the Pulse feedback system to gather feedback at scale, I stress the importance of being organizationally ready to implement a feedback system.
I'm often asked, "How will I know If we're ready?". Here are five indicators that you can look for to know If you are ready to take your feedback gathering to the next level.
You've already been gathering some feedback
One of the leading indicators that you are ready to scale up your feedback process is that you've already attempted to gather some feedback. Whether this is formally using surveys or informally just having conversations showing that you have already started gathering feedback is the leading indicator that you are ready to take that process to the next level.
Ask yourself when was the last time I took a complaint, suggestion, or another type of feedback and listened to it. If you can recall something recently, that's an excellent sign that you are ready to gather more feedback.
Your staff members feel safe to discuss feedback they receive
Another great indicator is how your staff reacts to feedback. Is your team fearful of the feedback that people give about them? Do they ignore the feedback your clients give? Do they believe that your clients are responsible enough to provide quality feedback?
It might be impossible to answer each of these questions. But one indicator of if you are ready to gather feedback at scale is gauging your commitment to helping your staff feel safe enough to gather feedback.
Help your staff be onboard with gathering feedback even when they know they may get negative feedback about themselves.
Your organization has a growth mindset
Does your organization look at failure and negative experiences as a chance to grow? Have you had experiences recently where your team actively improved something? Do they believe that they can get better at their jobs?
These are all questions that revolve around one thing: Having a growth mindset. The purpose of feedback is all about improving your organization, and without a firm belief that you can improve, that feedback can go to waste quickly.
When you believe you can get better at what you're doing, every piece of feedback becomes an opportunity for growth. To be ready for a formal feedback system, start building a growth mindset in your organization.
You are ready to help bring awareness to your feedback process
Are you ready to spend some time pointing out your new feedback process to your clients? Do you have someone that will make posters? Are you willing to put your kiosks in a high-traffic area? Will your staff point your clients towards the feedback system when they have complaints?
One of the keys to success with implementing a feedback system is ensuring that your clients are aware of its existence. That might seem so fundamental, but many organizations will go through the effort of building a feedback process only to never put in the effort to tell anyone about it.
You need your feedback system to be the talk of the town, and that's going to require some effort. It doesn't require a lot of effort, but it needs introductions, explanations, and occasionally some handholding as things get going.
Don't stress about it, as it only needs to happen for a short time until, eventually, your feedback process will just become another part of your cultural identity. Just like any habit - give it three weeks of effort, and you won't even notice you're doing it in the future.
You are committed to acting on the feedback you receive
All of the above indicators are important, but they all pale in comparison to this single question: Are you ready to do something with the feedback you will receive?
If the answer to that question is No - then you should not implement a feedback system. You are not ready, and you've probably got more significant issues to work out in your culture and organization.
If that answer is Yes, no matter what your other indicators might say, you should start gathering feedback and acting on it. Nothing will build a culture of trust quicker than showing you are willing to listen and work.
These are some indicators to gauge if you're ready - but just the very fact that you've read this article means that you are probably more than ready. Too often see organizations that spend way too much time trying to perfect their feedback process before actually gathering feedback. Often months and even years are spent talking about listening at the expense of genuinely listening.
The best way to start building an organization that is ready for feedback is by gathering feedback and committing to act on it - everything else will work out If you do those two things.