“Imagine the tennis great Roger Federer getting feedback on his serve once a year from his coach. 'Hi, Roger, I have been observing your serve for a year now, and I think you should serve a tad more to the left next year.' Absurd. Still, that’s what we do at work.”
Author Morten Hansen perfectly captured the essence of regular and timely feedback in the above excerpt from his book "Great at Work." Many of us know giving feedback is important. But how many of us actually find time in between meetings and day-to-day work to give feedback to our teams?
That's why we started Feedback Friday here at Matter.
Every Friday at 9 AM before our daily standup, I’ll send out a reminder to our team on our #general Slack channel that it’s Feedback Friday. It’s just a nudge to give someone we’ve worked with during the week a piece of feedback. For us, feedback is integral to our values and our overall mission. This was a good way to eat our own dog food so to speak.
The team is free to give feedback to anyone one of their peers. It can either highlight opportunities or tell someone they did a good job.
Setting aside this day and time became critical in making giving feedback a team habit. It’s so easy to forget if you don’t have a set time and a gentle nudge. After all, the work days fill up so quickly and we get so busy we often forget about feedback. I know, I’ve done it myself in the past.
Here are some best practices we’ve learned as we made Feedback Friday an integral part of our week.
When we first started Feedback Friday, the team felt awkward. They were worried that their feedback can be perceived negatively by their peers. I’ve found feedback is not black and white, neither negative or positive. Feedback merely highlights an opportunity to grow or affirm how much someone is excelling.
I loved how you did X, because of Y, please keep doing it.
Starting with positivity and giving kudos is a great way to break the ice and let someone know they did a good job. If you want to see more of that amazing behavior, a kudos can be much more powerful than sharing a criticism outright. I've found recognizing someone's good work can be a stronger motivator for improvements.
For example, did someone you worked with that week crush a deadline by managing their workload well? Or did they take initiative and push a change live to the product based on customer feedback? Then you could send them a note saying, "I loved how you made that change and followed up based on the customer request from Customer Success! Love the initiative!"
Consistency helps make Feedback Friday stick. Drop the ball one week and the next week it’ll be easier to skip. Soon the team will start to ignore any future notifications for participation. However, you can easily prevent that from happening.
The notification isn’t enough. Invite your team to add Feedback Friday on their calendar as well. That way, they'll see it up front and center every week. If you have a Feedback Master, have them send out the reminder at roughly the same time every Friday. In our office, I take turns with our head of talent to announce Feedback Friday over Slack. We’ve found mornings work better and avoids the afternoon rush to close out the week before the weekend.
One great way to spark feedback within the team is to hold occasional contest (with a prize of course!). Every once in a while, we'll add a prize to make things interesting. For instance, someone who sends out the four pieces of feedback, kudos, or thanks will be crowned the Feedback Friday champ and get a prize. In this case, picking out the new office snacks. Having an internal contest makes things fun and gets everyone to participate in a friendly competition.
Now giving feedback on Fridays is second nature to us. My hope is that you'll make Feedback Friday an integral part of your culture as well. Let us know how Feedback Fridays go. We'd love to hear your experiences and best practices. Feel free to tweet me at @bretthellman and @matterapp. I can't wait to hear how Feedback Friday will change the way your team does feedback!