Feed-forward: A new approach to feedback

Employee engagement and retention is a hot topic in Corporate America and because of that, it’s time we approach feedback differently. As leaders, we must redefine the word ‘feedback’ and view it as a positive, constructive concept that can boost innovation, solve problems and build empowerment in organizations.

Within the next 10 years, Millennials are predicted to make up 50% of our workforce. As a generation, they have an unfavorable reputation but I believe they will become a catalyst for change as companies attempt to build healthy feedback cultures. Research shows that Millennials are open to feedback and expect it on a regular basis. They welcome a challenge and want to grow, so providing clear and specific feedback is necessary.

While it can be difficult to create a company culture that values healthy feedback, its benefits far outweigh the risks. I’m more encouraged than ever to see that companies are exploring the concept of feedback and how it can be a powerful tool in driving employee performance. But where do we begin with such a daunting task? I once read that if we changed the word “feedback” to “feed-forward,” our entire perception of receiving feedback would shift. I couldn’t agree more- the mental shift from looking backwards at errors and missteps to looking forwards to see potential is extremely motivating.

There are many tools to help guide leaders through the process of a feed-forward approach to feedback. Dan Rockwell shares a simple and practical look at how to approach feedback in his article, When Effort is High but Performance is Low. Rockwell outlines the components of feedback and how to leverage it as a way of coaching and developing your employees. If you want to create a positive feed-forward culture in your workplace, begin having weekly touchpoints with your employees. Even taking as little as 15 minutes to initiate purposeful dialogues around employee performance will enrich engagement and aid talent retention.

For Roam and companies across America, I envision a time when employees and their leaders approach feedback conversations with eagerness and hope. Leaders, it’s time we strive towards building a culture of purpose-driven performance reviews that pushes employees towards growth so that the concept of ‘feed-forward’ can become a normal and desired experience.