In the current scenario, communicating business and individual goals, sharing strategy, and giving constant feedback on the team’s progress require an effective process. The concerning issue of employee burnout rose significantly post Covid-19 majorly due to the remote working model leading to ineffective communication between tween leaders and employees. A recent McKinsey’s report suggested that a staggering 49% of employees feel burned out for similar reasons. While companies are exploring the different work models, our communication and feedback methods at times are still limited to just delegating work or communicating on how to do tasks. Post Covid-19, considering working conditions, whether working from the office or remote working, feedback mechanisms between employees and leaders must be further engaging.
Set the Context:
Setting the context to your discussion can be comforting for your team member and helps them to come prepared for it. Lack of clarity before a feedback session can raise anxiety levels of team members leading to stress and panic, especially in a remote working scenario. Leaders may even want to decide whether to conduct feedback sessions in a formal or informal way. Don’t assume what works for one person will work for every person.
At Puretech Digital we recently introduced People Vision, which is an aspirational chart for its employees. It is similar to a company’s vision, but this is built on the core values of the company culture to further strengthen the goals and ambitions of the teammates and the agency.
Being hyper-focused may not be the right approach for Leaders to reach the finish line. In a hybrid or remote work environment, such an approach leads the entire conversation to become transactional. Feedback sessions should not come across an employee as a checkbox list where a task is assigned and completed, leaders provide feedback, and the employees tick the task off their list. The team should feel open to discussing their growth personally and professionally with you.
Your rapport with your team will never be on a deeper level beyond work and that calls for trouble for the young professionals who have just finished academics and are pushed into the remote working culture without spending valuable facetime with leaders.
Leaders should avoid the one-off question and rather deep dive into their career aspirations, developing new skills and learning initiatives. Allow them to gain a deeper understanding of how the job role is aligned with company goals so that they can grow confidence to take up advanced projects. Remember, productive communication is a long-term process with frequent feedback of showing keen interest in your employee’s growth and overall development.
A key objective of any feedback session is to ensure your team member has understood the set expectations, feedback is taken positively, and is motivated to take on the tasks assigned. To achieve this, Leaders should start the discussion by asking team members about their experience so far, whether good or bad and what has helped them grow or hindered their growth. The feeling of being heard works as confidence and a motivational boost for employees to express themselves. This ultimately helps employees to open up and lead to a transparent discussion. It also brings to the fore a few more points that may have been missed in setting the context of the feedback session.
Instead of formal forums, informal catchups work well to keep a pulse of what is working and areas to improve. It also creates another informal communication channel where anyone can discuss topics or issues that are top of mind.
Constructive Critical Feedback:
Critical feedbacks are often important for a team’s overall development and leaders cannot just shy away from it thinking their image of a good boss may go for a toss. Instead, leaders should be the ones whom the team draws inspiration from. In remote working, such feedback can dissipate if not perceived correctly. Face-to-face meeting often helps to convey such feedback in a better way due to clarity of context, tone, body language, and visibility of the information. The discussion should result in employees getting the confidence that the feedback will help them in their personal and professional growth. A few additional points to keep in mind –
Conversations should be transparent and to the point.
Avoid excessive criticism that may hamper the morale of your team.
At the same time, celebrate the success of the team even if these are small joys and contributions as an individual or team.
Appreciate/reward an individual or a team in a larger forum.
Ask for Feedback:
We as leaders should be open to team members’ feedback about us. Let’s avoid a scenario of employees holding back their views about us, leading to a communication gap and working in silos. One of my learning from the study of human behaviour was to deep dive, self-introspect and understand how people perceive me as a person. This helps in improving self-awareness and forming a better equation with the team. Ask your teams for ideas on process improvement. You never know, the best of the best solution might come from them, and execution of those ideas often boost their morale as well.