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Understand Why We Give Feedback

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the value of giving and receiving ongoing just-in-time feedback.
  • Make the connection between transparency, innovation, and feedback.
  • Explain how our approach to feedback is rooted in our Ohana values.

Impact of Feedback

These days in our Internet of Things, ever-connected world, we have opportunities to give and receive feedback all the time.

From reading and writing restaurant reviews on Yelp, to sharing our awesome—or sometimes nightmarish—vacation experiences on TripAdvisor, feedback is everywhere. Even our FitBits are telling us to get up and start walking!

Ever taken an Uber? Not only can you rate your driver on a 1-5 scale, but your driver can also rate you as a passenger. It’s true, so you better behave yourself! (We know you’re checking your rating right now.)

Feedback can be as easy as tapping a star on an app

Technology has made giving and receiving feedback faster and more intuitive than ever. And it can be as easy as tapping a star on an app and getting on with your day.

We may not have a cool app just yet to provide Uber-style ratings, but think about what life at work could be like if you and your co-workers were committed to providing each other open, ongoing, just-in-time feedback?

How much better could we all get if we made a commitment to providing each other feedback to help us learn and grow? How much better could we all be if we were open to receiving feedback from each other?

Excellent job! Thanks, tell me what made it excellent?

Many companies have seen the impact that feedback can have on culture and employee engagement. A study conducted by Gallup found that:

  • Managers who focus on employee strengths are 30 times more likely to manage actively engaged workers compared with managers denying feedback
  • Companies that prioritize giving feedback, whether positive or constructive, have a higher rate of employee engagement
  • Managers who are rated best at giving honest feedback had triple the level of employee engagement than those managers rated poorly on feedback

You might be thinking, “But I’m not so good at providing feedback.” In fact, according to a survey by Interact, a business communications firm, 70% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees. That’s no reason not to try! Actually, employees would rather hear feedback—even negative feedback—than the alternative of hearing nothing at all.

That’s right, not providing feedback is more harmful to employees’ engagement than sharing constructive or developmental feedback. Managers giving little or no feedback fail to engage their employees 98% of the time.

Not providing feedback is more harmful to employees' engagement than sharing constructive or developmental feedback

It might seem counterintuitive, but employees want constructive, negative, or corrective feedback as they believe it helps improve their performance and influence their careers. In fact, they thrive on feedback and want much more than they have been receiving.

Feedback at Salesforce

So we know that employees want and need feedback from their managers, including hearing the hard stuff. The good news: there are scores of effective methods and models for how to give and receive feedback. At Salesforce, we’ve learned that training people on giving and receiving feedback is not enough. To truly have an impact, we’re trying to create a "feedback culture"—an environment where:

  • Our cultural values of trust and transparency guide our approach to feedback
  • Giving and receiving feedback becomes the norm
  • Feedback is focused on progress, not punitive measures
  • The end goal is continuous improvement and great performance

We’ve come to understand the impact that feedback can have on engagement, productivity, and company performance. So much so, that for the first time here at Salesforce, we have called out “being open and honest in giving and receiving feedback” as one of our top goals within our company-wide alignment process, the V2MOM.

Salesforce is growing faster than ever. With all that growth comes new employees, changing goals and priorities, and new ways of getting work done. Feedback needs to come at the speed at which things change around here. It can’t just be a one-time event at the annual review. It needs to be timely, frequent, and direct.

At Salesforce, we’re not experts on feedback yet. We can admit that we have some room for improvement. But we believe that if everyone works together, you can create a culture of feedback that is as innovative and cutting-edge as the products Salesforce makes. At Salesforce, it starts with grounding our approach in our Salesforce Ohana Culture values.

It Starts with Transparency

Did we mention creating a Salesforce feedback culture starts with our Salesforce Ohana values? Well, it does. And one of our top Salesforce Ohana values is transparency. We believe there can only be trust when there is transparency. As a result, we:

  • Strive to communicate openly and honestly with our employees
  • Encourage our employees to be open and receptive to feedback, while not shying away from the tough conversations
  • Empower our employees to voice ideas and opinions to drive change within our company, industry, and communities

We take transparency so far that we even share our individual V2MOMs on our internal employee community—Chatter, so everyone else knows what we’re working on and trying to accomplish for the year. With this kind of transparency it’s even more important to give feedback fast. Why? Because sharing our plans and our goals helps us see if we’re on track, and allows us to course correct if we’re off track or if new priorities come up. There’s no room for ambiguity when we all know what we need to accomplish.

... And It Continues with Innovation

As part of our value of innovation, we challenge ourselves to think differently, work efficiently, and stay ahead of the curve.

Our leaders encourage us, and we encourage each other, to challenge the status quo, work outside of our comfort zones, and pursue initiatives that have the potential to influence the way we do business.

Step beyond the comfort zone

As managers and colleagues, it’s our job to make sure that everyone is ready to tackle new projects as strong and capable individuals and team members. The best way to prepare them for new projects and challenges is to coach and give feedback on an ongoing basis.

Let's sum it upEven within our open, transparent, and innovative culture, giving and receiving feedback hasn’t been that easy. In a perfect world, giving feedback would be as easy as the touch of a button—like with Yelp or Uber—but in the real world, there’s a little more to giving and receiving feedback well than just clicking “Like.” At Salesforce, we’re tackling this challenge by thinking aspirationally about what a culture of feedback could look like. Sound intriguing? Read the next unit to learn more.

Resources

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