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Enhancing Corporate Culture Through Honest, Open Feedback

Employee FeedbackMany articles tout the benefits of providing regular feedback to employees:

  • Improved productivity
  • Increased engagement
  • Reduced turnover
  • Revenue goals

While all of these true, with plenty of evidence available to back them up, you also need to make sure your performance evaluation process aligns with your company culture.

At CQuence Health Group, we have a very purposeful culture of Accountability.  Such a culture relies heavily on providing and seeking ongoing, regular feedback.  Our company is made up of accountable people and, in order to drive that accountability, open feedback is crucial.  By creating a system that allows for the timely two-way exchange of feedback between the manager and their employees, we have improved our culture greatly.

Key Results Provide Meaning to Interactions

Along with open feedback, aligning employee objectives with corporate goals is a best practice we use to drive performance.  We define our own corporate objectives as Key Results – Growth, Profit, Customer Service, Accountability, and Employee Development.

Each year, the goal associated with each Key Result is shared with all employees.  Each goal has a visible measurement associated with it, and we consistently update employees on the progress we’ve made toward achieving these goals.

Employees naturally want to know that the work they do has meaning.  We want to know that what we contribute on a daily basis has a distinct impact on our company and the world around us. Understanding how our goals relate to the overall company objectives gives us purpose and creates increased motivation for greater performance.

All of our individual employee objectives align with the Key Results mentioned above.  This transparency allows employees at all levels of the company to see the difference they make for CQuence, driving motivation, productivity and culture alike.

Coaching Success

This transparency is possible through the strategic use of coaching sessions between managers and team members. Making a shift to regular coaching is an ongoing process itself.  We train managers on how to have meaningful conversations and we have put systems in place to document these sessions.

We also take feedback from managers and employees on the process itself, as we know that it is okay to make some adjustments along the way. Two years into this process, we determined that the vendor we used was not the right fit long-term.  We took matters into our own hands and developed our own performance management tool in house. Since then, we have been able to create an easy process that managers and employees find much easier to use.

Our Philosophy

We ask that managers meet with their employees at least once per quarter.  Some managers meet weekly, many meet monthly, but we require a quarterly check-in.  Regardless of the frequency of the conversations, the purpose remains the same; keep the lines of communication open between managers and employees in order to effectively engage and manage performance.  These regular check-ins can be casual, and managers are generally comfortable enough to follow a relaxed structure to make sure time spent together, whether it be over the phone or in person, remains valuable.

We emphasize that these conversations should be forward-thinking with a focus placed on growth and development.  While employees identify and own their development, we ask that managers keep these concepts front and center when they meet with employees.

Plans are individualized.  We recognize that not everyone aspires to be in a leadership role and climb the corporate ladder.  But we do want to see employees continue to be challenged and improve their effectiveness in their roles.   When an employee feels supported by his or her manager, they are more likely to invest in the company and become loyal.

Keeping it Simple

Giving feedback to employees on a regular basis does not need to be overly complicated.  We encourage our managers to design a process that works for them and their team.

We’ve implemented a user-friendly system specifically designed to easily document these conversations.  We do not have overly complicated forms, opting instead to use a basic guide to help managers touch on key areas.  The questions managers are encouraged to consider are:

  • Are the employees meeting their objectives?
  • What additional training is needed to be successful?
  • What are some recent accomplishments?
  • Is there anything standing in the employee’s way of doing his or her job?
  • What feedback do they have?

These basic questions can open up an important dialogue between manager and employee.

Throughout the year, as these conversations are documented, the employee’s “review” takes shape.  Through the process of regular conversations, employees know where they stand. It’s not based on a 4-point scale or a convoluted rating system, but on transparent, sometimes difficult, feedback.

The Takeaway

Frequent coaching sessions are needed for employees to succeed, but that transition doesn’t happen overnight.  We have high expectations for managers at CQuence and its partner companies to make sure they are investing in their employees.

Finding time in the day can be difficult, but taking the time to hold meaningful one-on-ones and individualizing them to what each employee needs will pay dividends in the long run for employees, managers and the organizations they represent.

Lynn Owen
About Lynn Owen

Lynn Owen joined CQuence Health Group in 2014 as an HR Business Partner. Lynn graduated with a B.S. in Communications from Wayne State College and received her M.B.A. from Bellevue University. She has earned her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification and her Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification.

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