Feedback – the simple solution

feedback blog post imageI had a great conversation with a colleague from Richmond yesterday. We always end up talking about the HR profession and some of the activities and roles that we can play in continuing to move the profession forward. We are both very passionate about HR and the reputation the profession has managed to build in the last decade. We have been able to secure that “seat at the table” and really show executive leadership and operations that, not only do we understand HR, human capital management and everything that goes along with that, but we also understand the business. We understand the businesses that we work for. We understand the ins and outs, what it takes to make that business successful. We understand how the business makes money. We understand how the business spends money and on what that money is spent. As we are having this conversation – yet again – I happened to mention to John that after years of being told I needed to stop working for other people, I finally started my own firm – Adelante HR Consulting, LLC. I told John that the core of my company’s message is all about feedback. I am going to continue to deliver the concept of feedback as a gift. I was referring to the presentations I have been delivering in my speaking engagements over the past two years called “The Gift of Feeback.” Through effective feedback you can engage employees for organizational success.

Out of that conversation we veered off into the concept of how organizations are so laser-focused these days on the economy, cutting costs, doing more with less, working the employees, getting the most out of them, and driving performance that leaders have forgotten about the simple concept of just talking to our employees. It is amazing what you can accomplish as a leader in any organization with simple and direct conversation. I’m talking about any level of leadership. I’m not just talking about executive leadership here. Obviously, the C-suite in any organization needs to learn how to talk to their direct reports, because that I can tell you – from personal experience – is lacking severely. However, I’m talking about team leaders, supervisors, directors, administrators, vice presidents and up – whatever title you want to attach to someone that has other human beings reporting to them – we don’t talk to our employees anymore. What happens as a result is a whirlwind of miscommunication and misunderstanding, which leads to dissatisfied and disengaged employees. This leads to a lack of productivity. Both John and I have witnessed it. We have both seen this lack of simple and direct communication. John sees it in his organization – which will remain nameless for obvious reasons. I’ve seen it in every single organization I have worked in or consulted for. I have witnessed it even in the highest levels of leadership where the lack of simple conversation – feedback – has led to some costly results. It is amazing to me how organizations are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get rid of their employees, in turnover, in unemployment rates, in worker’s compensation rates from accidents resulting from this lack of employee engagement. It’s amazing to me how employers these days really don’t have a problem with spending this kind of money when all of these things can be avoided or mitigated at the very least by simply talking to employees.

I think now more than ever The Gift of Feedback is a critical piece to the success of any organization, specifically to the success of human resources professionals. I truly hope that organizations are willing to assess their ability to effectively communicate with their employees. I’m not talking about company-wide communication strategies here. I’m talking about one-on-one communication. “How are you doing? What can I do to help you? This is where I need you to improve. This is what I see that you are doing very well. Here are my expectations.”

This, my friends and colleagues, is the key to organizational success. Yes, it’s feedback and it’s that simple.

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