With an old-school way of thinking, feedback can be frightening. If talent and intelligence are inherent, then doing something “wrong,” isn’t just a mistake — it can call into question an employee’s belief in their own abilities.
To encourage a culture of learning, link constructive feedback to concrete learning opportunities. Rather than instilling a feeling of wrong-doing, learning-focused feedback gives insight into organizational health, motivates employees to look closely at what is and isn’t working in their performance, and keeps the focus on continual improvement.
Say an employee’s close rate from new leads has really plummeted in the last quarter.
Some HR leaders might pull the employee aside to pressure them to do better. If you start here, you’ll miss out on two opportunities (at least!): to help the employee learn from a challenge and to gain more insight on what isn’t working in your organization.
If, instead, you have a conversation with the employee about what has changed in the past quarter and what factors are contributing to their recent struggles, you can identify, with the employee, some strategies to overcome stumbling blocks.
Perhaps you’ll learn that a recent update to your organization’s CRM has made the outreach process much more cumbersome or that a new vertical isn’t working out as predicted.
Armed with this information, you can help the employee define a learning opportunity that will solve the problem at hand, such as successfully completing a software training. At the same time, you can help your organization make smart decisions about the larger structures that are contributing to the employee’s challenge.