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feedback kultur etablieren

Establish a “how to” feedback culture - with brains

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Many companies have a desire for an established feedback culture. But what does it exactly mean? Because everyone loves definitions, we start with a definition of the term: 

Definition of a feedback culture

What is a feedback culture? It is characterized by mutual trust among all collaborators, across hierarchies communication and regular feedback on how it works, performance and impact on outsiders. 

Importance and advantages of establishment

The question often arises, what are the advantages of establishing a feedback culture? First of all, it is the case that giving, accepting and implementing constructive feedback can simplify and make the work process more effective. 

Anchoring this in an open feedback culture brings the following advantages:

So you can see: A lived feedback culture not only has a positive effect on the work process, but also on the working atmosphere. 

A Study by Amadeus Fire GmbH also shows that the more satisfied employees are with the feedback culture, the more satisfied they are with the work in general.

And who would not like to have satisfied, motivated and effective employees? 

Well, we now know what a feedback culture is by definition and what are the advantages of establishing it, but how can we determine whether it is actually being lived?

Assessment: Is the feedback culture practiced?

Although many people are aware of the advantages of an established feedback culture, many companies unfortunately do not fully live it. The Randstad work barometer 2019 shows that only in 35% of German companies is feedback given annually. 32% of companies, however, never give feedback. If feedback is given, it often happens in an inappropriate way: 30% of the respondents stated that they did not know how to react to feedback, 24% take negative feedback personally and 21% feel uncomfortable when they receive feedback. 

Given the relevance of feedback, these results are rather poor. Hiltrud Werner, board member of Volkswagen AG, even says that more feedback could have prevented the Volkswagen emissions scandal (s. Schielke, 2018). 

"It is not easy for everyone. Both for the feedback provider and for the feedback recipient. The team just has to understand, it is worth thinking along, discussing and trusting my own gut feeling that it is worth opening your mouth. "

Hiltrud Werner, board member VW

Therefore, there are now integrity ambassadors at Volkswagen who should ensure that a culture of discussion is lived and implemented. There should be no more scandals in the future and regular feedback can be helpful.

Many companies are aware of the importance of a functioning and established feedback culture and have established one in their company or are in the process of developing it. 

The topic of “feedback culture” is a trend

The trend is towards feedback culture: Young companies in particular are using this for themselves. Many startups rely on establishing a feedback culture, especially since younger employees, so-called Millennials, Request feedback for optimal further development. Accordingly, feedback cultures are becoming increasingly important in order to attract and retain new potential workers. 

But not only young companies have recognized the benefits of regular feedback. Even large companies such as SAP, DB and Telekom want to move away from the classic annual appraisal interview (Armin Trost, s. Schielke, 2018) and are therefore looking for new ways. 

A feedback culture is more than an annual employee interview, which also means a psychologist Armin consolation (s. Schielke, 2018). Rather, it is about regular exchanges and constant feedback. The feedback culture must therefore be lived and, above all, implemented effectively. But how?

How to: Establish feedback culture

First of all, it is important to remember that feedback is not the same as criticism. Rather, as the word already says, feedback is feedback. And as such it should also be used. There are several Tipsthat show you the right way to introduce a feedback culture. 

Our tips are: 

  1. Think about what you want to say beforehand
    If you yourself are not clear about what your message is, it will most likely not reach your counterpart as you planned. So make sure beforehand what the core message of your feedback should be.
  2. Always say something positive
    The feedback is there to illuminate the work process from all sides. So always speak up about things that went well. At best you use that Sandwich method: Praise, criticism, praise. 
  3. Feedback doesn't always have to be negative
    Regular praising of things that went well is also part of a good feedback culture. Even if there is nothing to criticize, you can and should give feedback: Then only positive things.
  4. Speak from the first person perspective
    Do not formulate the feedback as a reproach, such as "You have ...", but formulate an ego statement "I feel / perceive ...". Feedback is always subjective and this should be clear from the wording. 
  5. Always ask the other perspective
    Almost every story has two sides. So always ask your counterpart how he felt. So you come to a common denominator and build mutual understanding.
  6. Ask for feedback on your own initiative
    You don't always have to wait for feedback! Feedback not only helps the entire team, but also everyone individually in their personal development. Get active feedback to keep growing. 

The whole thing should take place at short intervals, for example 1 to 2 times a week. 

Take your time consciously. The introduction of a feedback culture is not a punitive or control function for anyone, but should help everyone, both individually and collectively, to develop. 

How can Echometer help?

A simple way to establish a feedback culture is to introduce regular retrospectives.

What are retrospectives? A retrospective is a regular meeting of a team in order to shed light on past work steps and, based on this, to derive suggestions for improvement for future cooperation. You can find more details in our FAQ read about it.

An easy way to introduce retrospectives is with our digital coach Echometer. Echometer helps to moderate the entire retrospective workshop. So that managers or similar roles do not require any preparation time at all and are guaranteed to speak about the right things.

With Echometer, you keep moving away from scheduled, scheduled employee reviews. Feedback is established in the daily work of your teams. With Prime Directives in the retrospectives you follow a “blame-less approach” and help each other to grow and improve. 

Just try it out, because how too Henry Ford already knew:

Whoever does what he already can always stays what he already is.


Amadeus Fire GmbH (2015), feedback culture in the company and employee satisfaction, accessed from: https://www.amadeus-fire.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Auswertung_Ministudie_AmadeusFire_v1.5_web.pdf

Anseel, F., & Lievens, F. (2007). The long-term impact of the feedback environment on job satisfaction: A field study in a Belgian context. Applied Psychology, 56(2), 254-266.

Benz, J. (2018), 10 tips for a better feedback culture, retrieved from: https://raidboxes.io/blog/agencies-freelancers/feedbackkultur-verbessern/

Müller, C. (2018), Feedbackkultur & New Work: How good communication takes teams forward, accessed from: https://www.zielbar.de/magazin/feedbackkultur-new-work-kommunikation-19615/

Nadia (2018), Give feedback - but right: How to establish a strong feedback culture, accessed from: https://engage.kununu.com/de/blog/starke-feedbackkultur/

Randstad (2019), German bosses often give useless feedback, accessed from: https://www.randstad.de/ueber-randstad/news/20190503/deutsche-chefs-geben-oft-nutzloses-feedback

Rosen, CC, Levy, PE, & Hall, RJ (2006). Placing perceptions of politics in the context of the feedback environment, employee attitudes, and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(1), 211-220. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.1.211

Schielke, M. (2018), We need a new feedback culture !, accessed from: https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/arbeitswelt-wir-brauchen-eine-neue-feedbackkultur.976.de.html?dram:article_id=428226

Shipper, F., Hoffman, RC & Rotondo, DM (2007), Does the 360 Feedback Process Create Actionable Knowledge Equally Across Cultures?AMLE 6, 33-50, https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2007.24401701

t3n - digital pioneers (2019), Why many bosses behave like Bernd Stromberg, accessed from: https://t3n.de/news/warum-viele-chefs-sich-wie-bernd-stromberg-verhalten-1160129/



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