In 1983, Bandura and Cervone carried out research into feedback and published the result of a range of trials they'd conducted on a group of 80 cyclists. The group had been split equally into four small training groups on the following basis:

  • The first group received clear performance goals.
  • The second did not receive goals, but did benefit from regular performance feedback.
  • The third group was given goals at the start and feedback throughout.
  • The fourth group was the control and got neither goals nor performance feedback.

The performance of all four groups was closely monitored.  The third group improved by nearly three times as much as the others.

This research demonstrated how feedback is an essential component of effective change.  No matter what environment you're working within, constructive feedback is a crucial tool for creating a healthy environment, boosting productivity and engagement, and achieving better results for individuals and the organisation.  The more thorough the feedback, the greater the opportunity for self-awareness.  Through it, we gain a better understanding of ourselves.   We are then empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify aspects we'd like to make improvements in.  

As we begin to prepare for our annual reviews at Pick Everard, I'm excited about a new 360 leadership insights tool we've developed. We've considered the behaviours our leadership team will need to demonstrate in order for the business to collectively succeed in Plan 25, our new five year strategic plan.   Uniquely, we wanted to link this directly to our five strategic pillars and we asked ourselves: if we're to succeed in the People Pillar or the Innovation Pillar, what do we need to see from our individual leaders?

The tool provides an opportunity for well-rounded feedback in a similar way to other 360 feedback tools, however the focus is strongly on onward personal development.  We're looking to create a sense of individual journey tied to Pick Everard's journey and, together, shaping a stronger collective future.   As we prepare to pilot the tool I'm considering how do we sustain effective feedback as a business whilst we're all remote and not visible in the same way we once were.  

Feedback is even more important when we're all working remotely.  There are key ways in which leadership teams and HR can help support a feedback culture across different locations. This includes actions such as continuing to hold meaningful regular one to ones with staff, making feedback a habit within teams and regularly tracking progress against team and individual key performance indicators. 

Training people in how to structure feedback is also crucial.  In designing Pick Everard's 360 leadership insights tool with our Senior HR Advisor, I gave two members of my team the opportunity to give me some 360 feedback.  Both expressed how they hadn't been trained on giving feedback before.  Now that we're remote, it is worthwhile investing more time in helping people understand how to deliver feedback successfully  - both in person and virtually.  We're even more reliant on the context,  the tone and a range of concrete examples being shared productively than ever before.  

Connecting with colleagues regularly, making deliberate efforts to stay visible and sharing personal and team successes are other important behaviours to support the feedback process as we continue in our 'new normal.'  We have to get creative in how we're seen by others, assert ourselves and communicate in new ways.  As we continue in this next phase of the flexible working revolution consider how you can stay top of mind to others or observe the efforts of your colleagues in a new ways.