Yesterday, we hosted a morning of learning all around the topic of feedback. The “Power of Feedback” event was held at the Gridiron Building in London. The event was attended by 45 people working in L&D or HR positions from a variety of companies across a mix of industries, including transport, retail, FMCG, and the public sector.
Key topics of discussion included why feedback is so important, the science behind how people respond to feedback, and the business benefits of creating a feedback-rich environment. We also shared real-world examples of businesses whose employees are flourishing in a feedback-rich culture and practical insights on how to create a feedback-rich culture in your own organisation.
Throughout the morning, Jill Jenkinson, t-three Chief Executive, talked about the importance of feedback and shared insights into t-three’s “Truth Teller” tool. Ewan Clark, Global Head of Leadership Effectiveness at Standard Chartered Bank, talked about his experience of using Truth Teller. And Dr Kenneth Nowack shared some fascinating insights from neuroscience about how people respond to feedback.
The importance of feedback and “Truth Teller”
Jill Jenkinson, t-three’s long-standing Chief Executive, was the first speaker of the day. With expertise spanning culture change, leadership and team development, organisational strategy and growth, Jill provides the strategic direction for t-three, but also enjoys getting involved in the challenges and opportunities our clients face. And she is a huge advocate of how important it is for companies to have a feedback-rich culture to help people to grow, develop, and become the best version of themselves.
Jill’s session opened up a debate as to what challenges people are facing within their organisations in terms of creating an open feedback culture. Some of the answers she received included:
- It’s hard to give constructive feedback in an organisation that has a ‘friendly’ culture – some of these people are your friends!
- One European attendee mentioned that she found the difference between how individuals think they are performing, and how their managers feel they are performing, seems more pronounced in the UK.
- It’s harder to give peer-to-peer feedback than it is manager-to-employee feedback.
Jill also spoke about the context behind the development of Truth Teller, t-three’s own feedback tool that supports individuals to give truthful and candid feedback to one another openly, without anonymising the rater. Jill shared how Truth Teller “encourages people to talk truth to each other” and stressed the importance of “people knowing the power their feedback can have.”
A client case study
Next to speak was Ewan Clark, Global Head of Leadership Effectiveness at Standard Chartered Bank. We were lucky enough to have Ewan join us remotely via video link. He spoke about Standard Chartered’s culture, why they felt there was a need to create change, and how a programme that included Truth Teller helped them to achieve this.
Their programme included a 720 Truth Teller – that is, as well as asking for feedback from managers, direct reports, and peers, employees were also encouraged to collect feedback from their family and friends, to give a more diverse perspective.
Ewan referred to Truth Teller as “a very powerful point of intervention – a slick tool that is easy to engage with.”
An insight into the neuroscience of feedback
Our final speaker of the day was Dr Kenneth Nowack, a licensed psychologist and neuroscience expert and President/Chief Research Officer at Envisia Learning and Ofactor, Inc. A member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, Ken has developed a number of feedback systems and assessments over the years and worked with t-three on the development of our Truth Teller tool.
Ken rounded off the morning with a talk on the Neuroscience of Feedback. He broke down this topic with the simple description “Understanding, accepting, and doing something with the information that we give and receive.”
As part of his speech, Ken showed a video that displayed a test where Capuchin monkeys are rewarded after completing a simple task. One is rewarded with cucumber (not very exciting) and the other gets grapes (monkey sweets, essentially.) The one with the cucumber responds by throwing the food back at the scientist and pounding on his cage – a perfect example of why it feels rough to receive unjust or unfair feedback!
If you want to learn more about Ken’s research, you might enjoy these blog posts he has written for t-three:
Overall, it was a really insightful morning and everyone in attendance went away feeling like they could walk back into their own organisations with a better understanding of the power of feedback and of strategies they could implement to build a feedback-rich culture.