In 2018 Microsoft faced a problem . An internal evaluation of the “performance feedback” revealed that for 90% of employees it is important to both give and receive feedback. However, only 25% said they regularly communicated their opinion and only 7% received constructive suggestions for improvement. These results show that it is not only important to have systems for regular evaluation, but also to build a Feedback Culture in which feedback is given willingly, frequently and constructively. How Microsoft was able to build such a culture and what the keyword Feedback Culture actually means is explained in the following.

Feedback Culture explained

The term describes a working atmosphere characterized by openness, trust and good communication. In addition, regular, mutual feedback and status reports from employees and employers are considered fundamental. In order to establish a Feedback Culture, it is not enough to simply provide the opportunity to voice criticism or suggest ideas. It is imperative to react appropriately to the results of the surveys. This is the only way to ensure that management receives the thoughtful and proactive people that modern employers want so much.

In his comprehensive study “The Employee Experience Advantage”, Jacob Morgan explains why it is so important to react appropriately to feedback. If the company responds well to the opinions of its employees, i.e. it is implemented, the engagement score (explained by us here) can double

In other words, employees are twice as motivated and engaged as before.

How did Microsoft manage to do it?

Together with neuroscientists, the company developed new concepts for his Feedback Culture. In summary, Microsoft changed its approach to feedback in 3 ways.

  1. Consciously ask for feedback

By encouraging employees to request feedback themselves, the suggestions for improvement were more readily accepted. In comparison, when unsolicited feedback is received, the human subconscious automatically takes this as an attack in most cases and the acceptance of potential good constructive criticism is limited. 

  1. From “Get feedback” to “Gather perspectives”

Microsoft learned that exchanging just a few words can have a major impact on the connotation and the resulting mindset of employees. “Gather” compared to “getting” is an active process that starts from oneself. Therefore asking for feedback or perspectives is put in the hands of the employees.

  1. Encourage qualitative feedback 

Microsoft’s online feedback platform was rebuilt. The only possibility there for feedback requests is via a comment function. This focuses on well-formulated feedback (also called “perspectives”) and ideas for improvement. Quantitative feedback via simple scales, checkboxes or ready-made attributes has been removed

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Mutual feedback is the key

Microsoft has managed to achieve a major mindset change with just a few adjustmentsin its feedback culture. It is not easy to completely expand such transitions company-wide, precisely because it is difficult for some employees to deal with more feedback at first. But in the long run, however, one should realize that such an exchange is fundamental for the growth of the company and each individual.

These tools can help to implement the same change in your company

The goal should be to get employee feedback on a regular basis. The Microsoft example shows that this requires a process that needs to be established within the company. Certainly not everyone is able to develop their own platform for this purpose like the software giant. Fortunately, there are software tools that can be used for this. In the following we will introduce 3 of them.

The People & Culture Platform | Culture Amp Logo

Culture Amp is a powerful feedback and analysis platform for employees.

Screenshot from the feedback overview using the tool

Kununu engage Logo
Screenshot from the feedback overview using the tool

With this feedback tool, companies or teams regularly receive up-to-date information about the mood of the employees, can recognize problems early on and react to them. The surveys are anonymous.

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