Feedback is a Gift

Northeast Delta Dental just completed its annual performance review process with all of our colleagues. In addition to this, we utilize 360 degree feedback, a three dimensional assessment tool collecting input from peers, managers, direct reports and external stakeholders. 360 feedback can be used to create a development plan that is useful for both career and personal growth by recognizing strengths and weaknesses. In a culture of trust, this feedback supports our mission, vision and values, and employees respond with higher productivity, morale and job satisfaction, resulting in lower turnover for the organization. 360 feedback is a revealing perspective, offering great potential, and why we embrace it as a gift.

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6 Responses to Feedback is a Gift

  1. Hi Tom,

    I came across the following article entitled “Why Are Fewer and Fewer U.S. Employees Satisfied With Their Jobs?” posted by the Harvard Business School.

    I think it’s an interesting contrast to the situation at Northeast Delta Dental. Give it a read and maybe post a comment. Don’t forget to include a link back to your most excellent blog!


    • tomraffio says:

      Hi Richard,

      I am a voracious reader so I will definitely look at that HBS article on employee satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Life evolves, technological advances grow at geometrical rates, but the universal values of respect, having meaning, being involved with strategy development and mission focus always seem to be important to employee satisfaction, so I’ll be curious what this HBS article says. Thanks for the tip. Tom

  2. Jane Dalzell says:

    I, too, believe that feedback is a gift and recently said so during a class I’m taking at Villanova on Org’l Development & Change. There was a lively discussion on 360 feedback and so many of the folks have had marginal to negative experiences; however, I found it to be a phenomenal process while at IBM for years in sales & marketing. Perhaps it has everything to do with what you mentioned, Tom, a foundation of trust is at the core of feedback being a gift. The environment must be one in which employees believe that feedback is truly given in the spirit of professional growth and improvement. I trusted the process and believed in the professionalism of my colleagues and the spirit in which they offered feedback.

    Relating this to the HBS article, perhaps more employees have lost trust in their employers, due to layoffs, cutbacks, etc. and therefore the foundation for 360 feedback is eroding. They may be operating from a basis of fear due to the cutbacks they’ve seen or the financial doom they hear in the news or hardship they see in friends, family or in the community. Operating from a basis of fear will cause unhappiness in almost every aspect of their life, and work will undoubtedly be at the top of the list as it is such a big part of our time. That’s my theory of the HBS story, anyway.

    But I will always believe that feedback is a gift.

    • Hi Jane,

      Your observation about the importance of trust between the employees and the organization completely meshes with my observations as a Malcolm Baldrige examiner. Across all the organizations I’ve evaluated there’s definitely a correlation between the level of employee trust and the successful implementation of 360 feedback and similar performance management tools. And I have a qualitative sense that effective use of such tools further strengthens employee trust–a neat feedback cycle.

  3. tomraffio says:

    Hi Jane and Richard,

    First, Jane, thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I really enjoyed reading what you had to say, based on your experience and wisdom.

    Jane and Richard — Trust in leadership and trust among employee colleagues is a critical success factor for a productive 360 process. Also, people have to be receptive to feedback, both in words and in body language. I would not be a CEO today were it not for thoughtful 360 feedback I’ve received over the years, and then me doing something with the data. It can hurt at times, but it does make you grow professionally and as a human being. Thanks again Jane and Richard. Tom R.

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