Stop sticking your head in the sand: deploying feedback loops empowers teams to make work better

Stop sticking your head in the sand: deploying feedback loops empowers teams to make work better


5 min.
When do team members detail their feedbacks? To celebrate positive aspects of work or to underline what the team needs to improve? We analyzed more than 10.000 feedbacks shared on Steerio to better understand the structure and dynamics of team feedback.

Let’s face it, adopting new ways of working is difficult. Breaking our daily routine, getting out of our comfort zone and learning is a necessary process that most of us would be glad to skip. But remember: the journey is more important than the destination. When we help client teams setting feedback loops (with pulse check surveys), the two main resistances are -first- the fear of coping with the team real situation and -second- the risk of negative, complaining, non-productive behaviors. Therefore, we found interesting to analyze the distribution of feedback as well as their degree of detail depending on whether they are rather positive or negative.

People are generally more likely to detail what needs to be improved than acknowledging team strengths

Which feedback-grades are the most commented?

Steerio pulse check surveys consist of an individualized set of statements that each team member has to assess on a 0 to 10 scale (to see the full list of Steerio statement: register to our app here). To provide additional feedback, people have the option to comment they answers. We analyzed the likelihood of commenting on a positive vs. negative grade by studying the grade distribution of 10.000 sampled feedback. The results are summarized in the chart below:

Teams are generally more keen to comment a negative feedback than positive ones

What we clearly observe is that people are more likely to provide additional comments on negative assessment than for positive ones (the global distribution - in dark - is clearly more skewed towards higher grades than the commented feedback distribution - in green). Actually, for grades between 1 and 4 people are almost 2x times more likely to comment on their feedback.

Which type of feedback gets the most detailed comments?

The next question about feedback comment is related to their quality: do people take the time to explain why they provided a low grade or are they just providing a quick and dirty justification. To answer that question, we looked at the length of these comments as a proxy of their quality. The median and the average number of character per comment have been plotted on the chart below:

When providing feedback. Team members are likely to comment in more details detail negative feedback than a positive one.

We clearly see that feedback on low-grades gets the longest / detailed comments in terms of the number of characters. People note only provide more comments on aspects that need to be improved within the team but they also take more time to explain their assessment, highlight what can be improved and make proposals on how to make teamwork better.

Changing perspectives: everyone wants to experience great teamwork

Embrace the fact that feedback is an interactive and iterative process

Every team (like every human being) have their ups and downs. Instead of sticking our heads in the sand, it is highly beneficial to develop a collective awareness and embrace feedback as an opportunity to make teamwork a little bit better every week. In the long run, it enables to build high-performance teams and establish a great working culture within and across organizations.


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