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I Miss Upward Feedback

June 18, 2009

I miss upward feedback programs.  I know that many companies have 360 degree feedback programs, but those are often more formal and are used to address employees with specific development  360’s are very valuable tools but they are often not for everyone.  Upward feedback programs can be.

In my former life, I worked for a company that had an upward feedback program.  The program was anonymous and every employee had the ability to give the feedback to any person they had worked with at their level or at levels above.  This was done once a year and the survey results were sent made available very quickly to the employee online. 

Sure, there were a handful of people who used this as an opportunity to slam a supervisor, to make unprofessional comments, or to vent.  But for the most part, it was a constructive exercise.  I loved that my role in HR was not only to encourage participation but to educate employees how to give solid, constructive feedback to their supervisors.  How to word things to get the point across in the most effective way.  How to encourage the behaviors that they appreciated.  How to nudge supervisors to tweak behaviors that were less desirable. 

There were many specifics to the actual plan and how the information was used internally.  The point is that I wish more companies would offer and encourage this type of feedback.  I miss hearing from my colleagues  and subordinates what I can do better and what they think I do really well.

Do you work for a company that offers this upward feedback?  What are the pros and cons?

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