Engagement surveys, feedback forms, and suggestion boxes are popular feedback tools to listen to and understand employees. The problem is that these tools attract critical input by design.

It's reasonable that employees use these channels to vent their frustrations. It rarely becomes a place for positive feedback and healthy discussion. And we shouldn't have to rely on anonymity to have honest conversations.

There is a better way.

We should understand how our system is structured and observe patterns of behavior. Avoid blaming people for persistent problems.

Feedback is how we improve everything —from people to processes and systems. Here are three steps you can take to create a feedback loop that is positive and constructive.

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1. Make it a habit

Create a feedback cycle that is predictable and reliable, for example, a 3-question feedback form sent out every Friday at noon.

Feedback can be overwhelmingly harsh and hostile when employees don't know when they'll have a chance to share again. Minimize the tendency for employees to vent and share all their grievances at once by having a reliable and expected feedback channel.

A regular feedback loop allows higher priority issues to gain better visibility, and a few critical problems can be tackled at a time rather than all at once.

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