If you’re striving to build a high-performance company, it’s only natural to focus on feedback. By sharing what people are doing well and where they could improve, you make it easier for people to know where to focus their efforts.
As a company, Enjoy believed in the importance of feedback, but this wasn’t always reflected in the employee experience. Some managers were extremely diligent about sending feedback many times a week, while others rarely shared feedback with their direct reports. Peer-to-peer feedback was anonymized and many employees neglected to offer it.
Keep reading to learn how a few small changes allowed Enjoy to build a thriving culture of feedback!
Enjoy’s High-Performance Vision
Enjoy is reinventing the way people buy the world’s best technology products. With every purchase, an Enjoy Expert hand delivers the product in as fast as four hours. Led by Ron Johnson, a former member of the Executive Committee at Apple and leader of Apple Retail, Enjoy invested in L&D early to define a people-centric culture.
With their CEO’s visionary approach to customer service, they have developed a robust and strong culture that differs from other companies, with field employees referred to as ‘Experts.’ While Experts set their own hours and work remotely, they are rewarded with the security of full-time benefits, such as salaries, stock options, and health benefits.
Feedback has always been important at Enjoy, though the level of adoption and comfort depended on team leaders’ personal preferences. This is especially true for teams that operate in the field, where communication can always prove to be a hurdle. Meredith Eisgrau, an Enjoy Field Leader, manages a team and she noted their current process wasn’t driving the engagement she knew they were capable of.
Her previous team set up a calendar system where members received notifications three times a week reminding them to give feedback, which would often be given in person. While some teams participated in this system, the company realized that their approach to feedback should be a bit more organic.
Enjoy’s New Approach
Initially beginning with anonymous feedback, Enjoy noticed this wasn’t driving the full culture of feedback the company envisioned. So, Enjoy took two key steps: They decided to teach new hires about the importance of feedback during the onboarding process and they chose to make the switch from anonymized feedback to “named” feedback, so everyone would know who was giving them peer-to-peer feedback.
Teaching new hires that collaborative feedback was integral to their company culture helped create a steady stream of employees who began their career at Enjoy with a habit of regularly giving and collecting feedback.
And the switch to named feedback led many employees to feel more comfortable giving their peers feedback as well.
Enjoy used Zugata for all peer-to-peer feedback, and found its simplicity and consistency to be game changers. Meredith says, “I can’t tell you how much I value this tool. I am so happy we have something like this.”
Observations from Enjoy: The Feedback Difference
- One of the best ways to promote a culture of feedback is by talking about it when you onboard new employees. Enjoy now introduces the concept of “collaborative feedback” to their new hires.
- Feedback should take place early, often, and consistently—and this sounds easy in theory, but in practice it’s hard to do all three!
- Feedback can flow in any direction, but peer-to-peer feedback is especially encouraged
- Good feedback is honest and transparent, involves sharing what you saw or didn’t see, and shows compassion
- Feedback focuses on what’s happening and the impact it’s having—it’s not making a judgment about the employee’s character or personality
After introducing these changes, Meredith made the following observation: “One of the biggest surprises is that it’s not just one team that’s actively giving feedback. When looking at the leaderboard every week, I’m impressed that it’s always full of different names. It’s a very clear way of showing that feedback really has become a part of the company culture at Enjoy!”
If you’re striving to promote peer-to-peer feedback, Enjoy’s experience offers two key takeaways. First, move away from anonymized feedback. If you’ve previously been anonymizing feedback, this can be a scary decision, but at Enjoy, this change led to a significant jump in participation. It turned out that employees were much more excited about giving feedback with clear context and relationships. And knowing who a particular piece of feedback is coming from can lead to increased discussions and makes it much easier to act upon!
It’s also extremely useful to introduce feedback during the new hire onboarding process. You will eventually want to get more tenured employees to pick up these habits as well, but it’s much easier to build good habits right when new employees start. It also helps reiterate your values when you bake them into new employees’ early experiences at your company.