Feedback culture. What is it and how to build it?

An organisational culture based on feedback determines the success of a business.

In today’s world, success for a company is not only about high sales turnover, innovation or continuous development. Special attention is also paid to developing the best possible organisational culture, so that employees come to work with joy, feeling needed and appreciated. A good workplace climate plays a very important role, as employees feel more willing to develop and the team strives to achieve common business goals.

What is organisational culture?

Organisational culture is a set of norms and attitudes that are accepted and required in an organisation. Management has a key influence on the type of organisational culture. The values and beliefs presented by managers and, consequently, the communication style they display ultimately influence the atmosphere in the company.

Organisational culture describes the organisation’s activities, i.e. how the company treats its employees or customers and how committed the employees are to achieving a common goal. Four types of organisational culture are most commonly described in the literature:

Hierarchy culture

This is the type of culture most often found in large multinational corporations and is characterised by a formal and structured way of working. The main motivation for activities in this mode of work is efficiency and accuracy. The presence of multiple professional levels in the organisation translates into limited interpersonal contacts.

Clan culture

Clan culture is most often found in small, family-run companies, where there is an informal atmosphere. The atmosphere in this type of organisation focuses on: maintaining friendly relationships based on caring and willingness to help, and trying to treat everyone as a partner. An example of a clan culture is family businesses in the specialised services industry.

Market culture

A type of culture that emphasises performance, competition and results. We are most likely to encounter this type of culture in sales companies. The focus on continuously increasing profits translates into a competitive and even hostile attitude towards competitors. Distribution companies operating in a strictly competitive environment are an example of a market culture.

Adhocracy culture

This type of organisational culture is found in dynamic organisations that are characterised by a great willingness to take risks, constantly evolving and adapting to market changes. Teams in this organisational culture are constantly modernised and their composition is adapted to current projects. This type of culture is very common in advertising agencies, creative agencies or research establishments.

Every company develops its own corporate culture, which is a resultant of the history, values, goals but also the size of the organisation. We may find that organisations will have characteristics from all four types of culture described above. However, as these are times of globalisation, open borders and therefore greater employee awareness, a new organisational model is increasingly being talked about, namely the turquoise organisation.

Turquoise organisations differ from other organisational cultures in that there are no managerial positions in the management strategy and all employees are on an equal level regardless of experience or seniority. In such companies, the foundation is laid on mutual support among employees, which is based on trust and cooperation. According to the author of this approach (Frederic Laloux), thanks to a turquoise organisational culture, each person feels valued and accepted, and building on an employee’s talents and strengths, as well as the ability to implement employee-initiated ideas, increases the commitment of working people and translates directly into company profits.

How do you build an effective and feedback culture?

The key to building an effective organisational culture is regular feedback – not only given on a scheduled (once a year, once every six months) cycle, but above all given on an ongoing basis. A culture of feedback increases employee engagement and motivates employees to continuously develop and work on themselves. According to research on feedback conducted by the consultancy Zenger Folkman, moreover, 92% of respondents believe that well-provided constructive feedback significantly improves a company’s financial performance[1].

What tools support the building of an organisational culture based on feedback?

Nowadays we have a whole range of tools (e.g. Feedback 360 degrees, engagement survey) that can support an organisation in building a feedback-based organisational culture on an ongoing basis. 

By making appropriate use of the available tools, we increase the effectiveness of both giving and receiving constructive feedback, which consequently influences the development and better functioning of the entire organisation.

What should we pay particular attention to when using tools to support a feedback culture?

The use of modern HR tools contributes greatly to the development of an organisational culture based on feedback. However, the key to success is to use them properly. Unfortunately, many organisations make mistakes in their use, which significantly affects the lack of expected results or may even have negative consequences. In order to minimise the negative consequences, it is necessary to know and be aware of the most common mistakes we can make.


Author: Przemysław Groszfeld (Junior Content Specialist)



[1] https://www.hbrp.pl/b/pracownicy-chca-byc-krytykowani-a-ty-unikasz-negatywnych-informacji-zwrotnych/lU2Tmyxf