How to Cultivate a Feedback Culture

If you have a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth, would you want someone to tell you? Yes, of course, you would want to know as soon as possible!

BUT don’t you find it a little difficult to tell someone else that they have spinach between their teeth? It can be awkward.

  • Do you tell them in the middle of the meeting right when you notice?
  • Do you pull them aside and share privately?
  • Can you simply point to your teeth and hope they get the message?

And this is for something as simple and seemingly straightforward as spinach in your teeth! That’s exactly how it is with feedback. It can be difficult to say but people want to know.

🌟So how do you create a positive culture where feedback is happening every day at your organization and across all levels?

  • Set the expectation and foster a growth mindset. Share with all employees that feedback is a critical component of all high-performance teams. Feedback is a gift and an opportunity for growth and development.
  • Make it safe. Employees must trust that they can share feedback without fear of retribution. Offer training so all employees, and especially managers, know how to give feedback directly and sincerely and receive feedback openly.
  • Create the space. ASK for feedback multiple times and in multiple ways. Provide different opportunities and channels to offer feedback – 1:1’s, team meetings, town halls, recognition systems, engagement surveys, and more. Giving and receiving feedback will become a habit and a key component of the employee experience.
  • Acknowledge and respond. Listen actively, follow up, and develop a plan. People often stop sharing feedback if they don’t feel like it was heard or if action is never taken.

🌟One way to encourage more feedback at your organization is to share tools that employees and managers can easily implement:

  • Spot Coaching: This is in-the-moment feedback where you share quick tips and advice. It’s effective because it’s so immediate and relevant.
  • After Action Reviews: This is a great tool to use after a project or milestone is complete. You can hear feedback from everyone: What worked well? What did not go as planned? What would we improve going forward?
  • Plus and Wish: You can use this tool after a team meeting or event to gather insights. Everyone shares one “plus” or thing that they thought went well and everyone shares one “wish”, something they would like to see in the future.
  • Continue, Start, Stop: This is a strong tool to facilitate 1:1 conversations. Share 1 thing they can continue doing, 1 thing they can start doing, and 1 thing they can stop doing.
  • Colleague Check-Ins: Help facilitate conversations between peers as well. Especially with more hybrid work environments, these connections often need to be more intentional and planned. Challenge employees to have a 15-minute colleague catch-up each quarter.
  • Quarterly Check-Ins: These are so powerful in keeping lines of communication open and employees engaged. For inspiration on what you can ask in these routine conversations, take a look at examples from our JB Training quarterly check-ins.
  • Office Hours: Provide open space for employees to share feedback that may come up during the week. This could be virtual or in-person, and it provides a dedicated calendar block for real-time communication.
  • Stay Interviews: Take some of the questions you typically ask in an exit interview and ask employees proactively so you can get ahead of potential challenges.
  • Colleague Kudos: Have a recognition system or a team meeting where colleagues can give “shout outs” to their peers. It’s incredibly impactful to hear praise and appreciation from a colleague.
  • Stay Curious Huddles: Foster a growth mindset by holding team meetings where individuals can share something they learned or a new perspective they gained.

By using these tools and fostering feedback every day, you are building more trust, communication, collaboration, and progress. Feedback is truly the breakfast of champions.

🌟 If you are struggling to get started, we encourage you to reflect on the below questions and tackle these challenges.

Self-Reflection Questions

  • Why do you sometimes struggle to give feedback at work?
  • Have you experienced a situation this month that warranted feedback but you didn’t give it? What has the impact been?
  • Can you think about a time where you had a successful feedback conversation? What helped it go well?


  • Schedule a 1-on-1 feedback conversation this month. Make it happen!
  • Ask a colleague to give you feedback on a project this week.
  • Parlay these skills to your personal life, and share direct feedback with a friend or family member. Let them know about the spinach!