• Lauren Barker

Feedback Fridays: the Secret Shortcut to Healthy and Professional Feedback Culture

Updated: Jul 28

The cure to feedback phobia? Frequency.

Here at Ethena, we’re big fans of feedback–giving feedback to one another, asking for it from our colleagues and customers, and receiving feedback on the things we make and the way we make them. When love direct feedback, especially when it’s given with kindness and tact. Because we’re at our best when we’re all trying to be better, and the training we make wouldn’t be possible without the 500,000+ pieces of feedback we’ve received from our learners up until now.

Feedback is what moves our organization forward, from our product to the way we work together as a team.

In this post, we’ll cover why feedback matters for organizations, how it helps them grow, how we build and maintain a feedback culture in our workplace, and some advice for creating a similar feedback framework. For our fellow feedback fans, we’ve also included a sample feedback template that you can take to your next strategy or feedback session. Check it out below or click here to download!

Why does feedback matter, especially in a growing organization?

  • It helps leaders make the right choices for the company, both big and small. This should be obvious, but successful companies rely on things like internal (employees) and external (customers) surveys to know what’s working and where to dig deeper.

  • Frequent feedback helps teams work better together and encourages growth. Ideally, it keeps employees and managers happy since everyone is able to communicate openly. And, in the worst case scenario, there are no surprises when someone leaves the organization.

  • Feedback from customers should shape your product! If they’re buying for a certain reason, you know to keep that consistent (and invest in improving on it). Not only does customer feedback serve as an indicator of where to fix things, it also gives you the first indication of what’s going well and how to improve.

  • Customer feedback is also an easy way to refine your future brand. As Ethena’s CRO Arnie Gullov-Singh says, "The way your current customers describe your product is the way you should describe your product to your future customers."

So, how do you make feedback an essential to the culture of your workplace?

Our Shortcut to Feedback Culture: Feedback Fridays

Here at Ethena, we use weekly, one-on-one feedback sessions between direct reports (and colleagues who work closely together) as a way to both prompt feedback and foster better communication between team members who work together on a daily basis.

Why we emphasize weekly feedback sessions:

  • Regular feedback can solve a lot of potential headaches well before they snowball out of control. If you’re checking in weekly, monthly, or quarterly, everyone will have a better understanding of what problems need to be solved, faster.

  • Regular feedback also helps ease minor frustrations we might have early while celebrating the little wins week-to-week. (Goodbye for now, impostor syndrome!)

  • Giving and receiving feedback is a difficult-to-master communication tool that helps you build better working relationships faster. (Another great idea? Using a “How to Work with Me” User Manual.)

How “Feedback Fridays” work:

In each Feedback Friday, each team member begins by answering two main questions: “What’s going well?” and “How can we level up?” These should be answered for yourself, your colleague, and the team at large. This is a great way to share the positives of the week, which includes celebrating little wins and tracking progress for yourself and your team. On the other hand, the weekly feedback sessions help individuals and teams break down what isn’t working and creates the opportunity to find the solution(s) together. A good phrase here is “how can I/the team support you or help you solve this problem?” This way, no one feels like they’re on their own when issues arise, empowering everyone to address mistakes head on.

General Advice for Giving Feedback

Ask for permission! This allows employees to be more prepared to receive feedback and in turn makes them more receptive to it.

Use positive language. Reframe what needs improvement in a positive way and avoid negative language. A couple good examples of phrases to use for this are: “this is your biggest area of opportunity,” meaning where someone needs to improve, and “let’s work on this going forward,” indicating that the employee has your support.

Be practical and relevant. Let your employees know that you understand the challenges they’re facing. Set up a recurring meeting to discuss both ongoing and new goals and to celebrate progress. Focus your feedback on what is relevant to the workplace.

Stats to prove it.

Latham & Watkins wrote about our unique and effective approach to harassment prevention. It’s less boring than it sounds!

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A company using Ethena could reasonably expect to face fewer enforcement actions and to be less vulnerable to liability for sexual harassment."