I’m addicted to learning. At one point, my parents almost convinced me to go to graduate school for no reason other than the fact that I enjoyed school. Luckily, I chose a different option and started Digital Talent Agents instead, but the learning bug has not let me go just yet.
As we build our team, I’ve realized that my passion now lies not only in learning more about content marketing, public relations, startups and running a business, but in learning the ins and outs of our team, how we operate and most of all, how we can improve.
We have a continuous feedback loop in our company, comprised of one-on-one meetings, weekly departmental updates, trust and transparency in all of our interactions. Even with all of that, there are times when people need to be pushed to provide honest feedback. We do it by asking our team three key questions.
- What should we start doing?
This question allows people to share ideas they sometimes hold back because they aren’t sure if they’re in line with what our company should do. The answers to this question range from “We should start sitting in different seats in the office” to “We should start offering X new service.” It’s amazing to see the ideas your team members will come up with when you put them in the mindset of adopting something new.
- What should we stop doing?
The responses to this question are the most telling. This allows our team to call out the parts of the business they find ineffective, or the communication problems within the team they want to stop. We have removed specific processes, changed certain meetings and even eliminated services based on the answers to this question.
- What should we continue doing?
These are my favorite answers to read because they talk about the parts of our company that the team could not imagine doing without. I love reading answers talking about how we should keep being awesome, continue genuinely caring about our clients, and keep innovating our processes. This is a really important question because it allows your team to think about what is going really well with the company, as well as which aspects of the company and team culture they really value. It’s basically the “feel good” ending to the questionnaire.
I send the questions through a Google Drive form so they are easy to answer, and I get the answers automatically compiled into a spreadsheet. This also gives the option of anonymity in case your team is less open to giving critical feedback.
Our team does this exercise once a quarter, but you must find the right timeline for your team based on the feedback loop you have currently. If you don’t feel that you’re consistently receiving honest feedback on the health of the organization, you might try this exercise once a month.
Closing the Loop
The single most important part of this entire exercise is the follow-up. If you ask your team to spend valuable time answering questions, you must show them that their time was well spent. Each time we do this exercise, we hold a follow-up meeting to discuss trends in the answers, solve problems and make big decisions based on the answers. Since most of our employees choose not to remain anonymous, I also take the time to respond to each person individually to address any personal concerns. This is what really makes this exercise beneficial; you’re not only asking your team for input, but you demonstrate to your team that you value their feedback by acting on it.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.