“I Want to Grow but Don’t Know How”—The Power of Feedback in Personal Development

They say that one way towards personal growth is knowing your weaknesses and confronting them. Sounds simple enough, but how can one know their own weaknesses?

When you start thinking about it and try to pinpoint the exact thing or two that could be changed for the better, it gets a bit tricky. Since an objective psychological mirror is yet to be discovered (though psychologists like to call themselves that) and an out-of-body experience is too scary, a very helpful out-of-your-own-mind perspective of yourself is feedback from closest peers. 

Feedback is a form of communication within the organization and at Scandiweb it helps both the employees and the company to grow and reach new and yet unknown levels of mastery. The rule of thumb is that feedback consists of information collection and communication processes for the sole reason of seeking improvements.

The feedback process

Let’s break it down a bit—how can you achieve personal growth at Scandiweb?

Requesting for feedback

Feedback can be either requested by an individual themself or by HR.

Requesting is simple enough: you ask your project manager, team lead, or any other colleague a question, “How am I doing so far?” and receive an approximate estimate of your current performance.

The second option is when HR wants to understand and communicate this kind of information for any specific or general purpose. Here, collecting information about the current situation is the first step. In more practical terms it means that HR would ask someone who oversees your work and is in touch with you frequently to describe the things you do with outstanding results and things that have room for improvement. This can be done either by directly asking someone to share their thoughts or by using a company-wide scale feedback form. 

Processing the feedback received

Once feedback has been received, it is not delivered raw to anyone interested nor does it simply get filed away and forgotten. All feedback gets processed with attainable and measurable goals clearly defined, within a reasonable time frame. The main question that gets asked here is: What do I do with this massive pile of information from 450+ colleagues?

This really puts into perspective the qualitative versus quantitative questionnaires that are typically used within the field of HR and psychology in general. On the one hand, more qualitative information means better and deeper insights into the situation under question. On the other hand, when you try to visualize or process this kind of information, it gets very tricky and time-consuming. Meanwhile, the exact opposite is true for numerical scales—they’re easy to interpret but beg for additional questioning afterward.

What we have observed at Scandiweb is that people tend to like short questionnaires better than longer ones. And if presented with options to either choose between selecting a number from a scale or writing a descriptive comment, they will prefer the first.

While we are still in search of the golden formula, we are currently using a feedback platform to ask people to rate the individual’s performance as a numerical value with the possibility to add some explanatory comments under each section. Then, if further information is necessary, a one-on-one call gets scheduled and we talk it through.

Communicating feedback

The last step is communication. As necessary, we’ll sit down with you and discuss current issues and goals, including how to address or achieve them. Finding the best way to approach this phase is key. How feedback is communicated will determine the success or failure of this stage.

Whether feedback communication has been successful or not is determined by its outcome: have the expected improvements been made within the expected period?

To make this happen, the one communicating the feedback needs to get their point across so that it is not only easy to understand but also realistic and fair to the person receiving the feedback.

Imagine that one of your colleagues is always late for the Daily Standup, which is one of the most important meetings at Scandiweb, and no one knows where they are at this time. In this case, we could formulate the outcome this way: “being on time for Daily Standups or communicating beforehand any changes in schedule that will affect attendance.”

What comes after? You’d want to sit down with the person who exhibits this behavior and clarify the following: (1) what their reasons are for being late and not communicating adequately, and (2) how they see this could be changed for the better.

More often than not, it is due to a lack of knowledge or awareness of how or with whom to properly communicate, if it is not the case that the person is completely unaware of some daily routines that are taking place. This is why it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of communication is to try to help the person see what could be done differently, instead of simply accusing them of displaying undesirable behavior.

Attitude towards feedback

An empathetic and understanding attitude is a MUST when going into any conversation that involves communicating feedback. Mistakes are a part of the learning process and Scandiweb is all about helping people achieve their best. This is why we take this point very seriously and try to facilitate open communication within the company and among employees.

Personal growth at Scandiweb

Scandiweb takes the growth of individuals within the company very seriously so maintaining the feedback culture as positive and open as possible and keeping the feedback flow going is very important. Encouraging people to change often comes down to getting them used to speak about their strengths and weaknesses with other colleagues and management. This is certainly not an easy task as personal and professional circumstances can be at play.

Nevertheless, it makes encouraging a feedback-seeking mindset all the more important so it is something that we talk about a lot on an individual and company level.

Here’s our final piece of advice: Change is always scary, but what is even scarier is allowing fear to stop you from growing and evolving. So don’t let it.

If personal and professional growth is something that really matters to you, we hear you. Now conquer that fear and head on over to our Careers page and find opportunities for you to join our team.

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