Organizational Consultation XXIV: Feedback (Part One)
A third team building benefit is often overlooked. A team must identify the criteria that underlie an evaluation whenever either an individual or programmatic evaluation is initiated. As a result, the intentions of the organization inevitably become clearer, and more tangible and relevant to those working in the organization. It is only when “the rubber hits the road”—that is, when the accountability, evaluation and feedback systems are taken seriously—that an organizational charter is also taken seriously by employees. If an appreciative feedback system is built on the foundation of a clear statement of intentions, then the activities of an organization will inevitably be aligned with these intentions.
Function Five: Identification of Staffing Needs
Feedback can be used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of staff members in order to identify immediate staffing needs, and plan for staffing needs in the future. This fifth feedback function links directly with the Assessment strategy, and, specifically, the creation of a Human Resource Bank. As I noted in an earlier essay, a performance appraisal system can readily be modified to generate information regarding exceptional employee skills, knowledge and aptitudes. This information can, in turn, be used to construct a Human Resource Bank and select employees who are qualified to conduct peer-based training and education programs. When used in this manner, individual and program feedback can serve as a linchpin for all five of the other appreciative strategies being presented in this series of essays.
Deficit-based feedback can also partially serve this fifth function. When performance appraisals are being conducted with all employees, then the staffing needs of an organization become quite clear. The skills and knowledge that are absent in the organization are readily identified. This analysis of deficits can guide organizational leaders in their recruitment of new employees or in their creation of new training or education programs. Nevertheless, an appreciative feedback system that focuses on strengths will ultimately be of greater value to leaders as they put together an integrated human resource development plan for their organization. You need to know what resources you already have before planning for the acquisition of resources you don’t have. This is another key element in creating an appreciative organization.