How to Build a Culture of Feedback & Recognition in the Workplace

By Sivan Kaspi, Updated on April 24, 2024, 5 min read

Here’s how we’re different from artificial intelligence—feedback doesn’t just improve our work, it also motivates us. That’s why building a feedback culture in your team increases employee engagement, productivity, and innovation.


However, creating a “culture” seems like a difficult task. Plus, how do you tell the difference between constructive feedback and unhelpful criticism?


This guide breaks down feedback culture’s top benefits and practical steps to foster it in your workplace.




What Is a Feedback Culture?

Firstly, your company culture is a shared set of behaviors and values that drive everyday work interactions.


Within that, a feedback culture describes how employees give and receive feedback across seniority levels. When done right, honest and constructive feedback becomes the norm, leading to actionable organizational changes.



Why Feedback in the Workplace Is Important

About seven in 10 employees who get effective feedback feel fulfilled at work. And that’s not the only benefit—here’s more.



Enhanced productivity and innovation

Specific, action-focused feedback helps you perform tasks more efficiently. For instance, a customer service rep might get tips on problem-solving faster and reducing customer stress during calls—decreasing issue resolution time.



A feedback culture can accelerate innovation too. Think of organizations like Apple or the Gates Foundation. Committing to excellence involves feeding back potential improvements, and re-iterating to create novel solutions.



Greater employee development

The spacing effect shows that spaced learning is more effective than “clumped” learning like yearly workshops. Regular micro-feedback (“Great color-coding in that spreadsheet!”) contributes to role-specific up-skilling and developing soft skills such as communication. Plus, it’s low-cost.



Trust-based collaboration

A positive, non-shaming feedback culture also brings teams together. When coworkers aren’t afraid to give or receive feedback, they build trust, recover easily from mistakes, and focus better on tasks and outcomes. This openness can also prevent workplace conflicts and communication silos.



Lower business risk

Timely feedback protects your business from financial, reputational, and health risks. For instance, hospitality employees might draw attention to poor cleaning practices risking a hygiene hazard. In extreme cases (like Enron’s), whistleblowers can use feedback to stop unethical or illegal management practices.



Higher employee engagement and satisfaction

Feedback, whether positive or constructive, motivates employees and makes them feel valued. Almost half of highly engaged workers receive weekly feedback – while 98% disengage with little to no feedback. In turn, engaged staff members have higher morale and satisfaction, staying with your business for longer.



How to Create a Positive Feedback Culture

An effective feedback culture isn’t an overnight achievement, but you can build a solid foundation with these practical steps.



Create formal and informal feedback channels

Clearly define the formal and informal feedback channels your employees can use. Provide details such as dates, locations, and links in your employee handbook and your online collaboration platforms.



For instance, your channel list could look like this.



Formal channels


  • Annual performance reviews
  • Monthly town halls
  • Biweekly line manager/mentor meetings
  • Anonymous employee surveys
  • Confidential meetings with HR or department heads



Informal channels


  • Daily team meetings
  • Open discussions on work topics such as projects or company policies
  • “Watercooler” conversations with team members, online or face-to-face
  • Emails or chat messages to coworkers

Normalize cross-team feedback

Many employees hesitate to give feedback to other teams or departments, thinking it’s “not their business.” Incentivize cross-team feedback with active steps like:


  • Making time in a company-wide meeting for cross-team suggestions.
  • Recommending two-way feedback between collaborating teams.
  • Asking questions in anonymous employee surveys like “Do you have any feedback for [insert name of team]?”

Keep feedback regular

Daily, rather than annual feedback motivates staff 3.6 times more to do outstanding work. Plus, everyday behaviors create a stronger workplace culture compared with irregular ones. For instance, you might say “I can see the attention to detail you put in,” when a coworker sends you a meticulous financial report.



Provide training on effective feedback

Ask your HR team or an external consultant to run feedback training workshops. Cover principles like:

  • Ask questions and listen. For example, asking a coworker how their presentation went might reveal goals or obstacles you hadn’t identified.

  • Personalize your feedback to coworkers’ personalities. For instance, cautious types value warmth and reassurance, whereas dominant types prefer upfront constructive criticism.

  • Consider the business context. Your feedback should factor in coworkers’ responsibilities and resources, plus the relative impact of your suggestions.

  • Focus on future improvements. Phrase feedback in an action-oriented, rather than past-gazing way—for instance, say “Here’s how your next update can grab people’s attention,” not “Your meeting update wasn’t great.”

  • Be specific. Provide enough detail so colleagues don’t misunderstand your suggestions. Do say: “Use the rule of three to break down complex ideas.” Don’t say: “Improve your communication.”

Extra tip: Include feedback practice in your training workshops. For instance, pair up coworkers, provide scenarios like “A needs work on their presentation skills, B feeds back,” and let them improvise.



Adopt feedback-enabling technology

Choose a platform that lets you share formal and informal feedback, track performance, and engage both office-based and remote employees.

You can use communication apps like Spike to:

  • Easily track coworkers’ feedback in one unified email + chat inbox.

  • Reach colleagues cross-departmentally with group and one-to-one messaging.

  • Personalize your feedback to colleagues globally with conversational AI and auto-translate.

  • Use voice and body language in your feedback during audio and video calls.

  • Give specific, action-oriented feedback with collaborative task tracking and document editing.

Adjust your company culture to foster honest feedback

Finally, nurture your feedback culture by adjusting other company culture elements, such as:

  • An open-door policy: Encourage employees of all levels to bring issues to senior leaders at any point.

  • Flat (or flatter) hierarchies: Respect team members’ ideas equally no matter their tenure or position.

  • Diversity and inclusion: Incentivize and value feedback from all voices in the company without discrimination.

  • Non-judgmental communication: Communicate and respond to feedback respectfully, without blame or negative assumptions.

  • Recognition: Reward excellent results, including feedback-driven improvements.



Final Thoughts on Feedback Culture

A positive feedback culture fosters innovation, up-skilling, and collaboration, while preventing communication silos and reputational risks. Strengthen it by encouraging frequent feedback, offering formal and informal feedback channels, providing interactive training, and integrating openness into your company culture.


Plus, the right communication platform makes feedback easier to provide and action. Spike lets your team share and track constructive suggestions with one simplified inbox, an AI writing assistant, audio and video calls, collaborative tasks, and more.


Get started with Spike for free today!

Sivan Kaspi Sivan is the Director of Marketing at Spike. A firm believer that the right kind of tech actually helps us use it less, she is passionate about tools that improve our lives. She starts off each morning reviewing her Spike feed over a good cup of coffee.

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