From education to employment

How to Develop a Culture of Feedback For Educators And Administrators

Yauhen Zaremba

Feedback cultures are a subject of intense scrutiny for business admins, HR teams, and educators.

The reason for this is obvious: teams that communicate effectively are well-positioned to address and adapt to challenges in the workplace. Maintaining a positive feedback culture will motivate your team members to work harder, ensuring your business remains competitive in its sector.

However, a disconnect between the tiers of authority (e.g. between worker and manager, or teacher and student) means that a culture of feedback can quickly break down. Once that bond of trust has been lost, it is very difficult to renew.

A recent report by Zippia illustrates this nicely. Firstly, they found that 65% of employees desire more feedback. Moreover, in teams where a culture of feedback has failed, 4 in 10 employees are actively disengaged from their work, resulting in a higher staff turnover rate and lower productivity.

Are you new to the world of feedback cultures, or are you an expert simply in need of a refresher? Regardless, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to develop an effective culture of feedback. We will cover some of the main strategies used in the world of work today, and how to draw valuable conclusions from your findings.

What is a feedback culture?

Simply put, a feedback culture is one where every group member feels safe to report their concerns to a superior. This may apply to a workplace, a classroom, or in any social setting that constructs a pyramid of authority.

Developing a culture of feedback is not a simple task. For group members to come forward, they must expect their feedback comments will be welcomed, listened to, and actioned promptly. Often, the individual must also have some vested interest in the overall success of the project, or else they will not care about improving the system.

We will explore all of these topic areas in the following sections, listed chronologically for your convenience.

How to encourage a culture of feedback

The first step to creating a feedback culture is to actually receive that feedback in the first place. There are several ways you can encourage this.

Maintain clear lines of communication

Firstly, you need to create a communication structure that is accessible.

In office or classroom spaces, the person that receives feedback should introduce themselves to the team, making it clear who they are and when to speak to them. In dispersed teams, you should structure your communications platform accordingly, such as by providing links to an online feedback form or email address.

You should always provide the opportunity for issues to be escalated beyond a team leader or supervisor. Your employees must know that their concerns will be valued by everyone in your business’s structure, right up to the CEO themselves. It’s important to drive home this workplace culture as early as the recruiter contract template in order to boost confidence in your company’s value system.

Host regular surveys and feedback forms

As well as providing open lines for communication, you should also approach your team members regularly for their opinions.

This is because some employees or students may feel overwhelmed by submitting an official document. Of course, these people still have important points to make, they simply need guidance on writing feedback. You can foster this development by creating a workplace environment where everyone is invited to speak from their perspective.

Image sourced from Glassdoor 

How to effectively respond to feedback

The way you respond to feedback is just as important as being open to hearing it in the first place. Else, what use would an employee have for reporting an issue if they feel it will fall on deaf ears?

This section covers the best ways you can respond to feedback to ensure it is worthwhile and that the main points stick.

Use the correct language

Listening to feedback is inherently conversational.

You want your team members to feel comfortable bringing up issues whenever they feel strongly, in both formal and informal settings. For this reason, HR teams must always be on their toes and prepared to listen sincerely whenever an issue is raised.

The best way you can ensure this is by training your staff on the friendliest and most receptive conversational qualities. For example, by taking adequate pauses when listening to feedback and never interrupting or speaking over the employee. For in-person settings, body language is just as indicative as speech, which is why you should maintain eye contact to show sincerity and respect.

Above all, you want your employees to feel welcomed. The same goes for your HR team. They should know when to call off a conversation or escalate an issue to a higher authority. There’s nothing wrong with taking a breather too, or approaching challenging topics in a group environment.

Tackle critical feedback with transparency

Another important feature of feedback cultures is the value of empathy.

You must see things from your team members’ perspectives if you are to respond in a way that pleases them. Communication is key here, and you should strive to keep employees in the loop on feedback points they have raised.

One solution is to implement a ticketing system. Once an employee has opened an incident ticket, they may receive notifications of status changes by SMS or email. This demonstrates the stages of your feedback when something has been escalated, or to whom it has been directed. It also provides a log of communications for future reference.

Of course, there are some topics of conversation that should not be spoken about in a feedback system. Namely, private confidential details of an employee, client information, or trade secrets. You must be clear on these issues to cover your legal responsibilities. That means writing any relevant clauses into the employment contract from the offset. Or, if you require a quick remedy, you may prefer to use a simple NDA template free of license.


Feedback cultures are not just desirable, but necessary for the proper functioning of a team.

When a team neglects its workplace culture or communications strategy, workflows will grind to a halt as people stop speaking to each other. In educational environments, it will undermine the authority of the educator as the responsible and trusted point of contact.

A culture of feedback may only be developed when approached from a holistic standpoint. That means you must consider the whole; the experience of your team members from start to finish. After all, the better you respond to feedback, the more likely an employee will feel motivated to write it in the first place.

By Yauhen Zaremba, Director of Demand Generation, PandaDoc

Related Articles