How am I doing at work? The importance of feedback.

No one talked.

The boss did not call meetings. We worked in silos thinking that everything was going on well with the world. Until, one day work became an autonomous unchallenging tryst with life itself.

A very common situation. During the mid-1990s, I worked for a boss who sat just two feet away. A very nice man but he never believed in feedback. If asked, he would shrug his shoulders and say: “You are doing just fine.”

Managerial feedback is as important as workplace harmony. As human beings, our innate curiosity makes us ask: How and Why.
“You’ve got to look into the mirror before giving feedback to others,” says Suzanne Peterson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “Giving and receiving feedback enhances your credibility,” Dr. Peterson said at a recent coaching session I had the good fortune to attend.

How many of us have asked (or rather dared to ask) direct reports about our own performance? I’ve done it and it has helped me immensely. In one instance, a direct report said: “You need to tell us clearly what you want us to do and then let go.” Translated, it meant: “Shut up and trust me with my work.” I understood clearly that trust matters.

Here are some common sense tips to improve feedback:

  • Make a list of what you do once every two weeks
  • Share  important achievements and challenges with your boss
  • When good things happen, let your boss know. This adds up during your performance review.
  • Jot down key accomplishments as they will help you in your career
  • Always keep an eye on where you want to go (make better lists)
  • Seek feedback from direct reports and peers
  • Even if your boss doesn’t respond, keep sending lists. We all know  that record keeping helps.
  • Finally, believe in yourself. We can improve and help others be better.

Nonprofits Must Leverage Corporate Need for Employee Engagement

Businesses are beating prior forecasts and over half in the Standard & Poor 500 have registered at least a 6.7% growth, says a recent article in USA Today. How does this impact nonprofits?

This fast pace of growth is creating greater nonprofit-business partnerships. In at least two nonprofit business forums I attended recently, community relations managers have courted nonprofits to offer greater engagement opportunities for their employees.

The days of checkbook philanthropy are over. Employees want to get plugged in with charities that matter, that really do good. Human resources divisions in companies are also seeking greater community engagement programs for employees.

According to Renee Levin, Community Engagement Manager at Intel Corporation, “a logo on the wall is not what’s needed. We like to have our employees present.” Levin urged nonprofits to help her figure out how she could effectively log the hours of Intel employees volunteering at different charities. This shows a tactical shift in corporations wanting to see greater community engagement among their employees. Intel gives $10 per hour to the charity where the employee volunteers but not many employees are logging their hours.

At Arizona Public Services (APS), employee volunteerism takes center stage in their relationship with non-profits. With 30% of their staff eligible for retirement, community relations is working with HR to align their priorities so that they can give new opportunities for non-profits for board placement. According to Julie Coleman, Corporate Giving & APS Foundation Leader, non-profits should look at “many touch points,” when they discuss funding opportunities with businesses.

At Petsmart Charities, Joy Chesbrough, Director of Philanthropy wants to work with nonprofits that “understand the business goals of an organization.” Their focus is now on sustainability, diversity and inclusion and pet-parent bonding.