Providing Feedback: How eLearning Helped Us Become More Effective And Engaged
Rido/Shutterstock.com

The Importance Of Providing Feedback

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

As the Managing Director of a beverages company, I more often than not have to delegate work in order to handle all disciplines: I depend on my line managers to further follow up on tasks and give reasoned assessments of what’s working and what isn’t. However, I started noticing a perceptible drop in the quality of response received from my team. Digging deeper, I understood that the problem lay with some managers who were unable to provide constructive opinions to their respective teams so as to generate reasonable reactions. No one will argue that providing feedback is one of the most important managerial skills. Be it positive or a well communicated corrective observation, feedback is actually one of the most crucial factors in getting quality results. It also boosts team morale and brings cohesiveness in the work culture. In fact, according to a survey by PwC, 60% of the employees surveyed opined that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis and 75% agreed that feedback is extremely valuable.

So, back to our story, I noticed that some managers in our company were not specific in their feedback to their employees and in their reporting of the details of events. This sometimes manifested itself as a desire to avoid negative comments in order to protect their relationship with specific employees. Some more of my technical folks, while being great at their job, were slightly lacking in communication skills and hence ended up providing me with a vague picture, unable to articulate even everything that they knew. It seemed clear to me that the line managers needed to be provided some training to fix these twin issues of providing feedback and also capturing information and reporting it.

Implementing The Right Corporate eLearning Program

Since our plants and offices are spread across the country, gathering all the managers at one place was logistically difficult. However, a web-based training allowed participation from any geographical location. Consequently, the company decided to conduct a web-based training module for all the line managers. The idea was to use eLearning to equip the senior team with a skill set necessary to effectively and efficiently function as a whole. We went for a leading open-source Learning Management System to form the backbone of the entire training effort. I saw a report by Docebo that said the Learning Management System market was expected to grow by 23.17% till the year 2018 – clearly we are only a part of a much larger movement built around using eLearning for corporate training.

The training was specifically designed to precisely convey what was expected of the line managers while providing feedback to employees and also in gathering relevant information and feedback back from them and then in reporting it. The course, which was developed for us by a leading eLearning development company in India, was wonderful. It incorporated so many real-world examples and case studies, was extremely well-structured, and had so many built in mechanisms to keep the line managers engaged. I particularly liked the way the assessments were built like little quiz shows – fun as well as educational. There was also a kind of social aspect built into the training – ample room for every line manager to share his or her own experiences and help make the whole exercise more interactive and a community effort. Over the course of the time, the training was live; a lot of points were thrown up for discussion apart from just providing the managers with the knowledge they needed to do their jobs better. Ideas were exchanged, tips for improvement discussed, all making it an interesting learning experience.

The Results

At the end of the course, participants were provided with a self-assessment check-list to gauge where they individually rated in terms of their skills in leading a team, as well as other areas they needed to focus on to better engage with their team members. This self-reflection helped them to identify where they were falling short and the training had equipped them to put in place the necessary corrective mechanisms to address those shortcomings. While several of the important points stayed with them, we also ensured that they had long-term access to the information shared in the course, in case they needed it later.

As the weeks progressed post the session, I could see a change in the overall attitude of the managers and the way things functioned. While initially my primary concern was the way decisions and opinions were being conveyed from top to bottom and vice versa in the company hierarchy, very soon all our line managers, on completion of the training, were able to engage confidently and clearly with their team members. Basically, they started communicating well with others – clearly, specifically, and in terms of work requirements about the results produced. Once they started gathering and providing feedback more accurately, we could assess much better where we were at all times in our business. Clear exchange of ideas has started saving us a lot of time and has made us more effective as well as more engaged. I know, as the leader of the group, I am entitled to take some of the credit for the changed conditions, but I would rather bestow those laurels to our eLearning program.

Close