Do people actually want it? Do they want to get better? These questions often come up when we tell people about our services and features at Rypple. People are often skeptical that other people really want to learn how to improve through constructive feedback. Well, based on some recent academic work on Rypple’s data set, the answer is clear:
The answer is YES.
Professor Nicole Gravina from Roosevelt University conducted a study of Rypple usage to find out if people are just looking for positive feedback or if they also ask for some constructive criticism as well.
Here’s what they did:
First, we provided Professor Gravina’s team with a large set of anonymized Rypple Feedback questions. We stripped out any identifying information and just left the content of the questions.
Then, two researches independently coded all of the questions using the definitions listed below and then compared their answers. Any disagreements were discussed until a decision was reached. Then, a third observer was trained on sample questions and then coded a random sample of 10% of the questions in order to establish inter-observer reliability (basically showing that the coding system yielded reliable results).
For coding question valance they used the following definitions:
Positive: Asking for positive feedback meaning asking for feedback about what was liked or should be repeated (i.e., What did you like most about the meeting?)
Constructive: Asking for negative feedback meaning asking for feedback about what was disliked or what needs to be stopped, changed, or improved (i.e., What should we do to improve the meeting for next time?)
Neutral: Asking for feedback without indicating what type (constructive or positive) of feedback should be provided (i.e., What did you think about the meeting?)
Mixed: Asking for a combination of at least two of the three types of feedback already listed. (i.e., What did you like about the meeting and what can be improved for next time?)
They found that people who are using Rypple are actually using it to improve and get better. They are not just looking for fluff and compliments. They want specific insights on how to improve! The number of people who are asking for constructive feedback vs. positive seeking “I just want to hear nice things about myself” was 2:1.
It’s worth keeping this result in mind when you are next asked for feedback. Be helpful!
Mary Ellen Slayter of Smart Blogs wrote this great post on how to give more effective feedback. She also reiterates the importance of giving honest, constructive feedback:
Feedback is more than just useful — it’s essential. It’s hard to get motivated, and impossible to stay motivated, when you aren’t sure if you are on the right track. So giving well-crafted, frequent feedback is one of the most important responsibilities of any leader or manager.
So, clearly people are looking for more than just a pat on the back. People crave the opportunity to grow and learn. Also check out this post that includes 3 simple rules for making your feedback work.
Thanks to Nicole Gravina, Ben Sher, Eliza Wicher, Jenn Collison, Stephanie Frazier, and Jody Bishop for approaching Rypple to get involved in their research.
Check back for a link to the study once it’s published.