With the Great Resignation and “quiet quitting” trending, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with your team. However, with a looming recession and the constant reports of layoffs in big tech, you might find your attention elsewhere. Keep feedback and communication a priority without a huge lift by using the 5-15 framework for employee feedback.
What is the 5-15 framework?
The 5-15 framework was created by Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard. He was known for spending months away from the office surfing or rock climbing. He created the format to stay connected with the organization in his absence.
The format is simple: on a regular cadence (weekly or bi-weekly), employees fill out a survey. The survey should be short enough to answer in roughly 15 minutes. Questions should give insight into:
- What’s going well
- Personal and professional accomplishments
- Personal and professional challenges
- Support needed
Then, as a manager, you take five minutes to read each survey. If you have multiple levels of management, you then synthesize feedback into common themes before communicating that up the chain.
What’s great about it?
I love this approach for a few reasons.
First, it allows you to solve easy problems quickly before they become bigger issues. Rands wrote that happy people don’t leave jobs they love. There are broad things companies do that retain talent like providing opportunities for career growth and offering employee ownership. But some weeks, happiness to me could be as simple as replacing the chair I hate or improving the La Croix selection in the fridge.
Second, it gives you an opportunity to celebrate the good times with your team. Maybe a team member ran their first 5K last week or they broke 80 for the first time on the golf course. Whatever the feat, you now have the chance to share your excitement for their accomplishments.
Third, it provides a regular cadence for feedback. Having this scheduled keeps feedback top of mind. Your team will look for opportunities to improve the culture and the environment when they know they have a direct line and time to communicate it with you.
Last, it doesn’t require a huge time commitment for anyone. It’s a quick way to keep a pulse on the team and the company.
Will it work for your team?
First, any form of feedback requires trust to succeed. If your team doesn’t trust you, they will not be honest with you.
Second, this process only works if you actually address that employee feedback. If people feel that their input disappears into the abyss, they will stop providing anything meaningful.
If you regularly address feedback and empower your team to solve challenges where they can, your team can see the benefits of 5-15s. You can stay connected while cultivating a culture of constant improvement.
What other methods of feedback have worked for you?