Open Feedback across borders: Bridging global diversity for a united fme

by Dirk Bode |
Sep 29, 2023 |

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the ability to adapt, innovate, and foster an open culture is essential. At fme, we have a fundamental belief that our culture and strategy are symbiotic. They interact to create an environment that pushes us forward, and in return, we contribute to pushing the industry itself ahead. Two years ago, we decided to formalize one of the vital elements that have long been ingrained in our culture: Open Feedback.

Aligning with Core Values

Our organizational ethos rests on six core values: Integrity, Flexibility, Professionalism, Teamwork, Enjoyment, and Sustainability. Our open feedback mechanism, a robust system that allows transparent, two-way communication across hierarchical levels and departments, aligns perfectly with many of our values, especially the one of “Integrity”. It’s more than a process — it’s a manifestation of how we hold ourselves accountable to our clients, our stakeholders, and most importantly, each other.

Structure & Timing: When Everyone Speaks, Everyone Listens

The crux of our Open Feedback culture is timely communication. In an industry as dynamic as ours, where we provide a lot of professional services and IT products, time is of the essence. Our employees are encouraged to express their viewpoints, both positive and negative, immediately rather than waiting for quarterly or annual reviews. The goal is simple: rectify mistakes, pivot actions, and multiply successes in real-time, rather than post-analysis.

The Nuanced Transparency of Respectful and Direct Feedback

At fme, open feedback is an orchestrated blend of precision, empathy, and clarity. It’s not about dishing out blunt criticisms or offering hollow praises. Our approach goes deeper than that, it’s about respectful and direct communication that serves the collective good of the organization. Here’s how the PIW (Perception | Impact | Wish) formula works:

  • Expressing Perception: First, the person who gives feedback articulates his or her personal perception of the situation. This subjective aspect adds a layer of empathy, making it clear that the feedback is not an attack, but a viewpoint meant for constructive dialogue.
  • Describing Impact: Next, the feedback aims to elucidate the impact of the behavior under scrutiny, from the giver’s perspective. This is where the ‘why’ joins the ‘what.’ By detailing how certain actions have influenced a project, client relationship, or team morale, it fosters a deeper understanding of the broader implications of one’s conduct.
  • Articulating Desired Behavior and Result (Wish): Finally, the conversation culminates with a description of the specific behavior that would be more aligned with fme’s values and objectives. This not only sets a clear pathway for improvement but also helps in aligning individual actions with the company’s overarching strategy and culture.

fme Open Feedback Culture - PIW Formula
Everybody who has done the Open Feedback Culture Training at fme receives this postcard with feedback rules on the back

By meticulously combining these elements, our open feedback process provides a holistic framework for ongoing personal and professional development. This trifold approach ensures that the feedback isn’t just heard, but is understood, actionable, and aligned with both the company’s culture and strategic goals.

Global Collaboration: A Feedback Loop That Spans Continents

Our open feedback culture isn’t restricted by geography. With presences in the US, EU, and India, feedback loops are as global as our operations. This international perspective enriches our understanding, bringing in diverse viewpoints that ultimately contribute to a more cohesive and stronger strategy.

At fme, we train our teams to be aware of cultural nuances when utilizing our open feedback model. This ensures that the messages exchanged are not just accurate but also respectful, fitting within the varying social norms of our diverse team. This commitment to global collaboration demands adaptability and empathy, as we recognize there can be multiple valid approaches to a situation, each influenced by different cultural backgrounds.

By weaving cultural considerations into our feedback and teamwork, we turn diversity into an asset, enabling a cohesive and innovative global work environment.

Wrapping It Up

In the past two years, we have found that open feedback significantly contributes to agility, client success, and professional growth. But most importantly, it helps us remain true to our core value of Integrity, acting as the glue that brings all our other values together.

Our commitment to open feedback has positioned fme as a company that is not only innovative but also transparent and forward-thinking. It’s a unique combination that makes us more than a service provider; it makes us a partner in your success.

So, when you think of fme, think of a culture that is as open as it is innovative, as respectful as it is agile. We’re not just transforming industries; we’re also transforming the way we work, one piece of open feedback at a time.

Changing or finessing corporate culture is not an overnight task; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It takes years, not merely months, to deeply embed transformative changes into the very fabric of an organization. At fme, we are proud to say that we are on our way, continually evolving and adapting. Just like our approach to feedback and cultural diversity, our ongoing journey to enhance corporate culture remains rooted in our core values and the diverse strengths they bring.

So, while the road may be long, our collective commitment to integrity, flexibility, and collaboration makes it an enriching and transformative journey, one that continually shapes us into a more innovative, cohesive, and client-focused enterprise.


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Tracey King
Technology Success Manager