The Importance of Feedback
Summer is in full swing, which means one thing—lots of work!
In our experience, the industry naturally provides peaks and valleys for pole attachment work, with summers typically being the season with the highest volumes. This summer is particularly crazy, as major fiber builds across the state have resulted in thousands of poles needing to be collected, engineered, and delivered in just a few short weeks.
Our Engineering Team has been able to tap into some high-caliber resources—both with new full-time staff and with talented summer interns. After a few short weeks of training, our new staff have stepped up and started making a major impact on our weekly goals.
As we continue to develop the new members of the team, we found a particular challenge that arose in part because of the number of new employees, as well as the volume of new work. This challenge has to do with feedback.
At Katapult Engineering, we've always known that feedback is an expensive but crucial piece of the development process. It takes time and energy to review a new employee's work, not to mention the lost revenue from pulling the reviewer off of billable work. It's a sacrifice that is essential for employee growth and overall team success.
Early on this summer, we encountered the following challenge: we had so much work that was due so quickly that it was easier for veteran staff to simply fix new employees' mistakes to get it out the door. This is classic short-term thinking—at the end of a busy season you end up with staff that have formed incorrect habits because the team was never committed to helping them "course correct." We re-focused our attention on providing regular feedback and adjusted the way work was split up so that new employees had the chance to take more work through each step full-stack; fixing their own mistakes with the guidance of a PM.
It can feel nice in the moment to clean up someone else's work and take care of mistakes for them, but in the end, it sends a different message. When you refuse to pour time and energy into new staff, you're sacrificing their long-term growth and success. People are the greatest resource a business has, and maintaining a tight feedback loop is one of the best ways to develop new staff.
Questions or comments? We always love to hear how other teams are wrestling with the toughest challenges of the industry. Call us at 717.432.0716 or email us at email@example.com!