Real-time Feedback! Because your Employees hate the Annual Performance Review

It’s no surprise that multinational companies like Deloitte, Accenture or Adobe do their employees and managers a huge favor by moving away from the annual performance appraisal as we know it. Research by Bersin by Deloitte actually showed that only 8% of global organizations believe their performance management process is worth the time they put into it.

The annual review is costly and disengaging

Considering that managers spend on average about 4 hours on a performance appraisal for a single employee and assuming an average team size of 7 team members, that’s a lot of work. Especially if you remember how little you actually got out of your performance evaluation. Often feedback is highly generic and doesn’t provide actionable steps employees can transform into learning and development. Even if, it comes way too late because no one can act on it right at the moment. Honestly, who actually remembers what happened a couple of months ago? You basically barely remember what you did yourself 6 months ago.

Even worse is that the annual performance review was designed 30 years ago with the wrong intention. Evaluating performance isn’t what enhances today’s work environment. No one likes being monitored and assessed. Thus, feedback which is actually an inherently positive thing got a really bad connotation.

Instead, with Millennials being a major part of today’s workforce employees demand feedback right at the very moment. We all know feedback has most value when it’s fresh in your mind so you can express it in all relevant context. The receiver will have many more chances to think back about the situation and follow-up in a timely manner. This way you can kick off the coaching conversation right away and nothing is left unsaid.

How to do feedback right?

You can be sure that in your company there are at least 20 people that would love to give feedback to a team member today. Assuming good intention, this feedback could help your teammates to develop further and grow together as a crew. However, most people won’t express their feedback in the moment because they don’t feel comfortable doing it face-to-face. Consequently, when waking up tomorrow it will be forgotten again. All those great opportunities to learn from peers are gone.

Here’s where technology can be a great channel to make people more comfortable sharing feedback with a click of a button, even anonymously if wanted. You’ve probably heard of Amazon’s feedback tool that has been used to talk bad about colleagues towards the manager. That’s the wrong approach! Feedback needs to go peer-to-peer and privacy has to be respected. Managers shouldn’t see personal feedback if it’s not transparently communicated and wanted by the employees. We are all grown-ups. Why shouldn’t we be able to take hold of our personal and career development ourselves.

In fact, studies show that when there is a high encouragement from a manager’s side to share feedback and trustful relationships exist among team members, exchanged feedback is rarely offensive but most often helpful and meaningful to the receiver. Even though feedback could be exchanged anonymously in the beginning, be sure that people are getting more comfortable with expressing their opinion openly over time. As most Millennials actively seek feedback it will be also taken well if formulated meaningfully and clearly. This way the person who gave the feedback will naturally develop an instinct to share feedback in the right moment and do so less and less anonymously over time.

Achieving an open feedback culture

Once you have achieved this level you can proudly say your team has an open feedback culture with on-going conversations between manager and employee as well as among peers. This is a state that truly boosts employee engagement and happiness at work. People that learn and make progress in their career and within a social environment not only increase their sense of purpose and motivation but even more their productivity. People who learn become better day by day and won’t hesitate to develop even further or work longer.

More and more companies actually realized that this movement starts with enabling real-time feedback between anyone in a team. In order to guide those first feedback interactions in the right direction it is of great benefit to tie it to some basic job-related skills. As long as I know which skills or behaviors are most relevant in my team, for my colleagues or even the whole organization I will be able to give highly specific feedback and keep those behaviors in mind for myself. Often this starts with the company core values. What are the behaviors or values that everyone in the company should pay close attention to? Hiring for culture fit has become very popular but often culture develops further, values change and so do people. It’s of a huge benefit to check in frequently on those values to see if they are actually still lived. If they aren’t which values or behaviors are most predominant?


Millennials want to receive feedback, that’s to your advantage if you take the chance. Some time ago the Harvard Business Review published the following table:




This generation doesn’t only show a great sense of learning and improvement but actually demands active support from their managers and their company to do so. This way people feel encouraged to develop their career WITH your company. As the study clearly shows, feedback and coaching are right at the core.

If you wonder how you can keep today’s workforce not only engaged and productive but also in your company, make sure you move to a lightweight solution for real-time feedback. Isn’t employee-driven self-management also a huge relief for managers and HR respectively. This relief saves a lot of time but even more importantly allows managers to focus on their actual key  leadership skills: guiding the team towards the common goal and spending big time on coaching and engaging people. When was the last time you got great feedback?


Check out Impraise to get things right. ;)