We're hearing more and more about how real-time feedback can solve engagement problems and drastically lower turnover. But for those companies that already have a great performance management process in place and a highly engaged workforce, is real-time feedback really worth it? No matter what your situation is, adding real-time feedback to the equation can support and strengthen your performance management process in several ways:
1. Building on and tracking progress between reviews
First and foremost real-time feedback should be used in between reviews to help your employees develop and strengthen their skills. Performance management shouldn’t end after performance reviews are over. Like professional sports teams, formal reviews should be seen as a time when you and your reports reflect on your previous performance, analyze strengths and areas for improvement and come up with a game plan for the next season. The best coaches then use real-time feedback to continue pushing their team to improve and stay on track with the goals that were set.
2. Providing timely recognition and learning new skills
Waiting to celebrate success means that achievements can often go unrecognized or come too late. Celebrating with your team is important both for employee engagement and to set an example for others. One survey found that 83% of employees see recognition for contributions as more fulfilling than rewards or gifts. Gallup found that employees who receive regular recognition are much more likely to increase their productivity, increase team engagement, keep customers happy and stay at their jobs.
Along with recognizing achievements, managers have to stay on top of the continuous learning needs of today’s employees. With constant shifts in trends Deloitte estimates that work skills now only have an average life of 2 ½ to 5 years. To keep up with industry changes, managers need to help employees update and acquire new skills to meet shifting goals. Once a year is not enough for a company to stay competitive.
3. Improving communication and trust
When people are open to feedback, communication flows improve significantly. Instead of being hesitant to tell your colleague how their behavior impacts your work, or to tell your manager that they need to recognize team achievements more, employees feel free to get things off their chest. This leads to more effective communication and curbs office conflicts.
Getting comfortable with giving and receiving feedback is like exercising. The more your team exercises their feedback muscles, the easier it gets. For many people, receiving constructive feedback can be stressful. To mitigate emotional responses, trust is key.
Trust can be created through constant feedback exchanges. The more employees see their feedback being acted upon by others, the more likely they'll be to act on the feedback they receive in return. With more honest and actionable feedback being exchanged, people will be much more prepared to effectively take and implement the feedback they receive during formal reviews.
4. Accurate performance data
Remembering the details of each employees’ performance over the course of a year, 6 months or even one quarter is tough. With deadlines, ongoing projects and daily tasks, managers are often unprepared to recall each individual's accomplishments and areas for improvement. For this reason an outstanding 90% of HR managers question the accuracy of the information received from annual performance reviews. Other studies have shown that two-thirds of performance management systems actually misidentify top performers. Having performance data based on continuous feedback allows managers to quickly download reports and make an accurate assessment based on objective information. This helps to significantly mitigate the potential for bias in performance reviews.
Photo by Khürt Williams