Various types of feedback have long been a part of most businesses, most commonly in the form of an annual performance review. Like many aspects of company culture, however, the feedback process is rapidly changing as more and more businesses start to move toward more continuous feedback options like 360 performance evaluations.
Almost three quarters of the workforce believe that their performance would improve if managers gave them valuable feedback. This apparent disconnect between managers and their employees underscores the need for large-scale change.
More frequent forms of feedback lead to greater returns, so companies are finding innovative ways to act on these statistics. While these changes don’t happen overnight, there are simple ways to move to a more dynamic system of feedback.
Check in With Employees Regularly
Almost every employee believes that communication has an impact on their daily activities, and establishing open lines of communication is vital to any business. This is one of the most important drawbacks of annual performance reviews; without consistent dialogue, it’s difficult to achieve company-wide buy-in.
Not all of these discussions have to be directly related to work responsibilities. For example, as the holidays near, ask about your employees’ travel plans or family traditions. Inquiring about their personal lives (and showing that you’re listening to their answers) lets them know that you respect them and care about more than just their professional responsibilities. This will help create a culture of openness within your business. Staff will then feel more comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns that arise when they feel an established rapport with you.
Turn Feedback into an Opportunity for Growth
It’s crucial that any form of feedback is used to promote professional development or improvement, a factor that’s often missing in performance reviews. Following constructive feedback, employees should understand how they can address potential issues and become more productive.
Many businesses offer training and skill-building workshops to help employees focus on specific aspects of their performance. By providing feedback and monitoring progress regularly, you help your employees make consistent, meaningful progress, rather than giving them overloading them with information once a year.
For example, analytics software and service company, SAS, is among the top companies offering training and development programs. They provide employees access to the SAS Academics program, along with career mentoring and resources. With feedback from these courses and programs, SAS “. . .provides opportunities for growth to keep our employees challenged, motivated and engaged.”
Provide Balanced Feedback and Recognition
Performance reviews are typically a nerve-wracking experience for many employees, but they don’t have to be that way. Constructive feedback should be presented as opportunity for growth rather than focusing on its negative aspects, and conversely, strong performance should be publicly recognized as an added incentive.
Even if it isn’t always directly rewarded, regularly providing positive feedback in addition to constructive criticism will improve your relationship with employees. Doing so demonstrates that you’re invested in them as an individual rather than approaching feedback as simply a way to let them know when they’re not meeting company standards.
Positive and Contructive Feedback
Consider the different types of positive feedback you can provide. For job performance, you can mention a specific benchmark or goal they’ve surpassed (e.g. “Katie, you hit 20% above your benchmark sales goal this week. Awesome job! What do you think helped you accomplish this?”). Make sure to phrase positive feedback in a way that’s more impactful than just saying “Great work!” Ask prying questions that help the employee recognize what they did well and how that can translate to continued success or what they may need from you as a resource.
When you do need to give negative feedback, make sure to emphasize that it’s not an accusation. For example, you may need to provide behavioral feedback if an employee is angry or rude to others. In this situation, mention how they came across to their peers and how that made these individuals feel:
“Matt, I noticed in today’s meeting that you seemed to respond to Haley’s question in a defensive and angry way. This then seemed to make Haley unwilling to contribute the rest of the meeting. It’s important that we all treat each other with respect.”
Then, ask what their thoughts on the situation are:
“How did this make you feel?”
The last thing you want to do is make them feel self-conscious about their performance or attitude. So, make sure that all criticism is private and constructive, rather than having negative elements of their performance become public knowledge and it to come across as scolding. Probing questions and discussing the impact of performance or behavior can help turn negative feedback into a growth opportunity.
Leverage Mobile Applications for Continuous Feedback
While it’s certainly possible to implement continuous feedback without any technological solutions, there are a number of applications designed to help you facilitate your new practices. Some of the most popular programs include Qualtrics 360, Impraise, and Cavantics Loop.
The performance review and feedback process will likely always be a part of company culture, and keeping up with developing trends will ensure that your business attracts and retains high-quality talent. These are just a few of many ways to implement continuous feedback into your business and create a better employee-employer relationship.
The Author of This Guest Blog:
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing about performance management as an editor for 15Five.
P.S. We hope you enjoyed this guest blog. We at TalentAdore believe in open communication and feedback — for both employees and job seekers. If you are searching for a recruitment solution to efficiently give personalized feedback to your candidates, we can help you.