Global brands such as Facebook, Adobe, and General Electric have moved away from the conventional yearly review to a system of actionable, more frequent appraisals. This trend in performance management clearly highlights the importance of such a practice being part of the company’s culture. As you read further, we will be sharing some simple but effective ways to migrate from the traditional annual performance appraisal to a more open and actionable review system – Continuous Feedback.
I guess you’re thinking that this is easier said than done. I understand what you mean. Changing your current established method of appraisal to such an open and real-time system can take time. It isn’t a quick process, its like training for a marathon.
I myself had a tough time at first with the execution of continuous feedback in the workplace. The old runners weren’t aware of the very idea and the younger ones weren’t confident enough to bring the point forward.
At first I thought that daily sync-ups would help foster the practice but that wasn’t the case. People discussed their daily tasks and nothing else.
After months of experimentation, I came up with a couple of easy to follow steps that can inculcate the habit of giving honest and regular feedback. So, here they are.
Easy Steps to Migrate to Continuous Feedback
Quick Check Ins
I know I said that a daily sync-up didn’t work but what I realized is that we never made an effort to ask about each other’s individual challenges and issues, personal concerns, or offer feedback for work that had been completed. Later in the game, I began to check in with my employees on a more individual level to ask about their day, personal life, successes and especially, challenges at work. This level of discussion helped set a tone. It showed employees that they could discuss anything at work. As a team, we all became more transparent and approachable, and it helped employees be more comfortable with asking for and offering feedback for any task / activity.
Be Honest and Open Yourself
To foster a change towards a more honest and open feedback system, you yourself must show some interest in this change and in the work of others. Provide honest and constructive feedback whenever your’re asked. Also, ask for feedback on your work. In other words, practice what you preach.
Quick Status Updates
Nobody likes giving or reading detailed status reports. They’re long, require too much effort to produce and quite frankly, are sometimes over-complicated. Simple and quick is the way to go. Allow them to provide quick details and frequent short status updates. This helps them to focus on the work rather than the report and gives you the chance to provide frequent feedback easily.
The motive behind giving frequent feedback is to continuously nurture and build a stronger team. Once a feedback is given, suggest learning and development opportunities which would allow your employees to grow. Skill building sessions and training programs act as a platform to help develop your employees’ skills along with building confidence and positiveness in your team.
Give Guidance on Feedback
Lets say that your team is up for it and they’d love to migrate to this system. Most employees do support it, in fact, according to a survey by PwC, nearly 60% of survey respondents reported that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis (this number is even higher for employees under 30). But they might be hesitant or nervous about actually giving feedback. Here is a suggestion, you can train your staff to give as well as receive feedback on a regular basis. Identify and bring in a peer coach who can offer some extra coaching on the matter.
Frequent Recognition (Sometimes Publicly)
69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. Feedback is generally thought to have a negative connotation. Many mistakenly give feedback only when employees have done something wrong. Hence the hesitation towards asking for more feedback. Feedback is just a response, reaction or an opinion on an event, task , person etc. Its can be positive or negative. In fact it should be more positive than negative i.e recognition. For every criticism you give for a task done wrong, put in the same effort to acknowledge and recognize accomplishments when something is done right. This would minimize adverse implications about feedback.
Giving Constructive and Private Criticism
92% of respondents of the survey by PwC agreed with the assertion, “Negative feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” Giving negative feedback is not just about pointing out a mistake or acknowledging the wrong that’s been done. Let it be a learning opportunity. It must be accompanied by suggestions for improvement and must be done privately. I myself have made the mistake of publicly pointing out errors in my employee’s work and it didn’t go well. I only saw a drop in productivity and sadly, more errors.
The Right Tools Can Help
In this day and age of advanced technology, you can find a solution to achieve anything. There are several mobile applications in the market for 360 degree continuous feedback and performance reviews. Here are few great options:
And Thats a Wrap !
Lets summarize :
- Continuous Feedback can reduce employee turnover by 14.9% .
- Be open and honest with your staff.
- Keep checking in on their work and sometimes on their life outside the office.
- Get rid of the system of long detailed reporting when it comes to giving feedback.
- Constructive Criticism must be coupled with suggestions for improvement. Take this step privately.
- Don’t just criticize, recognize the good work done by your team. Make it public if required.
- Collecting feedback is not for storing, take action based on it.
- Hire a great coach to train your team in giving and receiving feedback .
- Last but not least, take advantage of the technology out there.
This blog is part of our Continuous Feedback series. If you want to get more familiar with this practice and its benefits, check out our previous blog – “Facebook is using continuous feedback, shouldn’t you be too?” .
Got more ideas to share? Let us know in the comments below.