Don’t Wait Until Performance Reviews to Give Employees Feedback
Giving feedback to an employee feels awkward for many of us. But waiting to share that feedback with an employee until a quarterly or annual review is ineffectual for the employee’s professional growth. Plus, it’s likely confusing that they weren’t offered this feedback when it was most relevant.
According to Gallup, only 14% of employees strongly agree that performance reviews inspire them to improve. In fact, only 5% of Millennials think annual feedback is effective. Traditional approaches to performance reviews and feedback make performance worse about one-third of the time.
The answer isn’t to get rid of performance reviews altogether, but to make them more frequent. If you want to improve employee performance, the key is to embrace continuous feedback. Here’s how.
Increase your employee performance review cadence
Fifty-eight percent of people believe that annual performance reviews “are a needless HR requirement”, done for the benefit of the business, not employees. Employees actually want regular feedback. Millennials, in particular, prefer monthly feedback over quarterly or annual feedback. But increasing the cadence alone of feedback is not enough. To ensure feedback focuses on employee development use a feedback framework that guides the experience.
A popular option is the SBI framework. With the SBI framework or Situation-Behavior-Impact, a manager focuses on delivering simple and direct feedback by centering on specific behaviors and situations. By clarifying the situation, describing specific behaviors observed, and explaining the impact of the action, employees can reflect on the bigger picture of the feedback and make more effective changes.
Touch base on projects and long-term initiatives regularly
To increase feedback opportunities without the formality of a performance review, set up a regular touch base with your employees. Waiting for a project post-mortem or a campaign to be completed is often too long.
Schedule check-ins one-to-two times per month. Discuss how projects and overall work-life are going and offer support if needed. This also allows the opportunity for employees to discuss anything they need help with or to discuss any roadblocks in their current work. Help them update any existing goals based on these discussions. Use this time to keep employees motivated by acknowledging any milestones or accomplishments that can help push them over the finish line to meeting their goals.
Reoccuring performance check-ins with each team member can sound daunting, but it is less time-consuming than annual performance reviews and can lead to important business insights.
Create a robust feedback culture in weekly meetings
Gallup has found that when managers provide weekly (versus annual) feedback, team members are more motivated and engaged at work. One-on-one check-ins play a vital part in employee performance. This is the time to focus on the employee’s needs and their career opportunities.
Ensure you’re getting the most out of your one-on-ones, with these six questions:
- How was your week?
- Any roadblocks you’re dealing with?
- Any great moments?
- How’s your workload?
- Anything you’re not enjoying?
- Anything you want to do more of?
You can also make space in your weekly team meeting for peer-to-peer feedback by making time for a round-robin where employees take the floor. Having team members share their week’s priorities, learnings, challenges, and even gratitude for other team members helps everyone feel supported and encouraged.
Tap into the benefits of peer feedback
Feedback from coworkers is just as critical as feedback from managers. Recognition from your peers for your accomplishments builds a sense of collaboration and encouragement. With a structured peer feedback loop, your team can share wins, learn from each other, and help each other grow.
A tool like Betterworks makes sharing peer-to-peer feedback easy, visible and shows that it’s encouraged across the entire organization. To set expectations and support constructive feedback, advise employees to share feedback using these five tips:
- Good feedback is objective: Frame feedback around the work performed and its outcomes. Not the person.
- Don’t assume: We were taught from an early age not to assume someone’s intentions. That still applies. Encourage colleagues to ask each other questions instead of jumping to conclusions.
- Consistency is key: Make sure feedback is a regular occurrence built into the flow of work. Team meetings are a good time to share learnings.
- Balance the good and bad: Feedback tends to have a negative connotation, but positive feedback can help someone grow too. Mix the constructive with the good.
- Think long-term: Don’t position feedback to only benefit employees in the present. Think through how to craft your suggestions so that they’re helping someone a year from now.
Feedback is fuel to the growth of every employee
The ultimate goal of performance reviews and feedback as a whole is to advance an employee’s learning and development. Providing effective feedback isn’t the only hurdle for companies to overcome to ensure the growth of their employees. Transcending other common learning barriers in the workplace is essential for an engaged and productive workforce.
Discover how to use conquer other common learn roadblocks to build an enthusiastic learning culture encouraging learning in How to Overcome Learning Obstacles in the Workplace.