Reviews become meaningful only if managers and employees are willing to discuss openly their strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis. It is observed that most employees open up only when they feel that some ears are ready to hear them. It’s common to observe that the management team is busy firefighting immediate problems and the middle managers and supervisors for a myriad of reasons have little or no face time with their employees to focus on the process of getting feedback and solve what may be a minor problem. It is these small problems that manifest into major ones and cost a fortune to solve.
An easy way out and solution to this is giving and receiving performance feedback periodically and its mutually beneficial to both the manager and his/her employees and in turn to the organization, as well. ‘The manager gets to see the big picture and the employee will be able to apply attention to detail which will help him/her develop overall target competencies.
Waiting around for the annual review to initiate a performance related discussion with the employee creates void in an organization’s communication system. Such feedbacks remain static as it deals with historical data and doesn’t allow seeing its impact or course correct. It thereby does not contribute to building a performance culture and does not work.
A well-designed performance management system should be able to link individual goals to the organization goals and business strategy, reflect the interest of multiple stakeholders and must be continuously reviewed and revised. This will ensure that the organization remains as a source of sustainable competitive advantage collectively and at the same time is also flexible enough to accommodate and get the most out of every team member.
An important element to manage people performance is shaping every individual’s behavior. Apart from setting and publishing core desired competencies for every team member, it is also important to communicate and express the same clearly and monitor the progress to provide each employee with frequent timely feedbacks for positive reinforcement of the desired behavior.
For feedback, both formal and informal communication occurs naturally within the rank and file of the organization. The trick is in getting the right mix of both to provide feedback. A feedback connects an employee with his purpose, core values and organization’s mission. While formal channels can be used for task oriented communication, the informal channels are very effective to win the trust and credibility of every team member. It also makes employees open up and this helps the managers to understand the employees and their challenges.
To keep the team member motivated, moving forward and to make adjustments as needed the manager has to provide regular feedback taking advantages of both the formal & informal channels. As feedback stimulates professional development, regular feedback sessions certainly help the team members. This method also creates an opportunity for the manager to continuously assess the performance and identify some under-performing employees . Then the manager suggests necessary correction to these employees to improve their productivity. This would also help the employees to grow both professionally and personally. By providing continuous feedback much of work is already done and team members will have no surprises when it’s finally time for the formal year-end review.
Continuous feedbacks also create opportunities to instantly motivate employees by offering praise for work that is well done or provide areas of improvements to set the expectations straight – both of these are at the heart of any performance management system.
A few of the benefits of continuous feedback are:-
- Both managers & employees are in the same page w.r.t performance agreement
- The set goals are clear
- Follow up possible on feedback
- Timely immediate feedback improves employee motivation and engagement levels even if its negative
- Ensures everyone in the organization is keeping pace meeting the organizations goals & objectives
- Decision making becomes less risky
- Ability to identify and solve problems proactively is enhanced