How Continuous Feedback Reinforces a Culture of High Performance

By Caroline Van Dyke
on Apr 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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Organizations pour hours into their talent acquisition strategy—constantly on the lookout for top talent with the skills and mindset they need to compete in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. This is part of a winning strategy—with such unprecedented growth, an organization’s employees determine how they innovate and keep up. But the tail end of this strategy can’t be overlooked: how do you manage top talent once you catch it?  

It’s essential to make sure they stay engaged, continue learning, and surpass performance expectations in order to drive growth. If you’re not investing in their development on a continuous basis, you’re not tapping into your most valuable resource. Not to mention, if they don’t feel like they have room to grow, retention will take a hit. Ultimately, organizations have to be more employee-centric than ever, giving individuals the growth and development opportunities they desire. After all, being employee-centric proves to be in the best interest of the organization as a whole—driving overall organizational performance and producing a high-performance culture that sharpens its competitive edge.


In order to accomplish this, many organizations are now realizing they need to separate employee measurement and reviews from development, but how do they do this successfully? How do they help people get better, and how do they catch issues early on and make sure coaching takes place? Let’s take a look at how companies are embracing continuous feedback not only as a way to satiate employees’ desire to know how they’re doing more frequently, but as a way to get the best out of their employees. This starts with how continuous feedback motivates employees, and how it creates room for learning and growth to avoid performance issues.


Using feedback to promote positive behavior

Learning & development

 Most skills learned on the job are only relevant for about five years, so in order for companies to stay competitive, they need to create a culture of learning and development. Employees should feel empowered to own their professional development, but feedback from managers and other coworkers can help guide them in the right direction. Managers, for example, may have insights into future projects that are coming up and can offer feedback on which skills their direct report can hone in order to be better prepared.


Motivation 

Traditional approaches to performance management have been shown to have an enormous cost, both in terms of employee and manager time, and in the way that they erode feelings of goodwill. To put it a little less delicately: Most people consider traditional performance reviews to be a waste of time. When harnessed correctly, feedback is anything but a waste. In fact, 78% of employees said receiving recognition motivated them in their jobIf employees regularly receive feedback that reinforces positive things they’ve done, they’ll be more likely to do so in the future.


Appreciation/recognition

The majority of American workers feel under-appreciated, and this has a big impact on morale. Gallup reports that only one out of three American workers received recognition or praise in the past week, but when companies build a “recognition-rich culture,” they enjoy 31% lower turnover rates. By using feedback to show appreciation and recognition, you can positively influence how employees feel about your company and their job.


Using feedback to change undesirable behavior

It can be challenging to tell employees they’re not meeting expectations or their efforts are not contributing in the way they hope—43% of managers reported that giving corrective feedback is a “stressful and difficult experience.” But this is an important part of feedback, too.


Regular feedback reduces the sting

By establishing a regular cadence of feedback and creating the expectation that receiving constructive criticism is part of the process, you can take some of the sting out of “negative” feedback. Priming employees to constructive feedback can help foster a growth mindset and employees will gradually adjust to the fact that this is simply to be expected and a key ingredient to their professional development.


Fewer surprises for underperformers

If an employee really is struggling to perform, frequent feedback sessions can give them targeted, specific areas to focus on. This approach also ensures that employees know where they stand and if they’re not meeting performance standards, they have ample warning to make changes and adjustments.


Helps redirect employees’ attention and focus

Frequent feedback serves as a system to check where employees are spending their time and effort. Managers can use this opportunity to help their direct reports prioritize tasks and projects on a regular basis.

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Topics: Continuous Feedback