The World of Work is Changing—Is Your Organization's Feedback Strategy Keeping Up? 

By Caroline Van Dyke
on Feb 22, 2018 10:00:00 AM


With the rapidly shifting business landscape, organizations have to be more in tune than ever with their performance standards and investment in employee success. In order to stay competitive, HR must champion the development, engagement, and ultimately, the retention of high-performers. This looks vastly different than it did in the past. 

Let's look at how the world of work has shifted, and why organizations are zeroing in on new strategies to support this dynamic:

  1. With the rise of agile, scrum, and similar methodologies, most companies think about work in short “sprints” rather than the large block of a full year.
  2. Because of these short bursts of focused effort, it no longer makes sense to plan a set of immutable goals one time. Teams tend to set smaller goals throughout the course of a quarter to adapt to rapidly changing demands.
  3. The traditional hierarchical structure has given way to what Josh Bersin calls the “network of teams.” This means that a manager isn’t always the person who works closest with their direct report, and as a result may not be the best person to provide feedback.
  4. There’s been a shift in management and company practice to looking to the future rather than focusing on past performance.

How is the old method missing the mark?

When looking at the old method of giving feedback and the modern way of working, it’s easy to see that there’s a clear disconnect. The traditional approach to feedback looked something like this: once a year, at the end of the performance management cycle, a manager would meet with their direct report and talk about what had happened over the past year. Had the employee met their goals? Would they be receiving a promotion or salary increase? Were they under-performing?

In the modern working environment, this approach doesn’t work for a number of reasons. Feedback on a once-per-year basis no longer supports the pace, hierarchy, or project style for modern organizations—among other things.  Imagine projects shifting on monthly basis, and the composition of those teams changing, and only knowing how you're doing once a year. It isn't working for employees in the modern world of work, and organizations need to adapt quickly to engage and retain their top talent. 

So, what are employees looking for today?

Employees are more ready than ever for a new approach to feedback—with 65% stating they want more feedback, and only 1 in 5 feeling their performance is measured in a meaningful way. Keeping employees engaged through feedback also has tangible impact on organizations as a whole. According to Gallup, "When compared with industry competitors at the company level, organizations with more than four engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee saw 2.6 times more growth in earnings per share than did organizations with a ratio of slightly less than one engaged worker for every one actively disengaged employee." If giving employees access to more regular feedback leads to higher engagement and higher earnings, then organizations can no longer overlook the impact continuous feedback has on the performance of their organization. 

At the end of the day, high-performing employees are hungry to learn and grow, and it's an organization's priority to make sure employees have a way to achieve their highest potential if they want to remain competitive.

If you're ready to learn more about why organizations are adopting a new method of feedback,  download our data-driven eBook,  How Feedback Drives a High-Performance Culture.

Topics: Employee Development, Continuous Feedback

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