Moving Towards Real-time Employee Feedback

With the rise of millennials in the workplace, organizations are taking every possible measure to retain and develop the professional excellence of the tech-savvy millennial workforce by presenting a more employee-focused work environment. The current annual appraisal system in most companies will soon become a thing of the past as it is perceived to be dated, biased, unfair and not transparent and hence not preferred by a majority of employees, especially the millennials.

The millennial generation is the ‘instant gratification’ generation, and this is evident from the fact that majority of the 21st-century employees prefers receiving recognition for their work in real time.

An article published in Harvard Business Review in 2010 revealed that the millennial workforce expects the following from their managers— straight feedback, mentoring, coaching, and guidance in their career path. They want collaboration with their peers and open communication more frequently, which can be possible only if organisations adhere to a real-time feedback system. It should be considered the most preferred process of employee assessment by organisations, as it can capture data whenever feedback is given on defined goals and competencies, besides eliminating the need for the traditional annual performance review.

How Are Employers Providing Real-time Feedback to the Employees?

A majority of reputed organisations have been giving feedback only once a year, i.e., during the time of the annual appraisal. Keeping in mind the expectations of the modern workforce, organisations are overhauling their performance-management system by embracing an agile process that focuses on providing instant feedback, so as to enhance an individual’s performance based on the feedback given.

Real-time feedback technology is currently making waves at legacy organizations by replacing the conventional systems of evaluating employee performance and productivity. For example, multinational companies such as Adobe, Accenture, Deloitte, Gap, GE, etc., have introduced a more frequent “check-in” process where managers share feedback with their teams through an app-based system, as soon as an event occurs. Employees too can ask for feedback from managers as well as team members and peers, when they complete a project or assignment. The feedback given to the employees becomes the basis for a developmental coaching conversation, on at least a quarterly basis. Once the employee receives the feedback, he can then jointly plan his development and growth, based on the inputs he/ she receives. Thus, the work culture is now shifting from performance management to performance development, with a focus on learning and proactively planning how to achieve future expectations.

Seven Reasons Why an Organisation Needs Real-time Performance System—

The process of real-time performance feedback helps HR focus on its true role – helping employees achieve their maximum potential. This is done by combining various current HR systems such as performance management, employee learning and development, and rewards and recognition.

Being data-driven, real-time feedback is better than the traditional methods of evaluation as it makes the process of evaluation more objective, transparent and fair, by monitoring the accomplishments of each employee throughout the year.This eliminates favouritism and subjectivity from supervisors, which is a big challenge with current performance management systems.

The modern workforce wants appreciation and recognition from their supervisors. Real-time data helps employees determine their productivity and find out if they are accomplishing their goals on timeso that they can course correct in case they fall short of their goals.What’s more, frequent performance feedback also motivate employees to foster team collaboration and achieve better performance.In a study conducted by Gallup, respondents revealed that employees who converse with their peers or managers in the past six months regarding their achievements and goals are 2.8 times more liable to be engaged.

Data generated by ongoing employee feedbackis future-oriented and can provideinsightsabout how employees can perform in the best possible manner going forward.It helps identify the strengths and development needs of employees on a regular basis. This becomes an input into deciding an employee’s development plan, so that future performance improves. It also transfers the responsibility for the employee’s development and growth onto the employee – since he can now ask for real time feedback and discuss his developmental needs with his manager on a regular basis.

Real-time performance feedback paves the way for effective 1-on1 conversations between supervisors and employees and among teams on a regular basis. Consequently, both parties can ensure that individual goals and organizational business goals are aligned, through feedback on progress.

Real-time feedback also improves employee retention of an organisation.

Real-time feedback makes the annual appraisal much easier to accomplish. Since supervisors, as well as the employees keep a watch on the performance feedback all through the year, and data is collected around the year on an employee’s performance, it simplifies the process of formal annual evaluation, based on aggregated real time data. Last but not least, performance problems which would have otherwise taken considerable time to be identified, will now be highlighted and addressed early enough to take action on them.

Real-time Performance Feedback— a Positive Change!

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, skill-sets that organisations look for in an employee are constantly changing; this makes real-time feedback and coaching all the more important so that employees can develop their skills based on frequent feedback. It is therefore, mandatory for managers to observe their teams’performance in real-time and give instantaneoustraining or reward accordingly.

Similarly, employees too should get adequate chances to discuss personal/ professional growth and advancement, and provide feedback in real-time.71 per cent of respondents of an Accenture study revealed that real-time employee performance technology would enhance performance management. Therefore, in order to streamline today’s work environment and identify high performers, organizations should embrace real-time performance feedback.

Implementing an environment where continuous feedback is possible is definitely a big challenge for employers. It requires a mind-set change in managers, who need to understand that giving regular feedback to their teams is the best way to keep employees engaged and motivated. Senior leadership needs to demonstrate their commitment to it by acting as role models, who provide regular feedback to their team.Leaders cannot afford to overlook the importance of real-time feedback technology, as ignoring the shift to real-time performance feedback will hamper the level of productivity of its employees by disengaging them, and this can result in slowing down the progress of an organisation. Thus, for an overall development of the workforce of an organisation, and the organisation growth, it becomes imperative for employers to provide employees with more frequent feedback.Leaders can demonstrate through their actions that people are indeed an organisation’s most important asset, by investing in people development and growth, through feedback and coaching.

News Originally Posted on: People Matters