Real-time feedback has become one of the most popular performance management approaches today, helping managers stay on top of employee development and growth.
Here, you’ll find an extensive guide to real-time feedback examples that address some of the most common issues with employee performance, as well as methodologies for approaching continuous assessment.
1 What Is Real-Time Feedback?
Real-time feedback is a form of performance management that delivers ongoing development and growth. Instead of reviewing objectives, offering praise and assessing areas for improvement on a yearly or even bi-annual basis, real-time feedback involves more frequent manager-employee discussions. It’s conducted with the aim to improve efficiency and engagement within a company, as well as instantly troubleshooting areas of concern.
2 How to Give Constructive Real-Time Feedback
- Set an Objective
Make sure your expectations as a manager are clearly understood by outlining how you want an employee’s work to improve through measurable objectives.
- Give Consistent Feedback
One of the reasons why real-time feedback is important is that it allows for immediacy. Make sure to keep discussions continuously flowing by establishing a routine.
- Prioritize Giving Feedback in Person
Emails and messages lack a personal touch and can easily be misconstrued. While real-time feedback apps are useful for keeping track of discussions, delivering feedback face-to-face avoids misunderstanding and allows for a dialog regarding any problems.
- Stick to the Problem at Hand
Stay specific and don’t lose focus when you are delivering comments on an individual’s performance. Addressing a few issues at a time will make it easier to adjust behaviors in a structured way.
- Avoid Personal Attacks
Respectfulness should always be one of the cornerstones of how you provide feedback to employees. Stick to comments on patterns of behavior and avoid personality assassination.
- Provide an Action Plan for Improvement
Going beyond objective setting, it can also be helpful to discuss an action plan with staff on how to improve. This could be done by having open discussions about how to encourage certain behaviors or via more formal courses.
- Offer Guidance and Help
Part of how to give real-time feedback involves letting employees know that you are there to support them when necessary. Proactively offering guidance and help paves the way for open and honest assessments.
3 How Can a Real-Time Feedback Process Help an Employee Be More Effective?
Addressing issues using real-time feedback means employees are aware much faster that they are not performing as expected and can immediately begin working on correcting their behaviors. Because reviews are ongoing, staff and managers can see whether these actions are having the desired effect. Plus, offering appreciation in real time is likely to improve employee engagement and create a culture of recognition.
4 What Is the Impact of Not Giving Real-Time Feedback to Employees?
More infrequent feedback sessions limit agility in a company and can lead to what’s known as recency bias: a focus on performance in the last few months rather than over the entire review period. This can lead to a level of complacency and even inactivity in employees who recognize that only actions closer to the mid-year or annual assessment will impact the perception of their performance.
5 Real -Time Feedback Models for Managers
5.1 The SBI Model
Developed by the Center for Creative Leadership, the SBI model is one of the more common real-time feedback tools. The practice first requires managers to identify the situation when something occurred (e.g., during a progress report on January 5), then describe the behaviors observed (e.g., insufficient preparation), before explaining the impact of the action (e.g., manager unable to receive a cogent update on a project).
5.2 COIN Conversation Model
A similar acronym-based methodology to SBI, COIN advocates examining Context (when and where something happened), Observation (what specifically occurred), Impact (outcomes of the action) and Next Steps (how can this be rectified in the future).
5.3 SSC Analysis Model
Designed to include appreciation as well as evaluation, the SSC approach involves highlighting things an employee should Stop doing, followed by pointing out alternative things they should Start doing instead (e.g., stop making vague statements and start backing up presentations with data). To finish off on a positive note, the manager should then point out positive actions that should be Continued.
5.4 CEDAR Feedback Model
Anna Wildman’s CEDAR model is another handy acronymic procedure. It begins with establishing Context (i.e., explaining the area of feedback and its impact) and giving Examples (specific instances where a behavior occurred). Once the groundwork has been laid, it’s then time for the Diagnosis of underlying reasons for a person’s behaviors, followed by a discussion of Actions to be taken to rectify the issues that have arisen. The last step, Review, wraps up by revisiting what has been talked about to ensure everyone is aligned on future expectations.
5.5 Feedforward Model
A play on the idea of feedback, feedforward places the focus less on past mistakes and more on future growth. Rather than criticizing a failure to meet a sales target, for example, a manager could use coaching to explore different ways an individual could meet their goals going forward.
6 20 Real-Time Feedback Examples
6.1 Employee Disengagement
Disengaged employees not only don’t give their best performance but are also more likely to leave a company. Address this by pinpointing where the attitude stems from.
Real-time feedback example: “I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that you seem distracted at work. Is there anything in particular that is concerning you?”
6.2 Excellent Employee Performance
As noted at the start of this article, appreciation is one of the core forms of feedback and helps motivate staff.
Real-time feedback example: “Your presentation to the client yesterday was really well executed. Keep up the good work!”
6.3 Missing Deadlines
It’s important not to beat around the bush with feedback, especially with something as serious as repeatedly missing deadlines.
Real-time feedback example: “I’ve noticed you struggled to meet this month’s deadline, and it’s starting to become a pattern of behavior. I think we should discuss methods for how to stay organized.”
6.4 Unable to Reach Goals
Sometimes an employee fails to meet their OKRs because the set goals are unrealistic. In this case, a real-life example of giving feedback might involve mentioning an adjustment of objectives.
Real-time feedback example: “There seems to be a gap between your set goals and the milestones attained so far. I think we should revisit the objectives and ensure they are feasible.”
6.5 Disrespecting Colleagues
While stamping out rude behavior in the workplace is absolutely essential, it’s important to try and do this without becoming overly personal.
Real-time feedback example: “There have been some complaints regarding certain comments you made in a recent meeting. I’d like to take a moment to just talk through what might have caused offense.”
6.6 Low Self-Esteem
While signs of more serious self-esteem issues should be referred to a healthcare professional, building staff confidence is part of being a good manager.
Real-time feedback example: “The sales projections you did for that client were really well executed. In light of that, I’d like you to work on this other potential client.”
6.7 Interfering in Others’ Work
While having a convivial workplace tends to benefit performance, it can become an issue when it distracts from getting the job done.
Real-time feedback example: “I’m really pleased to see that you and John have a positive office relationship, but please try to keep longer personal conversations for breaks or lunchtime.”
6.8 Bad Communication Skills
All managers rely on timely communication from their team in order to stay on top of workflows, so it’s important to make clear your expectations if this is not happening.
Real-time feedback example: “Can you please make sure to keep me in the loop about any issues you encounter with that client, so that I can step in if necessary to make sure we stay on schedule?”
6.9 Poor Time Management Skills
There are lots of time management strategies to help people who struggle with properly allocating their working hours.
Real-time feedback example: “Have you heard of the Eisenhower Matrix? I think it could really help you prioritize your workload according to urgency.”
6.10 Not Following Workplace Rules
Your workplace may have regulations designed to maintain a secure, hygienic, safe space for all employees, but these only work if everyone follows them.
Real-time feedback example: “I notice you often smoke in the car park. It’s really important from a health and safety perspective that you only smoke in the designated areas outside.”
6.11 Less to No Contribution for Team Projects
It can be demoralizing for other employees and an overall hit to team productivity if one person isn’t pulling their weight. This can be addressed by assigning specific tasks to employees.
Real-time feedback example: “I would like you to take over the paid advertising aspect of the overall strategy from Mary. I think it would be a great opportunity for you to showcase your planning skills.”
6.12 Too Many Silly Mistakes
While it’s perfectly understandable for a person to make mistakes, if it happens frequently and involves fairly simple actions, it’s probably down to a lack of attention.
Real-time feedback example: “There seem to be a few errors creeping into your work recently. Why do you think that is?”
6.13 Not Punctual
The purpose of real-time feedback is not to criticize but to correct, so try to focus on solutions where possible.
Real-time feedback example: “It’s really important the team starts work at the same time, so I thought we might spend some time discussing ways to help you manage your morning commute.”
6.14 Frequent Absenteeism
There may be extenuating circumstances for why somebody is often absent. As with other unwanted behaviors, aim to draw out underlying reasons.
Real-time feedback example: “Are there any areas of your life that you’ve been having trouble with of late?”
6.15 Unable to Problem Solve
There are some concerns where the answer is primarily skill development. One of the most frequent real-life examples for giving feedback centers on the ability to problem solve.
Real-time feedback example: “Our company has a learning and development system that offers a digital course in problem solving. I think you’d really benefit from taking it.”
6.16 Reduced Productivity
A decrease in productivity can be the result of many factors. Make sure not to leap to conclusions and consider leading with appreciation to tease out any unknown contributing factors.
Real-time feedback example: “I really appreciate the stellar work you’ve done in the past year, but recently you seem to have experienced a drop in completion rates. I was wondering if there was anything I could do to help?”
6.17 Wasting Time on Personal Calls
Being blunt isn’t usually called for, but in the case of behaviors that are clearly unacceptable in the workplace, it’s important to exhibit a firm attitude.
Real-time feedback example: “We need to talk about the amount of time you spend on personal calls. It’s not really appropriate during office hours.”
6.18 A Toxic Attitude
Toxic attitudes can suck the energy right out of a team. Instead of letting the issue fester, real-time feedback means you can immediately address the elephant in the room.
Real-time feedback example: “I’ve heard from some of the other members of the team that you’re not happy with certain aspects of my managerial style. I think it would be productive if you discussed them with me directly.”
6.19 Lack of Participation in Activities
Some people naturally aren’t as social as others, but it is important to try and make everyone feel part of a cohesive team.
Real-time feedback example: “I’m looking into introducing some new team-bonding activities and was hoping I could get your input on what kind of things you’d enjoy doing?”
6.20 Low Quality of Deliverables
When somebody isn’t delivering the level of quality you expect, it’s necessary to determine whether this is due to a lack of engagement, resources, ability or other factors.
Real-time feedback example: “The most recent figures aren’t in line with my expectations and I thought together we could identify where the problems are coming in.”
- What Is Effective Feedback?
Effective feedback is, above all, constructive. Criticisms without solutions are unlikely to achieve anything other than increased disengagement from employees.
- Which Technology When Combined with Agile and DevOps Will Help the Team Receive Real-Time Feedback?
Building real-time feedback with agile and DevOps can provide a more structured, tech-forward solution to ongoing evaluation, coaching and appreciation, taking some of the manual processes out of the cycle and reminding everyone about regular reviews.
7.1What Are the 3 Types of Feedback?
This type of feedback is done by measuring someone’s achievements against previously discussed and agreed objectives, aligning the expectations of managers with their staff.
Coaching refers to developing employee skills where there is a need for improvement or perhaps a lack of knowledge surrounding a particular subject or software.
When an individual has done a good job, it’s important to reinforce that behavior by properly acknowledging success. This helps to improve engagement and motivates staff to succeed.