Real-time feedback is a worthwhile consideration for any company. While it initially involves a more organization and scheduling, it can ultimately produce not just better employee performance and engagement, but also better relationships within a team or department and ultimately create a culture of positive development.
Forget waiting for a yearly review to address issues. Instead, it’s often more efficient to meet challenges as they arise through the implementation of ongoing evaluation and discussion. Let’s dive in!
You can also read our article on real-time feedback tools here.
1. What Is Real-Time Feedback?
Real-time feedback is a method of performance management that promotes continuous development and dialogue between a manager and their employees. Rather than waiting for annual or mid-year reviews, a department or working unit can engage in regular conversations to more instantaneously fix issues and address challenges.
2. Why Is Real-Time Feedback Important?
2.1 Increases Performance of Employees
There may be KPIs that they aren’t achieving or areas where a member of staff is struggling. By giving feedback in real time, it’s much easier to assert a course correction speedily and effectively. This not only benefits your team but also alerts the individual to a problem they may not even have realized existed.
2.2 Helps in Creating a Culture of Recognition
Not all feedback has to be bad. More frequent evaluations also mean more opportunities to give praise and draw attention to where staff are doing well. Around 39% of employees say they feel underappreciated at work, but this can be remedied with a healthy dose of positive reinforcement.
2.3 Improves Employee Engagement
Performance reviews in general put a spotlight on employee experience, placing a hardworking individual centerstage. Regular attention to their development naturally increases their investment in a role and in a company. Employee engagement has not only been linked to better performance, it also decreases staff turnover and reduces absenteeism.
2.4 Strengthens Leadership Qualities of Employees
Real-time feedback gives managers the chance to recognize and nurture leadership skills in their direct reports. This kind of reinforcement is made much more efficacious through regularity and can also apply to other common soft skills, such as organization and teamwork.
2.5 Promotes Ongoing Learning and Development
There may be gaps in knowledge or upskilling that a person needs to bridge, in order to reach peak productivity. Real-time feedback means these are always in focus, so that team leaders and employees can develop a program of ongoing learning alongside one another that leads to optimal results for both company and personal goals.
3. What Are the Most Important Metrics to Measure Real-Time Feedback?
You can measure the impact of feedback in many different ways: by goals (is an employee improving on their ability to achieve KPIs?); quality (is the delivery of a good caliber?); engagement (how involved does the individual appear?); and improvement (are they more capable than previously?). These can be calculated on a sliding scale quantitatively or made more qualitative, depending on the prevailing management style at your company.
4. How Do You Implement Real-Time Feedback?
4.1 Provide the Feedback at the Right Time and Place
How you give feedback directly impacts its efficacy, and the first thing to consider is identifying the right time and place. Often, employees will prefer one-on-one interactions because they feel more personalized and also remove any possibility of embarrassment. At the same time, how you implement feedback will most likely be via an informal setting, such as a breakout room or a small meeting space.
4.2 Communicate the Feedback Directly
Be polite but don’t beat around the bush. Everybody appreciates clear (but polite) communication because it saves time and leaves no room for misunderstanding. It may be helpful to go over the salient points you wish to raise before the feedback session, so as to feel comfortable discussing them with your member of staff.
4.3 Allow Time for Questions and Follow-Up
Real-time feedback should usually involve a mutual interaction. What that means is that managers should allow for discussion and a space for staff to give their opinions and feelings on their workload and work environment. This can often be productive in terms of fostering a collegiate atmosphere and might elucidate the origin of any problems that have arisen.
4.4 Ask for Feedback in Return
Following on from the last point, as a team leader you should not become complacent about your management style. Ask for feedback from your staff about the way you are handling problems and be open to receiving constructive criticism. Not only will this improve your leadership skills, it will also nurture a feeling of trust within your department.
5. What Is the Best Way to Receive Real-Time Feedback from Employees?
5.1 Implement Employee Surveys
Most feedback tools now incorporate employee surveys as part of their functionality. These performance management features make it so much easier to gather information about concerns, queries and KPIs, saving managers a lot of time assembling the basic data necessary to continuously assess staff.
5.2 Set Up an Employee Suggestion Box
Anonymity is a boon for businesses because it allows for frank comments about the working environment and staff satisfaction. An employee suggestion box bolsters morale, fosters more creative mindset and gives a voice to the more reticent members of your team. Of course, it doesn’t need to be a physical receptacle; today, there are numerous digital platforms that deliver the same functionality.
5.3 Conduct Interviews for Employees Who Stay and Exit
Complement your automated solutions (such as employee surveys and digital suggestion boxes) with a system of regular individual interviews. These can be equally applicable for stalwart staff and exiting employees – each group will provide you with actionable data to improve your workplace.
5.4 Review Different Sites to Learn About Employee Experience
We’ve talked a lot about in-house interactions, but it may also be worth taking some time to see how your company is discussed on review sites like Glassdoor, as well as more generalist brands like Indeed. This can help you benchmark your performance as a company compared to competitors and pinpoint areas for improvement.
6. Real-Time Feedback Examples
6.1 Goldman Sachs
Banking big boys Goldman Sachs have employed real-time feedback for several years now. Their Feedback360+ platform aims to encourage staff to request reviews from their bosses, so that they can improve their performance in a concrete way that meshes with management expectations. This automated workflow gives staff a more lucid idea of what’s required of them, while managers can simultaneously nurture team productivity.
Global financial payments company Mastercard embarked on a program to improve employee engagement by increasing real-time feedback. While the starting point was the existing annual staff surveys, this was developed to incorporate a regular series of coaching courses and training sessions, in order to better develop in-house skills.
Even the world’s premier professional network can use some help with performance management, it seems. LinkedIn purchased people services solution Glint in 2018 and has since leveraged its capabilities to obtain real-time feedback from employees. Like Mastercard, the foundation was employee surveys, followed up with learning and development opportunities via LinkedIn’s branded skills development platform.
- Should You Use an App to Give Real-Time Feedback?
Real-time feedback apps take a great deal of the heavy lifting out of the process by providing an easy-to-use framework. There are lots of tried-and-true solutions available on the market today that incorporate this aspect of performance management, including Trakstar and BambooHR.
- How Do I Get Real Feedback from Employees?
There are many real-time feedback apps and tools available in the market, but sometimes the best way to ensure honest, unfettered discussion is to focus on anonymity and the ability for staff to express their concerns via a feedback portal or platform that can be accessed 24/7.