Building a culture of continuous feedback is essential for companies looking to stay ahead of the competition in a post-pandemic world, complicated by the rise of remote working and the necessity for effective employee communications platforms. With the right workforce tools and processes in place, businesses can rise to face new challenges, boosing employee engagement and performance while creating a culture which promotes trust and values vibrant discussion.
Read on to find out how to achieve this.
Goals of continuous feedback
Building an ethos of continuous feedback within a company can have a profound impact on both the individuals within an organization and overall business performance.
- ensures consistent evaluation across roles, departments and regions;
- allows for the fair distribution of compensation and rewards;
- encourages positive behaviours, while rectifying negative behaviours;
- clarifies expectations through clear communication;
- aligns individual goals and ambitions with broader company aims;
- raises accountability throughout the organization;
- allows for coaching to develop individual and team performance;
- makes it easier to get and retain the right people in the right roles;
- promotes job satisfaction and morale
Businesses seeking to embed continuous feedback into their workplace are best positioned to achieve great results if they make continuous feedback a central component of their company’s culture. The advent of mass remote working in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic means that performance management tools play a larger role than ever before in ensuring a culture of continuous feedback is understood throughout the workforce with transparency and clarity.
Committing to a continuous feedback culture
In order for a culture of continuous feedback to be embedded in the mindset of the workforce, it must be defined at the executive level. As Michael Schrage from MIT Sloan Management Review observes in his article, Rethinking Performance Management for Post-Pandemic Success:
“Much as individuals use Google Maps or Waze to manage expectations around travel, employees and associates need dynamic visualizations to manage their expectations around work. Performance management platforms must facilitate ongoing feedback on professional progress, growth, and development opportunities. Executives must define the feedback experience for their people. Doing so forces leaders to define and develop a shared perspective about what high performance means.”
A culture of continuous feedback requires a solid foundation in order to function correctly, which Josh Berlin characterized as building an enterprise feedback culture in his paper, Untangling the HR Tech Market 2020 Such a culture incorporates a wide array of feedback mechanisms, from annual and pulse surveys, anonymous feedback tools and email sensing, to regular performance appraisals and check-ins. Underlying each of these mechanisms are integrated reporting and analytics, combined with sentiment analysis to better understand the pulse of the workforce.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key mechanisms businesses can adopt in order to bolster an effective culture of continuous feedback, and how culture management software can assist with implementation.
Approaches to continuous feedback
Ongoing feedback processes are important for a variety of reasons: they foster professional progress, allowing employees to develop new skills in alignment with the company’s core values and they allow for transparency and trust, ensuring employees and leaders can speak their minds freely and offer constructive criticism and innovative solutions.
Holding ongoing conversations between managers, team leaders and their employees is a core component of continuous feedback, and regular one2one check-ins are the mechanism these conversations are structured around. Companies which fail to commit to these regular meetings experience a lack of crucial insight into the motivations and concerns of their employees, despite these regular conversations boosting engagement, productivity and overall morale.
Managers and leaders should use these meetings to:
- demonstrate that they care: asking employees how they are feeling and showing consideration for their mental and physical well-being makes it clear their health is valued, and with the rise of remote working this gives managers are clear opportunity to identify any problems they might otherwise miss.
- understand the challenges an employee is facing: if someone is struggling to deliver work on time or to the required standard, these discussions will bring to light any shortcomings an employee is experiencing while offering managers the chance to address issues with further training and resources.
- review and update objectives: one2ones provide an opportunity to get managers and their employees up to speed on any objectives currently underway, revising and updating expectations and timelines as and when required.
- deliver praise regularly and visibly: positive feedback is one of the most powerful tools for motivation, so managers who give praise for good work regularly – and visibly – boost the signal of recognition and show that the company values high performance.
Employee feedback and Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) surveys
Providing the workforce with the means to deliver feedback as and when they feel it is necessary is another way businesses can make continuous feedback an organic process within the organization. Rather than relying entirely on feedback given during regularly scheduled one2one sessions, providing additional tools for managers to offer ad hoc feedback to praise good performance – or offer guidance for those whose performance is lacking – means that effective communication isn’t compromised and important developments are addressed in a timely manner.
Similarly, Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) surveys can be used as an additional feedback mechanism for employees, particularly those who might feel uncomfortable delivering negative feedback regarding their experiences in the company. The anonymous nature of eNPS surveys allows staff to share unfiltered feedback on work sentiment, engagement, how they perceive the company’s culture, and a variety of other metrics, which HR leaders and executives can then use to gain a clearer insight into what is currently working and what needs to be fixed.
If regular one2one check-ins between managers, team leaders and employees cover the more formal aspect of continuous feedback, the use of interactive employee newsfeeds, embedded in a company’s employee communications platform, provide staff with a more informal way to consistently share updates and brainstorm ideas by responding to announcements with comments. Push notifications and critical alerts help make sure that these announcements are delivered instantly to those who need to see them, reaching desktop/laptop devices as well as mobile devices via SMS as part of a multi-channel communications platform.
Including a social intranet adds another layer of conversation to the workforce, giving employees a platform where they can share and develop ideas relating to projects and develop an overall sense of collaboration as a core value of the company. Replicating the “water cooler chat” experience for employees working remotely can be achieved through customizable social feeds, connecting disparately located staff with teams and individuals, while granting access to a wide variety of shared material, including articles, videos and tutorials.
Personal development plans
When conducting ongoing feedback, managers should always be mindful that their employee feedback sessions bring things back to their personal development plans, to ensure that personal and professional goals remain aligned with those of the company. This also gives managers and employees a more dynamic approach to their role within the company, and the flexibility needed to recognise when talents might be better suited elsewhere.
Personal development plans can be linked to real-time tracking of employee objectives while also reflecting their career growth and developing skill sets, and managers and employees should engage in regular feedback to make sure these goals are achievable, as well as being aligned to the company’s core mission.
Putting all of these mechanisms into practice might seem like a daunting task akin to spinning plates, but using performance management tools to automate workflows with the assistance of customizable templates will save valuable time, eliminating the need for manual creation of one2one schedules and other time-consuming processes.
By using employee communication software to create and monitor workflows, the process of continuous feedback becomes embedded in the daily routines of employees via Dashboards, which instantly reflect the overall performance of individuals and teams. Integrating these processes into Microsoft Teams helps create a smoother user experience.
Implementing feedback analytics
With a wealth of feedback data available for managers and HR leaders, digital monitoring and tracking platforms are needed to generate real-time analytic insights. By using a performance management platform, managers and leaders can set up dashboards tailored to display the relevant feedback data and statistics, giving them a clear overview of where users are most engaged, as well as how they can adapt to boost motivation.
Such analytics allows the process of continuous feedback to deliver measurable results regarding employee performance, leading to prompt and fair recognition of the A-players, equitable distribution of rewards, and a greater sense of trust from employees.