We all know feedback is important, but actually delivering it to your people is a critical leadership skill that without appropriate support can take a lot of time, and doesn’t come naturally to everyone. So how can we efficiently deliver effective and regular feedback, while taking some of the burden off managers at the same time?
It is possible! Read on to see how we help our customers are giving their people effective feedback.
Before we can give feedback, we need to start by ensuring we have a clear view of where our people are at. This means gathering feedback from your team and their peers so you can easily see the complete picture. Feedback should be two-way (between a manager and direct report) at a minimum, and ideally, 360 degrees (manager, direct report, self-review and peer-review). This gives a far more complete and useful view of an individual, providing both personal reflection and opportunity for coaching points, which can then be offered up by their manager as quality feedback.
In our experience, light and regular (monthly) feedback requests are far more useful than irregular (biannual) and comprehensive surveys. By getting light feedback regularly you can build a virtuous response cycle and build team trust and transparency.
This involved regularly gathering feedback on each individual from themselves, their manager, their direct reports and their peers to get the whole picture. This information should be shared with managers and the team members themselves. This type of regular and multi-layered feedback suits using our automated continuous feedback tools.
The purpose of feedback is to help people do their best work, so in order to achieve this, feedback needs to be timely and offer opportunities for improvement. Another key benefit of the whole feedback process is being able to intercept problems before they escalate. The way to achieve this is two-fold:
On top of being more proactive, having a schedule for feedback in place adds accountability and helps ensure the process is prioritised. Regular feedback helps you capture all of the moments which contribute to each individual’s performance, as opposed to a formal annual review. It also limits recency bias and saves huge amounts of time as managers don’t need to compile 12 months’ worth of information. Having a supporting performance system certainly helps reduce this burden.
The ideal feedback process involves an automated online check-in, followed by a face-to-face one-on-one catch up between each direct report and their manager, once a month. This continuous approach is best supported by an automated Real-Time Performance Summary which helps support both the team member and manager with an up to date picture of their progress. By capturing key moments over a period of time you can focus conversations toward providing support when it is needed, and in a way that produces further positive outcomes.
So we’ve looked at gathering some qualitative information, and how to structure capturing and responding to this feedback, but what about giving feedback on actual performance metrics and outcomes? It’s best if you can go into offering feedback with specific measurements of actual outcomes, particularly where they are linked to specific goals or team initiatives. This makes things black and white and gives leaders the confidence to raise potential problems or congratulate staff for a job well-done, knowing they have an accurate measurement of success. It also gives employees a really clear way to see where they’re doing well and what they might need to ask for help with.
When goals are set for every employee in one central place online, and staff can then update their progress as they go, managers are able to easily get an accurate overview on how their team members are tracking and collaborate with their progress. An overview of this can be extracted in a few clicks, and then used to support one-on-one check ins.
Over-formalised feedback meetings can be ineffective as they can make things more nerve-wracking for employees. This leads to them heading into the meeting in the wrong mindset, and fearing that they’re there to defend their role or explain themselves. The more someone feels is at stake from a conversation around feedback, the less likely they are to be honest and speak openly. This is why regular feedback catch ups are great, in the way they help both the manager and team member learn what is effective. In this way, emotional build up is replaced by trust and transparency.
It is also important for your team members to know the purpose of why they are receiving feedback, and assured that this is a growth opportunity for them, not a reassessment on their worth as a staff member. On top of this, getting honest answers when engaging in feedback is crucial to extracting value, especially when it comes to acting on issues that could be inhibiting people from doing their best work. The only way to uncover these is to ensure staff feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly about what they’re experiencing.
Word questions on online check-ins in an inviting and conversational tone to help people feel more comfortable sharing honest answers. Keep the number of questions to a minimum (quality or quantity) so the process is quick and easy to complete, and it is also smart to make sure questions are framed to help lead to actionable next steps. Likewise, face-to-face catch ups should be kept light-hearted, think meeting in the coffee shop downstairs, rather than a meeting room.
Want help creating your ideal feedback process? intelli customers get guidance on process-design included, so we can walk you through it. Request a demo if you’re ready to get started.