What Is the Link Between Formal and Combined Real-Time Feedback?

We’re hearing more and more about how real-time feedback can solve engagement problems and drastically lower turnover. But for those companies that already have a great performance management process in place and a highly engaged workforce, is real-time feedback really worth it? No matter what your situation is, adding real-time feedback to the equation can support and strengthen your performance management process in several ways:

Building On and Tracking Progress Between Reviews

First and foremost real-time feedback should be used in between reviews to help your employees develop and strengthen their skills. Performance management shouldn’t end after the annual performance review. Like professional sports teams, formal reviews should be seen as a time when you and your reports reflect on your previous performance, analyze strengths and areas for improvement and come up with a game plan for the next season. The best coaches then use real-time feedback to continue pushing their team to improve and stay on track with the goals that were set.

Providing Timely Recognition and Learning New Skills

Waiting to celebrate success means that achievements can often go unrecognized or come too late. Celebrating with your team is important both for employee engagement and to set an example for others. One survey found that 83% of employees see recognition for contributions as more fulfilling than rewards or gifts. Gallup found that employees who receive regular recognition are much more likely to increase their productivity, increase team engagement, keep customers happy and stay at their jobs.

Along with recognizing achievements, managers have to stay on top of the continuous learning needs of today’s employees. With constant shifts in trends Deloitte estimates that work skills now only have an average life of 2 ½ to 5 years. To keep up with industry changes, managers need to help employees update and acquire new skills to meet shifting goals. Once a year is not enough for a company to stay competitive.

Improving Communication and Trust

When people are open to feedback, communication flows improve significantly. Instead of being hesitant to tell your colleague how their behavior impacts your work, or to tell your manager that they need to recognize team achievements more, employees feel free to get things off their chest. This leads to more effective communication and curbs office conflicts.

Getting comfortable with giving and receiving feedback is like exercising. The more your team exercises their feedback muscles, the easier it gets. For many people, receiving constructive feedback can be stressful. To mitigate emotional responses, trust is key.

Trust can be created through constant feedback exchanges. The more employees see their feedback being acted upon by others, the more likely they’ll be to act on the feedback they receive in return. With more honest and actionable feedback being exchanged, people will be much more prepared to effectively take and implement the feedback they receive during formal reviews.

Accurate Information that Managers Can Look Back On When Getting Ready for the Next Review

Remembering the details of each employee’s performance over the course of a year, 6 months or even one quarter is tough. With deadlines, ongoing projects and daily tasks, managers are often unprepared to recall each individual’s accomplishments and areas for improvement. For this reason an outstanding 90% of HR managers question the accuracy of the information received from annual performance reviews. Other studies have shown that two-thirds of performance management systems actually misidentify top performers. Having performance data based on continuous feedback allows managers to quickly download reports and make an accurate assessment based on objective information. This helps to significantly mitigate the potential for bias in performance reviews.

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Steffen Maier

Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Based in New York and Amsterdam, Impraise turns tedious annual performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. The tool includes an extensive analytics platform to analyze key strengths and predict talent gaps and coaching needs.

Reader Interactions


  1. George saab says

    I have always found that one of the best ways is to draw an action plan after setting objectives and targets help staff to pilot their year then monthly progress reviews or even quarterly ones ensure constant feedback sessions
    Moreover recognizing any positive development encourages people to give more


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