Effective Ongoing Feedback Depends on a Culture Change, Not Technology or Systems
Here’s something more than an idea that’s worth considering.
Companies who opt to implement continual feedback programs can enjoy improved performance levels and achieve their business goals.
With the right framework in place, the fortunes of a company can change through the delivery of ongoing and continual personal performance feedback. Ideally introduced as part of transforming the business into a learning organisation, employees are encouraged to share and are provided with the environment where it’s safe to do so.
It’s an approach that is being used by Fortune 500 companies to improve commercial outcomes. For example, GE is so committed to making performance improvements that they have rolled out an app to facilitate it.
In addition to helping individuals to achieve mastery of their jobs and scope of activities, it’s important for the entire team to use it. Encouraged to challenge the status quo, employees can question things that may have always been performed in a certain way and look for how that can be improved.
Employees need to be aware of how their feedback is contributing to help the company improve all round, on an individual, team and organisational level.
Management consultant companies, Accenture, GE and Deloitte have overhauled their performance review system to incorporate the practice of real-time feedback. It’s been identified as being more suited to a workplace where the output is no longer quantifiable and it has many benefits, including:
Providing opportunities for process improvement and personal improvement and learning. Top performers can be identified by managers and provided with course correction with this ultra-lightweight method of performance review.
As long as the real-time feedback is documented, it can be used to recall employee accomplishments throughout the year. They can be recalled and revisited at the annual performance review.
Company values and competencies that are role-based can be identified and recognised in use through real-time feedback. Performances in leadership, innovation, leadership and teamwork can all be identified and noted.
Peer and manager feedback can be rolled into the system. Constructive feedback will ensure that employees are on route to achieving the goals that were set with their managers during performance reviews.
Using feedback collected throughout the month, quick check-ins can take place that will build a more realistic record of what occurred during the 12 months prior to an official annual performance review – making it easier and more accurate for everybody. No anxiety and no surprises.
To establish the culture of delivering continual feedback, practitioners can start with:
· Leading by examples – start with senior leadership and make it highly visible and transparent
· Develop a principle that accountability is something that is shared across the entire business
· Ensure that learning is not optional but continual and give time for employees to do this, time to reflect and practice what they have learned.
· Recognise learning on both an individual and team level and celebrate successes
Feedback is delivered on an everyday basis, and not saved for performance reviews that may occur over a longer period. There may still be a sense of discretion during delivery so that the recipients don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Over time, as the culture becomes more established, there can be an exploration into whether feedback could be delivered more openly.
Building a learning organisation isn’t so much about using technology or systems, it’s something that needs to be inserted into the culture. Although both can support it, by ensuring that employees are rewarded for achievements gained from establishing that learning and continual feedback culture or through achievements from shared accountability, the culture can be changed to support it.
You can access three different case studies of learning organisation success stories here.
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