Written by: Dave Mizne
Traditionally, managers have relied on the annual performance review to provide employees with feedback. However, surveys indicate employees don’t find the process valuable. Simply meeting once a year to discuss their progress doesn’t give employees a thorough sense of their own performance. It also doesn’t give them many opportunities to offer valuable feedback to their supervisors.
That’s why managers are shifting to a continuous feedback approach. With the right tools, like 360 performance evaluation, staying in contact with your workers (even if they work remotely) and regularly updating them on their progress is easier than ever.
The Benefits of Continuous Feedback
Continuous feedback addresses many of the shortcomings of annual performance reviews. First, it allows managers to provide feedback when they have a stronger overall recollection of an employee’s recent performance.
Trying to remember how a worker has performed over the course of a year is difficult. This results in vague feedback during annual review sessions. When a supervisor checks in on a weekly or biweekly basis, they can offer more specific advice.
The organization also benefits when managers provide continuous feedback. Regular check-ins give managers more chances to confirm their employees are focused on the appropriate objectives. If an employee isn’t making the expected progress or is perhaps focusing on the wrong priorities, managers can point them in the right direction before they waste too much time and resources on tasks that may not be essentially valuable to the business.
Surveyed workers directly state they believe annual performance reviews don’t help them better understand what their objectives should be. With continuous performance, this may not be a problem.
Additionally, annual performance reviews have a negative impact on the relationship employees have with their supervisors. It creates a power dynamic that prevents employees from feeling comfortable with having a genuine discussion about their performance.
This is particularly true for the many employees who feel they don’t necessarily understand how the annual performance review impacts their employment. Does it correspond to their pay? Does it impact their job security? Since they aren’t sure what the actual goal of the performance review is, they’re not open during any potential discussions. They’re likely to be on their guard during the process.
This isn’t the case with continuous feedback. When supervisors and their employees check in with each other on a regular basis, everyone quickly becomes much more comfortable and sees the value in the experience. Employees can spend less time worrying about what the feedback means for their pay or job security and spend more time actually listening to and acting on the feedback. Additionally, they get the chance to share their own thoughts with a supervisor.
It’s clear that many people don’t like annual performance reviews. Employees worry about them, human resources professionals believe they’re expensive, and supervisors struggle to make the process valuable. Clearly, an effective replacement will offer more benefits to your organization. Continuous feedback is that replacement.
One may develop the most technically sophisticated, accurate appraisal system, but if that system is not accepted and supported by employees, its effectiveness ultimately will be limited. -Gallup
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