SumTotal Blog

3 Ways Continuous Feedback Improves Performance

December 12, 2019 | by SumTotal Blog | 4 min read

How often do you conduct performance reviews in your organization? Are you still on the annual review cycle? If not, what did you replace it with? How long after a new hire starts do you check in with them to see how they are adjusting? What about people who give notice – do you conduct an exit interview?

If you have responsibility for overseeing performance reviews, consider the following:

According to one survey, although 94% of executives are confident that employees are satisfied with their company’s performance review process, most employees feel the process is outdated. In fact, while nearly 70% of companies still cling to an annual or bi-annual performance review schedule, more than half of office professionals say that’s not nearly enough–they want performance check-ins at least once a month. Even more (94%) would prefer their manager address mistakes and development opportunities in real-time, which enables more agility through coaching and behavior changes to address skills gaps and shifting strategies.

In a recent Gallup study, over half of exiting employees said that in the three months before their departure from the company, neither their manager nor team lead had spoken to them about their job satisfaction or future with the company.


Today’s workers can reach friends and family instantly. This instant access is extending into the workplace and manipulating how feedback needs to be given by managers—" the millennial experience of being able to check in, ask questions, and get feedback in real-time in their personal life would be mirrored in their desire to have similar access and input in their professional lives.”

It is also true that providing continuous feedback increases morale and helps employees stay on track with their professional goals. When employees know where they are in their development, for example, a nurse who needs two more courses to advance to the next pay grade at a hospital, they’re motivated to continue their development.

Further evidence that continuous feedback is preferable:

  • Over 90% of employees want their manager to address performance mistakes or development opportunities in real-time when they happen
  • 67% of executives admit to removing negative feedback from employee evaluations because too much time had passed between the incident and the review for it to be relevant
  • 86% of executives say their company would benefit from more frequent check-ins with employees
  • Nearly half of employees don’t feel comfortable raising issues with their boss between formal performance reviews, but almost three-quarters say they’d be more proactive in raising issues or concerns if they received more frequent feedback


However, it is important to note that there is another reason for companies to adopt continuous feedback- increased performance. Let’s take a closer look at how regular reviews and input boost performance:

1. Frequency

The frequency of feedback alone can boost employee engagement. Allowing feedback to come from multiple sources increases the number of teaching moments provided to each employee. A self-service time clock that engages employees every day (clocking in each morning, clocking in and out at lunch, clocking back out in the evening) can provide feedback on where they are with their training and how to advance to their next promotion. Showing progress in training and compliance can keep employees safe as well as motivate them to progress to the next level within their organization. Both managers and employees benefit from multiple sources of feedback on performance and training.

2. Culture

Frequent, data-driven feedback not only supports manager decision-making but also supports a positive workplace culture. Frank Elavsky, a data and policy analyst, says: “The most important skills to have in life are gained through interpersonal experiences...Human bodies in close proximity to other human bodies stimulate real compassion, empathy, vulnerability, and social-emotional intelligence. These skills are imperative to focus on, as the future is in danger of losing these skillsets from the workforce.” Encouraging continuous feedback and supporting a coaching culture creates a workplace that is people-focused. A performance strategy that puts people at the center shows commitment to workers, their well-being, and their success.

3. Analytics

Today’s managers have more tools than ever available to track and monitor employee training and performance. Technology may be the most valuable tool in helping organizations overhaul performance management. Capturing performance data (on-time rates, customer satisfaction results) can provide managers with tangible metrics to assess and rate employee performance. Issues afflicting performance management, such as biases and human error, can be eliminated when promotion and pay scales are based on data. Workers can be identified as top performers and rewarded for their performance when managers have access to accurate information on key metrics for success.


Often, I hear that while the idea of frequent feedback is excellent, the reality is that organizations are just not set up to efficiently or effectively conduct them. Well, that’s no longer the case. Technology is a great enabler, and SumTotal’s Talent Management solution is the answer.

Here’s Universal talking about our tools:

“SumTotal Talent Management ensures Universal is evolving to align with our ever-growing organization and facilitating more regular engagement in conversations and documentation about employee performance and development.”

- Kristin Chase, Senior Director, Organizational Development, Universal Parks and Resorts

To learn more about how SumTotal can help your business, request a free demo.

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