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3 Ways Continuous Feedback Improves Performance

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? […]

3 Ways Continuous Feedback Improves Performance

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that employees are satisfied with their company’s performance review process, most employees feel the process is outdated.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.

Replacing the once-off with continuous feedback

Today’s worker 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

Regular feedback = rise in output

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

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.

SumTotal’s Performance Management in action

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

Read the case study to learn how our custom hourly performance snapshot enables Universal managers to quickly and efficiently evaluate the thousands of hourly employees working.

Why hourly employees need performance reviews

I think it’s safe to say that popular wisdom would lead us to believe that giving hourly employees performance reviews is a colossal waste of time and resources; that the sheer volume and high turnover rates of such workers means investing the time to perform reviews is not good business practice. But this mindset [...]

Why hourly employees need performance reviews

I think it’s safe to say that popular wisdom would lead us to believe that giving hourly employees performance reviews is a colossal waste of time and resources; that the sheer volume and high turnover rates of such workers means investing the time to perform reviews is not good business practice.

But this mindset is changing, in part as a response to the growing number, and therefore impact, of hourly workers on business today. The latest US Department of Labor data revealed a surprising statistic. More than 78 million Americans, or almost 59% of the US workforce, are paid on an hourly basis.

These large numbers mean that if the turnover rate in your organization is high, you have a problem.  The Center for American Progress estimates the costs of replacing a $10 per hour worker is at least $3,000, which alone may not appear significant, but usually a company will have a larger number of hourly employees making this rather more costly.

But a 2017 Retention Report by the Work Institute revealed that many, 75% to be exact, of the reasons employees leave such jobs are preventable.

So what can you do?

While there are many measures to be taken, starting with the employee evaluation and performance review process is an excellent first step.

Performance reviews perform an important function, and I’m not just talking about rating how well someone is completing a task. No, I’m talking about something a little deeper.

The top four purposes performance reviews serve

#1 Giving a staff member a sense of belonging, of noting when they are putting in extra effort and acknowledging them for a job well done, or conversely providing guidance when their work is not meeting expectations.

#2 Providing feedback on adherence to time & attendance policies – both positive and negative, if applicable. Showing them the number of times they were late, left early, took long lunches, unpaid days off, and even how much sick time they have used.

#3 Identifying any areas for improvement, training and possibly advancement.

#4 Demonstrating their value to the organization, which in turn will lead to them valuing the organization and less likely to leave.

Of course, the very nature of the hourly worker can make scheduling a review a problem in itself.  When or how should such evaluations take place in the hourly workplace?  Suggestions for accommodating the work schedule and not overburdening the employee (or you) include keeping the performance review short and limited to say 15 minutes, scheduling the review for outside of peak times, ensuring that you are not leaving the workplace understaffed, and using online performance tools to optimize your face-to-face time.  Get creative!  There will be gaps in the schedule where this can be fit in – just work around them.

A study on America’s hourly workforce illustrates the length of time employees stay in their jobs is often an indication of how engaged they are — in other words, how much they care about their jobs and put effort into their work but also know that they are valued by the organization. It is in your interest to encourage and engage all employees, not just your salaried staff.

We can help you achieve this. Our SumTotal Talent Expansion Suite includes the tools and real-time feedback you need, including performance reviews and time & attendance tracking, to help you optimize and better engage your entire workforce.

It’s simple. Start here with a discovery call.