SumTotal Blog

Why You Need to Embed Ongoing Feedback and Coaching into Your Workplace

July 29, 2021 | by SumTotal Blog | 5 min read

As the nature of the workplace continues to morph and workers’ expectations evolve, many people are asking, “How often should employees be getting a performance review?”

The short answer is “very often,” if not “always.”

These days, many organizations are upending—and in many cases ending—annual performance reviews, replacing them with continuous feedback practices such as check-ins and quarterly (or even weekly) performance goals.

Instead of high-stakes, low-impact annual performance reviews, the most successful organizations embrace a more people-centric approach to performance management based on more agile feedback and coaching practices.

This new approach to performance management focuses on frequent, meaningful discussions between the employee and their manager. As a result, managers are becoming coaches who give immediate and helpful guidance, creating opportunities to engage in an open conversation that aligns employee goals to the organization’s goals.

What is continuous employee feedback?

Continuous feedback is an approach to performance management that allows employees to receive ongoing feedback and be guided systematically by openly discussing their strengths and weaknesses.

MIT’s human resources department instills a culture of “ongoing engagement” for their employees. At MIT, ongoing coaching and continuous feedback between managers and employees are integral to employee performance and development.

Regardless of industry, the way we work has changed:

• We collaborate more across teams.

• We move with more agility.

• We constantly pivot as we get new information.

This means employees and managers rely on more specific feedback given more frequently to keep up with the pace.

Why Is It Important to Give Continuous Feedback in the Workplace?

Continuous feedback gives your employees the ability to work towards their next position by understanding their strengths and identifying skills gaps. In short, continuous feedback leads to improved performance.

Let’s take a closer look at how continuous feedback and regular reviews can boost performance:

1. Encourages Growth

Frequent feedback increases the number of teaching moments provided to each employee. Encouraging and showing progress can motivate them to progress to the next level within their organization.

2. Builds a Coaching Culture

Encouraging continuous feedback and supporting a coaching culture creates a people-focused workplace. A performance strategy that puts people at the center shows commitment to workers, well-being, and success.

3. Facilitates Data-driven Decision-making

Integrate your performance management data into your compensation planning to establish a pay-for-performance culture. Capturing performance data can provide managers with tangible metrics to assess and rate employee performance. Workers can be identified as top performers and rewarded for their performance when managers have access to timely, accurate information on key metrics.

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What is Workplace Coaching?

Workplace coaching means encouraging your employees to learn new skills and advance in their career paths. By building a coaching culture that emphasizes training, regular feedback, and growth opportunities, organizations can create a more engaged and energized workforce.

To be successful, managers can’t rely only on annual performance reviews to inspire change and drive growth. Whether formal or informal, coaching must be strategic and ongoing to impact an employee’s performance significantly.

What Are the Benefits of Employee Coaching?

According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2021 study, Career Development: Are You Considering What Employees Want, “Employee-centric organizations are, on average, three times more likely than others to regularly discuss careers with employees and give them an active role in shaping career development programs.” These organizations are also 3.6 times more likely to be actively involved in coaching their employees.

By building a coaching culture, organizations can better support their employees in upskilling and reskilling. Ultimately, this helps organizations to create a more engaged and energized workforce.

How Do You Coach Remote Employees?

While you don’t get face-to-face 1:1s with your remote employees, you can easily have regular technology-aided dialogue. (Think: video conferencing, Slack, email, mobile apps, phone, performance management tools, etc.)

For instance, with a performance management mobile app, managers can view critical team metrics, including performance, goals, compensation, learning, and development. Employees can request and provide feedback “in the moment” right from a smartphone or tablet.

Mobile apps enable your remote employees to work smarter and faster, while you receive and provide continuous feedback. Mobile apps can give your remote employees and managers access to learning, team information, performance feedback, and other tools on their mobile devices anywhere and anytime.

How Do You Get Started with Setting Up Ongoing Feedback and Coaching in the Workplace?

Begin by examining your current processes for giving and soliciting feedback and managing employee coaching. Then, begin researching technology-based solutions that can help support a more robust approach. Technology can automate the performance process to meet organizational needs, reduce administrative costs, and optimize everyone’s time.

At its best, continuous feedback is both insightful and actionable. Many performance management platforms monitor employee priorities and progress, and include the ability to capture real-time feedback linked to specific goals and competencies.

A sophisticated performance management platform will allow you to:

• Create flexible performance programs for full or part-time employees

• Drive learning activities with a snapshot review to document performance conversations

• Align compensation guidelines with performance ratings

• Connect informal discussions to the performance reviews

• Create personal and professional development plans based on goal achievement

• Connect with colleagues and managers or mentor within online communities

Look for technology that streamlines employee development and aligns employee goals with your organization’s objectives and will allow you to automate and optimize performance management.


Be sure that whichever platform you choose, it will allow you to set up goals, build role-based dashboards, and manage development planning that balances individual and company goals. By doing so, you can support your strategic initiatives as well as ensure your employees see their contributions and feel valued in the organization.

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