There is a case to be made that this final tactic is the most important. Feedback is critical to employee engagement, yet for some reason feedback is often done so poorly it is harmful if it is done at all. I take a broad brush to defining feedback.
Feedback is collaborative, open, honest, recorded and linked to further actions. Feedback can be ad-hoc/informal or more formal in scheduled meetings with agendas. I have listed some forms that feedback may take and how they are implemented in an organisation.
Performance appraisals and reviews are the most common formal means of delivering feedback. Performance appraisals are often despised by both managers and employees. Some appraisals are complicated with scoring schema, formulae, and complex questions. Whether electronic or paper based, appraisal completion rates in some companies may be as low as 30%. If there is no follow up or corrective action taken this form of feedback, performance appraisals destroy engagement and culture.
Annual performance appraisals are not sufficient as an effective feedback mechanism. You either increase the frequency of the appraisals or implement the next tactic; weekly review meetings.
Weekly individual and team meetings are one of the key planks to my recommendations to improve productivity and execution. I recommend using an agenda, note taking and next action lists linked to workflow management tools. These meetings should also include project teams. I recommend the managers conduct the meetings on a set weekly schedule. Here are some ideas for an agenda:
- Ideally each person is working on tasks and projects aligned with the organisational strategy, [line of sight].
- Each person updates on the progress towards completion of their tasks and objectives.
- Next actions are identified for each tasks and projects.
- Priorities can be assessed and adjusted as needed.
- The manager asks each person for feedback.
- Each person has the opportunity to request help from the manager in removing ‘roadblocks’ to progress.
Some attributes of effective feedback:
- Feedback must be delivered for both positive and negative events and behaviours.
- The feedback must be honest and truthful. It should never be cloaked in politics or other agendas.
- Make sure your feedback is consistent and continual. It must be part of the managers’ modus operandi.
- Feedback should be conversational and not a monologue one way delivery.
- The manager should invite feedback from the employee and make the session reciprocal.
- Timeliness is essential. Delivery of feedback should be as close as possible to the subject of the feedback.
- In these days of global workforces, face to face feedback is not always possible. Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, use video calls to get as close as possible to a face to face conversation.
If you would like to explore some options for building and sustaining a ‘feedback culture’ please get in touch.