4 Reasons Why your Feedback Isn’t Impacting Performance

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If you’re a manager looking to build or sustain high-performing teams, you’re probably already aware of the importance of giving effective feedback.

But according to a recent study by Gallup (1), only 26% of employees feel that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. Clearly, feedback isn’t working the way it should. 

So how do we strengthen our feedback strategy to optimise the effect it has on performance? For us, it comes down to four key issues.

Giving Feedback: 4 Reasons Why it’s Not Impacting Performance

1. You’re Giving Feedback Too Late

Research tells us that over 90% of employees would like to receive constructive feedback in real time (2), which is hardly surprising. After all, a brilliant piece of advice might be totally useless if it’s delivered six months after a project has been completed. 

But it’s not just employee satisfaction that’s at stake here, it’s productivity, too. 

The sooner you give feedback, the greater the opportunities for learning and development.

Those who receive real-time feedback can adjust their techniques and habits immediately, which will have an instant effect on how work is getting done. 

We recommend delivering feedback in the moment, or as soon afterwards as possible. Not only will your people appreciate it, but you’ll see the rewards much sooner.

2. Your Positivity Ratio Is Wrong

Over the years, countless researchers have drawn parallels between high-performing teams and high positivity ratios, including those studying colleagues, athletes and even spouses. One study (3) suggests that people flourish when they receive three positive comments for every negative one, giving us an ideal feedback ratio of 3:1. 

While we don’t believe in applying rigid rules to your feedback strategy, the 3:1 ratio provides a useful reminder. 

We need to balance negative and/or constructive feedback with positive comments. 

So, if you find yourself giving a colleague two or three pieces of constructive feedback in a row, it’s time to take note of the positives within their performance. Simply ask yourself, “What have they done lately that deserves recognition?” 

3. You’re Not Giving Feedback Regularly Enough

For decades, feedback was largely delivered once a year during an annual appraisal, a practice that we now know to be ineffective, particularly compared with a system of continuous feedback. But we also know that too much feedback can be overwhelming (4).

So, when it comes to detailed feedback, where exactly is the sweet spot? Well, the highest-performing teams in one recent study received detailed feedback on a monthly basis (5). 

Of course, what works for one team won’t necessarily work for another, but it’s safe to assume that yearly or quarterly isn’t enough. 

For most teams, monthly one-on-ones focussed on performance provide a good starting point. 

You may decide that fortnightly or weekly yields better results. It’s all about adopting an agile approach to find what works best for your teams.

4. You’re Only Giving One Type of Feedback

When thinking about how to give feedback, managers and leaders sometimes forget that there are multiple channels available, some formal, others casual, some quick and easy, and others requiring careful consideration. 

There’s an important lesson here; you don’t have to stick to one feedback channel.

In fact, the more variety you can introduce, the more potential for success.

If, for example, you’re happy with your system for conducting employee reviews, you might like to practice highlighting small wins at Team Meetings, or saying quick thank yous using Frankli’s Give Praise feature. 

Giving constructive feedback becomes less daunting when done regularly, too. Just bear in mind that quick and casual does not equal flippant. As we touched on before, constructive feedback generally takes more time to craft, but there’s still a place for it in relaxed settings.

Solutions-based feedback like, “Can I see another version of this design?” or, “I think we should set aside more time to work on this report,” are best in team meetings, and generally work well when balanced with positive comments.

Frankli provides teams with intuitive channels for giving, receiving and requesting feedback at all levels of the organisation. Click here to learn more.

60-Second Version: Giving Feedback: 4 Reasons Why it’s Not Impacting Performance

Introduction: According to a recent study by Gallup, only 26% of employees feel that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. Clearly, feedback isn’t working the way it should. Today, we’re breaking down four issues that may be negatively impacting your feedback strategy.

1. You’re Giving Feedback Too Late

Employees generally prefer to receive feedback in real time, so they can make instant improvements. The sooner you give feedback, the greater the opportunities for learning and development, and the quicker you’ll start to see results.

2. Your Positivity Ratio Is Wrong

While we don’t believe in applying rigid rules to your feedback strategy, a 3:1 positivity ratio provides a useful reminder to balance negative and/or constructive feedback with positive comments

3. You’re Not Giving Feedback Regularly Enough

Research tells us that the highest-performing teams set aside time for detailed feedback on a monthly basis. Some teams may prefer fortnightly or weekly one-on-ones around performance. The important thing is to develop a schedule for continuous feedback that works for you and your teams.

4. You’re Only Giving One Type of Feedback

There’s no need to stick to one feedback channel. In fact, the more variety you can introduce, the more potential for success. If, for example, you’re happy with your system for conducting employee reviews, practice highlighting small wins at Team Meetings, or saying quick thank yous using Frankli’s Give Praise feature. 

Frankli provides teams with intuitive channels for giving, receiving and requesting feedback at all levels of the organisation. Click here to learn more.

1. Ben Wigert and Nate Dvorak, Feedback Is Not Enough. 2. Wakefield Research, The Growth Divide Study. 2. B.L. Fredrickson, Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ration That will Change Your Life. 4. A. Gosselin, J.M. Werner, and N Hallé, Ratee preferences concerning performance management and appraisal. 5. Pablo Casas-Arce, Sofia M. Lourenço and F. Asís Martínez-Jerez, The Performance Effect of Feedback Frequency and Detail: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Customer Satisfaction.

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