For busy HR departments, the challenge of keeping people fully motivated and engaged with the mission of the company has never been more difficult. More and more, today’s workforce expects a level of feedback that places enormous demands on management and HR alike. Yet without continuous, constructive feedback, the ongoing development of the individual is put at risk, eventually leading to the risk of talent drain or loss of morale. Thankfully, platforms like Frankli can make the task of constructive feedback so much easier, especially when you apply these four key principles.
- Automate to increase frequency
There has always been a need for continuous, constructive feedback that clarifies the expectations and concerns of your people, and lets them know that they are on the path to success. In the past, this was achieved by a mix of formal reviews and informal ‘checking in’ on the part of line management.
Today, this approach is woefully short of what is expected. Today’s workforce expects almost daily feedback and is brought up on a diet of instant gratification from a digital environment, they believe that there should be no need to wait on anything in life. It’s difficult to disagree with them - why shouldn’t they have easy access to feedback?
Unfortunately, the time, resources and systems to provide such frequent feedback is often beyond most companies. But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t an alternative solution!
More and more, successful companies are looking to software-based solutions such as Frankli to radically increase the level of interaction with their people, and to provide the opportunities for feedback that they demand. And it’s not just a team to employer conversation - it’s also employer to team, to drive performance and enable significant personal development and improved performance.
Because it’s automated, it’s ‘always on’, meaning that staff can interact with the company when it best suits them. Equally, because it’s system-driven, there will always be a response to the needs of staff, and they’ll never feel that they’ve been simply ‘kicked to touch’ with a promise of “I’ll get back to you”.
- Don’t shy away from constructive feedback
It’s very easy to deliver good news and to praise team members for a job well done. When the feedback is constructive, however, it’s human nature that we sometimes put the confrontation on the long finger – particularly when line managers responsible for the feedback may not be fully trained or experienced enough for the task.
And sometimes, if the conversation becomes confrontational, there is a loss of focus and the meeting takes on a life of its own, deviating from the original objective of the meeting. This is one of the reasons why regularity and frequency is so important.
By upping frequency with the help of automation, it’s much easier to nip things in the bud, and issues don’t get enough time to build a head of steam. Equally, constructive feedback can be accompanied by the promise of returning to the conversation within a short timeframe, thus offering the opportunity for team members to address the issue quickly and effectively, and get them back on track in terms of their performance levels.
It's also important that constructive feedback be very much grounded in specifics and facts rather than feelings. Shortcomings on the part of team members should be carefully chronicled and itemised, and should not be couched in broad and meaningless terms such as “We feel you’re not fully committed.” Instead, spell out examples where a lack of commitment may have been evident, and make sure that they’re clearly understood – and agreed to – by the team member. And remember that feedback is a two-way street, so be open to comments coming in the other direction!
- Act quickly, act decisively.
One of the biggest downsides of infrequent feedback sessions is that there may be a very long gap between unsatisfactory performance - or going the extra mile - and the subsequent feedback on it. With the help of automation, however, there is no chance of a months-long gap between behaviour and feedback.
If you wait for an annual review to discuss behaviour that happened months ago, there is a danger that the delay seems to indicate that the employer condones unsatisfactory behaviour. And similarly, a discussion of the incident can quickly descend into a case of “he said’, she said’, where clear memories of what happened are in short supply. By increasing the frequency of interaction, there can never be a lengthy gap between an incident and the subsequent company response to it.
- Informal can be more powerful than formal.
We are not against formal annual or half-yearly reviews – they have a role to play in providing important feedback, and can often provide the reassurance of letting team members know how seriously the company takes the issue of personal development.
That said, they can sometimes be seen as the be all and end all of performance reviews. The reality is that there are opportunities on a daily or weekly basis to provide minor levels of feedback, such as a suggestion for slightly refining a process or system that the staff member is responsible for. Equally, the same opportunities exist for recognising great performance and by saying so while the iron is hot.
Similarly, if the team member is being asked to take on a specific task for the first time, it may very well be appropriate for a series of causal check-ins during the early days or weeks of the new responsibility. Apart from being hugely reassuring, it means that feedback can be taken on board in small, incremental bites rather than involving a major change of tack.
For further information on how Frankli can help you to automate team performance feedback, feel free to get in touch here.