I think it’s fair to say that most people appreciate knowing where they stand in the organization, affirmation of their performance, and guidance to reach their fullest potential. The reality for many people in the workforce is that this has not been a true reality for you yet.
Continual feedback is a set cadence of both formal and informal touches where the leader and the associate sit down to discuss development opportunities both personal and professional. Whether you influence the entire organization or lead a small team, you can implement a continual feedback process that will add value to others.
As in most things in life, you don’t want to dive straight into the deep end of this change. Here are the general steps that teams take as they strengthen their process.
- Annual Reviews: This is the baseline that you start from. This conversation helps wrap up the previous year and set goals for the upcoming year. These are typically a little more formal but certainly can adapt to the culture of your organization and team.
- Quarterly Check-ins: This allows you to keep a consistent conversation of growth centered around the personal and professional goals that you made together with your leader.
- Natural Informal Check-ins: These are typically sprinkled in between the quarterly check-in and may be focused around a particular growth opportunity or situation that the person is facing.
- Advanced Feedback Methods: There are many tools out there to provide targeted feedback through technology or leveraging other people on the team. 360 reviews are helpful, but be very cautious and mindful if you do conduct them. They need to be implemented at the right time, at the right audience, and under the right cultural settings, otherwise, you will do more damage than good.
As you build this continual feedback process to engage better with your team, remember to add in continual recognition and appreciation as well.
Make the time impactful and meaningful
The time that you spend together should be mindful and wrapped around something specific that you want to discuss and give your perspective on. Without an agenda, the time can easily pass by before you get to the reason for the meeting in the first place.
Some tips to help the time have the most impact and value:
- Help your associates in accepting feedback well. If the person is not open to hearing and applying what is discussed, the feedback process will be frustrating for both parties.
- Be willing to accept some feedback yourself during the time. Seek feedback for your own leadership during your time together. This will help you hone your own leadership skills and show the other person that you are open to feedback as well and value their input.
- Set the right tone. This may be awkward for some people, especially if they have never had continual feedback in their role. Set the right tone and setting for the meetings. Choose bright and open areas for in-person meetings and the cameras on (Be well lit!) for virtual meetings. Mind your voice (Ep 202) and body language (Ep 186) to ensure you are consistent in your communication.
- Celebrate progress. Be sure to highlight progress from previous meetings to acknowledge and reinforce positive behaviors and changes that the person has implemented.
For the associate/employee
So maybe this all sounds wonderful and your ideal situation, but you are not in a place to implement this level of culture change on a large scale. I would encourage you to, at a minimum, lead up to your supervisor. Take the initiative to ask your leader for time to sit down and discuss your performance and potential. Make it easy for them by suggesting the cadence and length of the meeting and be willing to bring topics that you want to grow into the first few meetings. Remember to start out small and work your way to more consistent times together.
Take time to have those important people conversations with your team. They will be more engaged in the company and will be one of the factors that help keep them around with you longer.
Sit down, spend uninterrupted time together, and help your team strive.
Make a better tomorrow.