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31 / Aug / 17
By Mary Obozua

The continuous cycle of feedback

Back in 2015 I recall reading a post by HR Expert Liz Ryan titled 'It’s time to kill (annual) performance reviews…'

The premise of the article was around why do we wait a whole year to conduct a performance review when it should be more frequent – 'continuous', and arguably good management practice. 

After attending industry events since then, I realised that killing the annual performance review was already gathering momentum and some companies were already taking great risks in changing the original structure and frequency in the way a typical performance review would be conducted. The first being scrapping the annual concept all together and managing performance as a mutual agreement with the employee.

Continuous feedback seems to have branched off this concept, where the annual employee engagement survey was also questioned. Why should it be annual, why can’t managers be in continuous conversations with employees? 

There are pros and cons when deciding on a continuous feedback project. While often seen as a less laborious process compared to an annual survey, there is more data to analyse, an increased expectation that action will be taken on the feedback and a need for a clear communications channel to regularly share updated results. Clearly the process of ongoing feedback is a sign of an employer taking employee views seriously and creating an expectation that action will be taken based on the findings of the survey.

Whether for performance management or to gain feedback on the company performance, it is apparent there is a need to keep conversations going. As mentioned earlier, Liz Ryan emphasised it being good management practice and shared this review from a client:

I was talking with Blair, a manager in our company who hates to write and deliver performance reviews. Blair asked me, "Why do I have to sit down and talk with Kathy about her progress once a year, or once a quarter? Kathy and I talk every day. If I didn't talk to Kathy way more often than the performance review process requires me to, I wouldn't be a good manager. If I'm not a good manager, no performance review process will make me one."

In an earlier blog post, we discussed the adage that 'People don’t leave companies they leave manager'  and although we concluded that this is not always the truth, it still highlighted the role managers play in retaining talent and keeping employees engaged.

Again, we arrive at similar conclusions. With the right partnerships and coaching in place, a culture of continuous conversations can be sustained. It’s needed as we are seeing most companies welcome this new way of working and ask for services that support it. Whether that takes the form of the right consultancy or a robust system to assist, there are tools available.

At Survey Solutions we provide more than just your basic annual survey needs. If you’d like to know more about our Continuous Feedback and Employee Lifecycle offering, get in touch.



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