Real-Time Performance Feedback: Why It Works

It’s no secret…. all organizations need to provide their employees with feedback in order to succeed. The form that this feedback takes can either be informal, such as immediate admonishment in negative circumstances or passing praise for a job well done; or it can be formal, like the annual or bi-annual review.

Luba Sydor

Most of us are accustomed to annual performance reviews: the often dreaded, anxiety-filled meeting with your manager where you have to cram a year’s worth of accomplishments into a one-hour meeting. Performance reviews were built for a workplace where output was easily quantifiable and workers could be evaluated on the same scale.

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Today’s knowledge workers bring talent and adaptability that cannot be evaluated in the traditional way. Workers want more flexibility and openness, which is hindered quite a bit by annual performance reviews.

Employees today want more immediate feedback from their employers. They do not want to have to wait six or 12 months for a performance review. Millennials say they want more feedback, and research with all generations shows ongoing feedback improves engagement and motivation, an important driver of performance at today’s top companies.


What is it?

In a modern business, real-time feedback is the solution to fixing the broken performance management system we’ve used for years.

Real-time feedback is pretty self-explanatory. Instead of only providing employees with a review of their performance once or twice a year, taking up large chunks of time when doing so, real-time feedback aims to inform employees of their performance more frequently and in smaller time increments.

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Real-time feedback establishes an ideal pathway for effective and regular one-on-one conversations across the organization. Role and goal alignment can be executed more efficiently as individual, mutual, and team progress are monitored. This also means that you can nullify one major factor for attrition – lack of open conversations with leaders.

Data-driven, real-time feedback also makes annual appraisals smoother and easier. This is because both parties — appraisee and appraiser — are aware of the day-to-day work data and performance metrics for the entire year without any discrepancies.


Real Benefits:

Implementing real-time feedback as part of the performance management process will:

1. Improve employee performance by helping managers address and document performance issues in real time so that employees can quickly course-correct. Performance issues will no longer surface as surprises during formal performance reviews.

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2. Increase motivation by offering recognition and encouragement. Real-time feedback allows employees to be called out for their strengths and accomplishments, reinforcing strong performance and positive contributions.

3. Build a culture of transparency and trust. Transparency allows employees to feel connected to the organization in a meaningful way. A transparent culture creates an environment where people can provide honest and helpful feedback, knowing that it will be used in positive way.

4. Onboard new employees more quickly and efficiently. Real-time feedback will allow new employees to become fully productive more quickly by allowing them to learn and adapt to their role.

5. Increase the quality and accuracy of performance data. Reduce the potential impact of bias on performance data through the continuous collection of feedback. Real-time feedback supports fair and accurate talent decisionmaking by providing a clear picture of performance and improvement over time.

6. Build the capabilities of managers. Through continuous upward feedback and peer coaching, managers gain insight into their managerial style and skills. Real-time feedback offers managers the ability to become better leaders.

7. Encourage peer coaching and knowledge sharing. Real-time feedback gives employees the opportunity to help each other develop and learn new skills. Teams will work more effectively and achieve success together.

8. Reduce the amount of time required to prepare for formal performance reviews. Managers and employees can easily review performance for the entire period and create goals for the future.

Is your company ready to implement real-time feedback? Try it today – I strongly encourage you and feel confident that it will only improve performance and employee motivation in your organization. As a leader, you should make people feel that they’re your biggest assets, you care about their growth, and you’re not just a balance-sheet-focused firm.


Luba S. Sydor is founder of Person 2 Person, LLC which specializes in human resources consulting, career counseling, and executive search in Life Sciences. She holds a Masters Degree in Human Resources and a BBA in Business. With over 25 years experience, she has held a variety of management positions with oversight for people strategies, programs & processes in both large and smaller growth companies, namely within the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech industries.

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