The definition of work has changed and so has the meaning of performance. 2020: The year of massive and rapid change have also had business and HR leaders relook at their performance management system. And one of the biggest lessons has been that no performance targets or goals can be fixed for a year ahead. They need to be continuously revisited and changed if needed.
Most business leaders of emerging small businesses that we have spoken to have repeatedly emphasized on the importance to have continuous performance and growth conversations with their teams. However, they have also shared how they struggle with actually implementing it. So here we share some quick ways to help you create a culture of continuous feedback in your organization:
1.Walk the talk: The change begins from the top
“We can’t just sit back and wait for feedback to be offered, particularly when we’re in a leadership role. If we want feedback to take root in the culture, we need to explicitly ask for it.” – Ed Batista
Leaders must ensure that they regularly interact with everyone in their team. They must drive the conversations and approach the associates with a willingness to listen. The leadership can set the frequency and the quality of these check ins and also train the other managers to have more meaningful conversations that translate into progress for both individual and organization. ‘
2.Performance conversations vs Growth conversations
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk
Continuous feedback shouldn’t turn into your employees feeling insecure that they are continuously being monitored. For a better impact they must also benefit from these discussions. Communicate with your employees: How these regular conversations add value to their career and growth? Let them know what’s in it for them and soon you would observe how they would be the ones leading these discussions.
3. Document feedback and embed accountability
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Avoid the illusion. Document the conversations. A major roadblock in creating a culture of continuous feedback is consistency. It lasts a month or so and then the continuity is broken because work happens! But what both leaders and employees across levels need to realize is that growth conversations are a critical aspect of work. It should not be seen in silo. One of the best ways to tackle this challenge is to document every growth conversation and list out action items to follow up for a specified time in the future. The leaders must hold the reports accountable for certain things and even the reports must list out the things leaders have to address or provide.
4. Measure & reward leaders: Introduce upward feedback
To promote a culture of continuous feedback start measuring the effectiveness of leaders and managers in driving these conversations. Seek upward feedback from employees and check for any gaps. Also recognize leaders and managers who have been able to lead by example. These can become your firms’ ambassadors of change and also inspire others. The magic of positive reinforcement always works!
If managers and employees still struggle, a third party intervention becomes must. Getting experts and consultants to help you understand and create a culture of continuous feedback will be highly effective, as it would save a lot of time and cost.
In case you are looking to reshape your current performance management system, contact us. We are here to help.