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From Coaching Tip: The Leadership Blog, 9/10/14, Separate Feedback from Performance Reviews

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Performance reviews enter the feedback stage once a year with a lot of fanfare.

It takes a bow, and in one big show it acknowledges a year’s worth of work performance–good or bad.  There’s a lot of preparation time invested by bosses, with human resources (HR) directing from backstage and offering tools and props to ensure a successful event.  While the person reviewed is most interested in what salary raise s/he will receive during this once a year conversation.

Performance reviews may have a define role to play.  But as feedback it is slow.

Lack of feedback is the number-one reason for performance problems.  Many managers give feedback just once a year–at performance reviews.  Employees get little or no benefit from the once-a-year performance review process, as reported extensively in surveys and HR studies:

A quarter of global employees report that they received no feedback at all from their supervisors, outside of performance reviews.

Only 18% of American workers say they are given useful feedback from their manager during performance evaluations.

More than 65% of employees said that the feedback they received in their annual performance review contained “surprise” feedback not mentioned by their manager before the review.

Two-thirds of employees reported that feedback form their annual appraisal confused or demoralized them, and thus exerted a negative effect on their performance.

Millennials, who by 2014 comprise half of the world’s employees, overwhelmingly want more feedback than they are getting.

Most of us can recall a negative performance review experienced, not only because the feedback felt wrong and unhelpful, but also because we received a low–or no–pay raise based on performance ratings we didn’t agree with.

It’s no secret that many people avoid feedback like it’s a plague.

However, more than 2/3 of employees surveyed globally in Gallup and other studies want more, not less, feedback that includes both positive and corrective information to help them do a better job.

Although the term “feedback” is seen and heard everywhere today, whether in reference to online customer surveys or as workplace jargon for “criticism,” it’s actually a much simpler and more fundamental notion.  Feedback is information from past action that is used to guide future action.

The usefulness of feedback is dependent on the accuracy of the information collected.

The more frequent the feedback, the easier it is to learn and improve.  The simple truth is that employees need more feedback from their managers.  At work, a person’s manager is their primary source of feedback information.  If you are a manager, you may be the only source of feedback about whether an employee is doing a good job and, more importantly, what adjustments the employee can make to improve on a continuous basis.

With more information flowing via computers and the Internet, there is now, more-not-less-demand for every manager to provide accurate and frequent feedback to every employee.  People want to know exactly what they need to do to perform well on the job.

Anna Carroll’s new book, “THE FEEDBACK IMPERATIVE: How to Give Everyday Feedback to Speed Up Your Team’s Success” reveals the hidden reasons why giving feedback to employees can be so difficult, yet so urgently needed in today’s workplace and provides definitive steps for overcoming feedback avoidance.

Leaders improve their company by instilling confidence in each employee’s ability to meet and overcome workplace challenges.

Experience has taught us that confidence precedes competence.  A person in the office or a player in a game must first believe he or she can succeed by developing a winning attitude reinforced by skill-building practice.

As each person’s talents are built into strengths and then merged with others in the team, a positive energy emerges. This energy force builds and reinforces each individual’s confidence to create a critical mass which is often referred to as “momentum” or “being in the zone.”

Published, 9/10/2104, Coaching Tip: The Leadership Blog

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