real-time feedback

The Wonders of Giving Real-time Feedback in Global Work Environment

Halfway through 2019, giving real-time feedback has emerged as one of the most popular trends in the global work environment.

According to the Randstad Work Monitor, a significant 49 percent of talents, who are given reviews of their work on the job and at the point that they needed to know it, actually used them to improve their performance. 

The study also shows that 45 percent of global companies are investing in training on how their managers and their staff can provide, receive, and/or respond to productive feedback.

It’s important to differentiate between real-time feedback and the traditional performance review. The time-honored appraisal conducted by a ranking manager for their immediate subordinate usually happens only once or twice a year.

It involves extensive documentation of the staffer’s performance the previous months, ratings given them by other managers and their own colleagues, and a metrics that shows the extent to which they had reached their goals during this particular time frame.

Because it happens every six or twelve months, the performance review logically contains a more consistent and long-term overview of the employee’s behavior and accomplishments (or lack of it).

In contrast, the real-time feedback usually happens whenever the more senior manager deems best to give it. A majority of it is done personally and face-to-face (55 percent). Issuing online communication is done only by a small 14 percent of the managers, and handing over a review through the printed memo is even lower at 11 percent.

The performance review and real-time feedback share many objectives: boosting the performance of the employee; remediating undesirable behavior; sharpening skills; addressing issues and complaints; providing learning that can positively impact performance; and shaping motivation.

The element of time is what sets them apart. Real-time feedback happens almost instantly, or suddenly, depending when the job requires it to be conveyed and the staffer confronted. As the brightest minds in California’s tech hubs keep facing, sometimes changes or developments can happen in lightning speed — and the staff in its line of fire has to be equally agile. Depending on how that staffer behaved, the manager must not wait for months to give feedback.

However, unlike the performance review which is scheduled with the knowledge of the employee, the real-time feedback can be surprising and catch him off guard.

This approach does open up certain pros and cons. On the plus side, the employee or assignee can immediately act on the feedback given them (the study does prove that). On the downside, negative feedback that hits the staffer without warning can be demoralizing and disempowering.

Here are a few tips to make real-time feedback work constructively for all concerned, regardless of the message it contains. 

Tip #1:  

The tone and the language of the message must be professional and courteous, with a hint of warmth and friendliness. It doesn’t matter if the manager uses facetime or an online email — the staffer receiving the message must feel that their superior is on their side. 

Even if the message is about correcting a mistake, it must end on an upswing, instead of a negative beat. The employee must feel empowered and motivated after reading or listening to that message. Professional and courteous language can dispel any knee-jerk reaction that the feedback was given with malice or out of personal reasons. The warmth and friendliness will convey support, not condemnation.

Tip #2:  

The feedback must contain both positive and negative critiques, says Boss Magazine. This is highly recommended especially if the feedback is dealing with an employee’s mistake. 

Offset the potential reprimand that could crush their confidence by showing them how some of their actions did save the day. If the feedback has to do with their negative behavior or trait, then balance it by pointing out their strength.

For example, the response time of this customer service supervisor to their client is below the set time frame. Encourage them to quicken their response rate, but do not fail to acknowledge their tendency to analyze the situation thoroughly, which is probably the reason why they take time in offering a solution. An analytical mind is an advantage; just do not let it slow you down.

Tip #3:  

Open the way to a dialogue. During facetime real-time feedback, the staffer will have the opportunity to respond and make their case. In that situation, as in the performance review, the manager must listen quietly and without interruption to what they have to say. If the real-time feedback was given in the form of an email or a private message, end the message with an invitation to discuss the matter at the soonest possible time. Sound light and inviting, and not threatening.

Real-time feedback can be a powerful and fast way to improve your employee’s performance and sharpen his skills. It can also push him beyond his comfort zone into becoming more competitive. That’s why it must be exercised discreetly, precisely, constructively, with the objective always to support.