The discussion regarding the obsoleteness of the annual performance review system has intensified in the last few years. The uncertainty springing up from the pandemic, fluctuating market and demands, and radical digitalisation have made it crucial for any company to adapt and transform, keeping up with the pace of time. While the state of the world today is challenging every preconceived notion we have of predictability, companies are on a look out for impactful structures and systems to deliver better results. Waiting for a good twelve months to suggest improvements or show appreciation does not seem like one of them.
The VUCA world today demands agility more than anything. Even though the term has become a popularly inseparable part of business conferences and discussions, when it comes to the groundwork, there is no grounding. It appears to linger in the air, solely in words. However, this is not the universal truth either. A lot of companies like Accenture have completely denounced the system of performance management review to adopt something called the Real-Time Feedback system. A system that caters to changing needs and times of the world of work.
What is Real-Time Feedback System anyway?
Remember how infuriating those times make you when your partner brings up a topic from months ago in an argument that you have no memory of?
Precisely how resentment and helplessness build up annoyance in your employees too when check-ins are experienced long after the task is completed. In another case, there can be the hindrance of recency bias as well. This kind of bias refers to the neglect of the participation and work performed in the initial months of the financial year. It, unconsciously or consciously, derives an impression of someone and their work from the relatively recent time frame when the final review is being constructed.
Now that the failure of a long gap in work and feedback is identified, it will make it easier to gauge the importance of Real-Time Feedback. In extremely simple words, it means, delivering feedback instantaneously concerning the work at hand. This model of effective communication does not just take the form of a harbinger of healthy relationships amongst teammates but also helps in the progress of individuals eventually leading to better business results.
Let’s break down the real-time significance of this real-timing of feedback
The Boomers are gone, why should the system stay?
The employee strength, now and in the coming time will be dominated by Millenials and Generation Z. For generations who esteem ethics and values of an organisation in high regard and, to say in the slang, “take no shit”, it is important for managers to buckle up to work with them. Additionally, these generations are also known for their demands for clarity and transparency.
What one can derive from this psychological shift in employees is the need to emphasise the aspect of ‘instantaneousness’, whether in appreciation, recognition, or suggestions for improvement. Importantly, these generations are also highly up to the minute with learning and development owing to the quickly shifting nature of work and qualifications for a job position. Real-Time Feedback helps nurture the culture of learning in an organisation.
Humans are ever-changing just like the times, the new-gen recognises it
The once-in-a-year celebratory nature of providing feedback to the employees is anything but positively fruitful for the new generation. The system of Real-Time feedback recognises it and presents itself as an opportunity to set up itself as an effective alternative. Humans are fickle but also ever-growing, ever-changing.
Giving feedback for something that happened months ago is futile. The person has grown, changed and transformed. Henceforth, the best way to improve performance is to venerate this non-static nature of your employees and equip them with feedback exactly when the problem or extraordinaire surfaces.
Nothing can beat transparency and effectively saying it out loud in forging a healthy manager-employee relationship
Ambiguity, vagueness and not effectively communicating so as to ensure both parties are on the same page can easily make interactions between the two sour and salty. Sometimes, it is, in fact, unintentional. Both operate from a perspective that they have not identified and therefore, not verbalised to even themselves yet. The system of Real-Time Feedback counter-attacks this human tendency. It forces employees and managers to deliberately think and evaluate every emotion they might be experiencing with respect to the work done or given. It pushes them to be certain of their impression of the task or person at hand.
Quipping each other with instant feedback as the identification process concludes helps the one at receiving end also instantly go through the suggestion and evaluate their position. As utopic as this sounds, effective communication can most definitely forge an extremely healthy manager-employee relationship. This, then, eventually leads to better performance as flaws and perfections are quickly laid down and space is given for introspection.
If it had to be said in short, it boosts employee engagement given the constant communication and supply of motivation and will to do better with clarity.
Goodbyes to Panic and Anxiety
Especially after the pandemic, companies have begun to understand the vitality of taking care of their employees’ mental health along with that of physical. Various organisations launched projects to ensure that their workers were doing well. However, a much-neglected facet where panic and anxiety seem to become best friends of the employees is the day of review. The unknown haunts, whats and hows about the once-in-a-long-while review from the manager might lead to sleepless nights too.
A Real-Time Feedback system eliminates these troublesome feelings. The consistency of feedback can help them mentally prepare for the project just executed, not a variety of it they performed over a long course of time. It will also help them not fret over where they stood all year or month long with respect to their OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and KPIs (Key Responsibility Areas). A regularity in closures and expectations expressed can clearly be a game-changer!
Let’s steer the way for the new ones to settle faster
Commonly, companies consider one month as a learning period for every new employee giving them space and time to settle in and understand the ins and outs of the work at hand. The challenge every manager deals with is how to reduce this learning period and make the new employee as productive as an older one with minimal guidance. If not, then, at least accelerate this process.
A revolutionary solution is Real-Time Feedback. The more consistently the person will be evaluated and communicated with the expectations concerning the results, the more clarity they will harbour. It will also help them understand the culture and proceedings of the team or organisation faster than they themselves slowly observe.
If it can be said, it just takes one change in the system for a tortoise to turn into a hare. And, in this story, the quick and steady wins the race!