Feedback Management and Performance Conversations in the Workplace

Feedback Management and Performance Conversations in the Workplace

Annually, monthly or otherwise, it's rare to find anyone who truly enjoys receiving a performance review. Performance conversations often lead to increased workplace stress, which can reduce people's ability to process feedback. However, you have the power to change this for the better.

Learn how embracing feedback management can help you make your workplace a safer, more comfortable and productive place.

What Is Feedback Management?

Feedback management is a subset of performance management, a systematic process of measuring and improving how employees' work contributes to the company. 

In other words, performance management evaluates the amount and quality of employees' work. Managers may use a number of methods in this process, such as:

  • - Self-assessments: In self-assessment, managers ask employees to measure and evaluate their own performance. Managers typically use this method along with another process.

  • - Behavior checklists: Behavior checklists involve lists of criteria that the company expects employees to embody.

  • - Ratings: Managers rate employees on a set scale for an established series of metrics. 

While these methods primarily involve scoring an employee's performance, feedback management focuses on helping them improve their performance by giving them guidance and direction. Building a management strategy based on continuous helpful feedback allows your employees to take greater ownership of their career growth. It assists with setting accurate goals and provides a better understanding of the metrics you're using in your evaluation.

Managers can approach feedback management in several ways, including:

  • - Management by objectives: In this process, employees take an active role alongside management, formulating goals and objectives together.

  • - 360-degree feedback: In 360-degree feedback, a manager and employee review additional assessments from anyone who works with the employee regularly. These assessments can include evaluations of the employee's behavior, leadership skills or character, as well as traditional metric-oriented aspects.

Whatever the method, performance feedback should be specific, actionable and timely.

Improving Through Everyday Feedback

Feedback can reinforce positive qualities

Feedback is one of the six most important performance conversations for leaders to have with their employees. It serves as a base for three of the remaining five — goal setting, compensation and career conversations. 

Employees want to do their best, but they don't know what they do not know. Giving them feedback can reinforce their positive qualities and direct them toward areas of improvement. Feedback management helps to:

  • - Drive employee growth: Employees who receive frequent constructive feedback can set more accurate, actionable goals. Guidance from leadership allows employees to focus their attention and efforts on their most essential areas of improvement and grow in ways that benefit both them and the company. Leaders who include goal development as part of the feedback process foster a sense of support while encouraging employees to take ownership of their progress.

  • - Provide real-time insights: While yearly or quarterly reviews can serve as helpful check-ins, leaders achieve the best results when providing their staff with constructive real-time feedback. Rather than waiting for a formal review to address concerns with an employee's behavior or performance, managers can address these issues as they arise and help employees take steps to fix them. Frequent feedback also helps leadership mitigate the influence of recency bias, as there will be a performance record to consult before an employee's review.

  • - Improve employee retention: The more actionable feedback an employee receives, the more likely they are to improve. Performance feedback enables employees to improve performance issues before they become unmanageable. In a survey of individuals who had been fired from a job, only 10% were put on performance improvement plans, and only 25% said their managers had mentioned concerns about their performance before they were fired. Regular constructive feedback helps your employees be their best and increases employee retention rates at the same time.

  • - Facilitate stronger relationships: Giving and receiving feedback requires a level of vulnerability from both participants. While that vulnerability can be daunting at first, when someone's mistakes, questions or concerns are met with acceptance, it creates a sense of psychological safety. That safety fosters relationships in which people are more honest, productive and confident. Knowing that management will genuinely listen to and consider their suggestions makes employees more likely to share ideas and take risks.

Establishing a culture based on constructive feedback improves employee performance and morale, which helps companies run more smoothly and increase profits.

  • Cultivating a Growth Mindset

    The key to successful feedback management lies in staff and leadership cultivating a growth mindset.

    A growth mindset develops from feedback that focuses on effort over innate skill, shifting importance from a person's ability to how they improve. That shift recontextualizes mistakes and problems as challenges and challenges as opportunities to grow. 

    One of the best ways to encourage this mindset is to emphasize the importance of asking for feedback. The traditional method of offering feedback, whether abrupt or pre-planned, can be stressful for all participants. However, when feedback is given by request rather than offered unsolicited, it eases the process for both the giver and recipient. 

    Initiating the request means the recipient can guide the conversation, giving them a greater sense of control and security that is more conducive to internalizing feedback. This method also provides the giver with a clearer idea of what feedback will be most helpful.

    Embracing a growth mindset also benefits company leaders as well as employees. Rather than simply being managers, leaders should also view themselves as coaches whose goal is to support their teams and help them build to their best possible performance. 

    With that in mind, leadership should frame their feedback on an employee's weaker areas as opportunities for improvement and development. Using language that encourages a growth mindset and regularly providing this feedback and support lets them turn the review process into a celebration of that employee's effort and growth.

  • Hone Your Coaching Skills With NeuroLeadership Institute

    Honing your feedback management skills can help you build a growth mindset within your team, and NeuroLeadership Institute is here to help.

    Our goal is to help our clients and partners follow science to find new ways to see themselves and their work. Our science-backed approach gives you the tools to improve your everyday interactions. Our CFN Certificate in the Foundations of NeuroLeadership program teaches you the neuroscience behind facilitating change, as well as decision-making and problem-solving, collaboration and emotional regulation. With our Brain-Based Coaching program, you can learn how to facilitate positive change, have quality coaching conversations and help people move from impasse to insight.

    Contact us today to speak with one of our education consultants and learn how to guide your people into positive, sustainable new habits.

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