Hey HR pros, we aren't going to sugarcoat it. Employee feedback management is your problem.
You've spent a lot of time teaching your managers to give effective feedback. And while your managers may in fact be giving ongoing, regular feedback to their employees, don't pat yourself on the back just yet.
You need to assess the quality of feedback coming in and ensure feedback is being used to drive performance. You also need to ensure feedback is focused on the values and competencies that your organization says are important.
To do all of this you should keep track of the feedback given to your employees. This process doesn't have to be difficult or complex. In fact, it can be quite simple.
1. Identify the feedback types important to your organization
You should have already identified (and communicated to all employees!) the types of feedback needed to support desired behaviors and actions important to your organization's success.
Everyone in your organization should understand how these feedback types support your organization's core competencies and values. Other kinds of feedback can managers give to support employees in their development and career progression can include: journal notes, manager notes, awards, coaching tips, observations, and recognition.
Make sure your people managers understand how to give critical or constructive feedback that will drive the behavior change they seek. Ben Eubanks of UpstartHR shared a great video about this recently.
2. Set up channels to deliver and store feedback
While you can use an automated system that makes it easy to share and centralize feedback (shameless Halogen plug right here), you can also simply task all employees to set up a folder in your company's email program to do this.
Then ensure your managers...
- Book one hour each week in their calendars to make notes on employee performance over the past week. Managers should reference their notes to give employees feedback verbally or in written form.
- Hold frequent formal and informal meetings with their employees to discuss performance, check in on goals and development plans, provide coaching, etc.
- Set up task reminders for themselves to give employees feedback.
- Communicate to employees that they should expect ongoing performance feedback. (Conversely, employees should feel empowered to ask for feedback if they feel they're not getting enough.)
- Keep a journal where to make notes on any successes, incidents and challenges as they occur. These notes can guide feedback managers deliver and be a great reference point when it comes time to write performance appraisals.
3. Ensure feedback drives performance
Since nothing discussed during a performance review should come as a surprise to either the employee or the manager, feedback collected throughout the year should be used to support conversations about performance milestones, areas for improvement, development and training.
It can also be used to record an employee's progress in closing a skills gap or strengthening a key competency.
Consider using 360 degree assessments to actually evaluate your managers' ability to give effective feedback. See if their employees feel their feedback is constructive and supports their performance.
You can also look at the comments they provide on performance evaluations forms. Is it specific and detailed enough to convey whether or not performance expectations were met?
Does it tie back to core competencies and values of your organization? If not, consider what training options you need to provide to elevate your managers coaching skills.
For feedback to drive performance it needs to be transparent and meaningful. You can help your managers by providing them with the training and tools they need to do this effectively.
To help, we've created sample employee performance comments for a selection of competencies. Download these sample comments to help describe and guide performance feedback.