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Why is feedback so important for growth and development?

17/07/2023 minute read Hannah Hirst

If you work in HR or you’re a manager, I’m sure you’ve heard before that feedback is an important part of performance management. But have you ever found yourself asking ‘why is providing and receiving feedback so important? Is it really needed?’

Here at OneAdvanced, we’re passionate about great continuous performance management, and a big part of that is enabling over 20,000 piece of real-time feedback to be easily given and received every week, so when it comes to feedback we know our stuff! So we can tell you what a huge impact a good bit of feedback can have for employees, and the organisation as a whole!     

A better picture of performance

By allowing feedback to be given to any employee from any employee across the organisation, you open the door to a bigger picture of performance. Whereas before an employee might only get to hear what their manager thinks of their performance, they can now hear from any of their co-workers that they interact with on a professional level. 

Other people in the organisation may pick up on good work, or potential problems that a manager doesn’t see: this is especially relevant now that more people than ever are working in different locations to their line manager.

Feedback allows both the employee and their manager to get a more rounded view of performance, giving the manager a chance to see good work they might not have noticed, and employees the opportunity to work on any areas to be improved that they might not have realised were there.  

Goal setting

After receiving feedback, employees and their managers can review what has been said and use the feedback to set goals in order to improve performance. An example of this could be an employee getting constructive feedback that says they need to be better at hitting deadlines, and so they can set a short-term goal that looks like this:

Hit all of my deadlines for the next month

And under this goal the objectives could be:

  • ‘Make a clear ‘to do’ list of all my tasks and the dates they are due
  • Check my ‘to do’ list every day and tick off any completed work
  • If I know I will struggle to make a deadline, communicate this to my line manager and anyone else who will be affected by this

By setting goals based on feedback, employees and managers know that they are relevant and specifically targeting an area that needs improvement.  

Employee development

Using the pieces of feedback given to them, an employee can pick out areas that they wish to develop in order to progress in their career. This could be areas of weakness that might impede their ability to get a promotion, or it could be a strength they can further develop to give them a leg up when it comes to a progression opportunity.

For example, an employee might want to move up to a management role, but they know this will involve presenting stats and information to leaders; so after they run a meeting where they need to present, they ask their colleagues for feedback. The feedback they receive states that they spoke very clearly and professionally, but their PowerPoint presentation was a bit all over the place and confusing. So from this they can set two development goals.

1.     Put myself forward for more opportunities that will allow me to develop my public speaking skills.

2.     Work on my PowerPoint presentation skills.

a.     Reach out to ‘X’ who always puts together clear and engaging PowerPoints, and ask them for some coaching sessions.

b.    Do some research on what makes for a good PowerPoint presentation.  

c.     Keep a record of my presentations to track my progress

The employee can then continue to ask for feedback from their co-workers specifically on the subject of their public speaking and PowerPoint presentations to track if they are improving, and make changes to their goals as relevant.

A more equitable review process

When feedback is taken into account as part of employee reviews, it makes sense to get as many perspectives as possible. Limiting who can give feedback results in a narrow view of a person’s performance, creating a potentially bias review process.

At organisations that don’t allow for feedback at all, only the manager’s view can be taken into consideration, and managers don’t always get the best view of their team member’s day to day performance. Even when organisations do ask for feedback as part of the review process, it’s usually targeted at a small group of people and only asked for when needed for review purposes. This means you still get a limited view and quite often people have forgotten about the employee’s performance as a whole, and are only thinking about the last few weeks.     

By allowing real-time feedback to be given to an employee from anyone they work with, you get a much fairer view of performance. Firstly, you are getting multiple views of the person’s performance, giving a more fleshed outlook at how they work; secondly, with real-time feedback people are able to give their thoughts when relevant throughout the year.

Overall, this leads to a more equitable review process, which means your organisation can ensure more accurate results.

So now we know why feedback is so important, what can you do to encourage feedback within your organisation? Firstly, you can give your employees access to a performance management platform that allows them to quickly and easily request and give real-time feedback. Performance & Talent is our continuous performance management system that allows organisations to set and track clear, agile goals, encourages regular conversations between management and employees and provides team members the opportunity to give and receive real-time feedback.

You can also look to reduce barriers when it comes to asking for and giving feedback. In our next blog, we’ll be looking at what might prevent someone from asking for or giving feedback, and what you can do to break down these barricades. We’ll also be looking at best practice for giving feedback, and how employees can best use the feedback given to them to assist with performance and development, so keep an eye on our resources page.

If you’d like to find out more about feedback, or any other features in our continuous performance management platform, get in touch with us today.