There’s no doubt that feedback is an important element in an organisation and a manager-employee relationship. We all want it, and many times remember to give it, thinking it will have a positive effect anyway.
But neuroscientists have discovered that there is a significant difference in the effect of feedback depending on what your feedback focuses on.
Let’s say that you want to acknowledge your employee’s active participation in a workshop. Saying “you were so smart in that workshop” or “well done, team!” is positive, but scientists have discovered that it will actually work against the intention. In fact, trait feedback reduces motivation, increases stress and has a negative impact on performance.
Action feedback such as “you brought up many good examples of challenges our customers are facing with our product”, on the other hand, had a positive effect. Being concrete, specific and focusing on work tasks, not the person’s traits, is key if you want to motivate, engage and increase performance. So before you give feedback, ask yourself if it’s related to the person or a job task.
Feedback as part of continuous performance management
We don’t give feedback for the sake of giving it, but to recognise good performance, engage motivate, improve and develop. Therefore you should not be afraid of doing it, even if the recipe of the perfect feedback might sound challenging.
There are a number of studies that confirm the ideal time to give feedback: as soon as possible. Don’t wait with your feedback. Studies have actually uncovered that the longer delay in feedback, the less effect it has.
Spontaneous feedback is part of an engaging, positive working environment. From HR perspective it is also a part of continuous performance, which consist of appraisals, informal check-ins and concrete feedbacks.
Appraisals, status reviews and check-ins many times stay between the employee and the manager, but feedback can and should be something that doesn’t know organisational boundaries. This is particularly important as more and more people work across functions, for example product development and sales, or marketing and IT. These feedbacks can be useful in the context of appraisals and status reviews, and help managers to gain a better picture of an employee in a bigger context.
To summarise, the recipe for the perfect feedback that motivates, engages and increases performance: Be concrete, specific, focus on a work task and give your feedback as soon as possible.
Many organisations have identified the positive effect of instant feedback as part of overall continuous performance, but lack the appropriate tools for facilitating feedback sharing. Therefore we at CatalystOne developed Fast Feedback, a tool that enables you to send or request feedback from anyone in the same organisation. Watch it in action by viewing the video!