Another trend that is emerging for learning and development teams is creating a better feedback circuit between team members and the L&D team. Employees that are learning from the content and training courses are the ones who have the most relevant and influential feedback on what improvements could be made to training programs in an organization. However, it’s commonly known that getting feedback from employees has typically been difficult.
Why is Real-Time Employee Feedback Important?
There are several reasons that make employee feedback critical for an organization’s success. As we’ve discussed previously, performance support is vital to employee development, and it can often be a tedious process to track and maintain. Ongoing feedback is not typically something that’s accounted for, or even considered a priority. By encouraging real-time feedback from your employees, you’re showing a desire to improve the employees’ developmental capabilities and further their career development. Real-time feedback allows employees to correct their mistakes and change their behaviors when it matters most.
Real-time employee feedback creates a pattern of behavior, both struggles and improvement, which shows growth and opportunities depending on the individual’s progress. By implementing real-time employee feedback, you’re able to continually support your teams on a consistent basis which shows care and empathy for employees and their well-being. When annual review time comes around, you’ll be able to show employees just how much they have improved over the course of the year, and since everything was in real-time when the trainings were conducted, no one will be caught off-guard about the data attained. This can turn what otherwise might be an “out of the blue” negative criticism into a positive conversation for both employees and leaders of the organization.
Benefits of Implementing Real-Time Employee Feedback
Implementing consistent real-time employee feedback into performance management is one of the most common changes that leaders are incorporating into their L&D programs today. Real-time employee feedback can resolve distributed or remote team challenges like feelings of disconnect among team members or decreased team oversight. It does not always have to be corrective feedback but may also include reinforcing a job well done or effective actions to be taken, such as increasing an employee’s responsibilities or role changes.
Some benefits that you’ll see when implementing real-time employee feedback are as follows:
Improve employee performance. Leaders can address performance in real-time situations so that employees can course-correct when it matters most. Performance issues no longer surface as surprising during performance reviews.
Onboard new employees efficiently and quickly. Real-time employee feedback allows for new hires to be more productive by allowing them to learn and adapt to their roles from the very beginning.
Create a culture of transparency and trust. Implementing a real-time feedback circuit creates transparency where employees feel connected to their leaders, and organization where teams can provide open, honest, and helpful feedback to make a positive impact on the organization.
Increase employee motivation through recognition and encouragement. Real-time employee feedback allows for employees to be recognized on their strengths and accomplishments, which in turn reinforces a commitment to strong performance and positive behaviors.
Improve performance data quality and accuracy. Reduce employee bias and improve performance data with consistent employee feedback. Real-time employee feedback supports fair and reasonable talent decision making by providing a clear picture of employee performance, both negative and positive, over time.
Create an environment that fosters peer coaching and knowledge transfer. Real-time employee feedback allows teams the opportunity to help one another develop and expand their skills. Teams will work together more effectively when they can share the success.
Promote ongoing learning and development. Real-time employee feedback opens the opportunity for improvement. A culture of feedback allows leaders to recognize top performance and course correction when it matters most. This format of learning fits into the natural process of learning in the flow of work and doesn’t distract from their day-to-day routines.
Real-time employee feedback provides many benefits to an organization, but above all, it will improve and increase employee engagement. According to a survey produced by Gallup, when meaningful feedback is given, employees are four times more likely to be engaged with the training and development process.
What to Look Out for with Real-Time Employee Feedback
When feedback is done correctly, it creates a circuit that is a two-way street. Employees should also have the opportunity to provide upward feedback, where leaders are also learning and improving. With feedback, there’s always a chance it can feel hierarchical and be taken as only negative criticism. Although real-time feedback is traditionally leader-employee focused, you should encourage your teams to leverage real-time feedback and invest in ways to build trust and psychological safety (see Dashes’ award-winning Escape Room focused at building Psychological Safety here), and continually build on inclusive leadership skills for yourself.
Also, try to keep in mind that real-time feedback can come off as micromanaging. Make sure that your real-time feedback isn’t just constant negative criticism. Employees perform best when there’s a sense of trust and autonomy. If you’re constantly criticizing their performance, it could deter the improvement and success you want to achieve. It’s a slippery slope to walk, especially since real-time feedback can often lean towards micromanaging and may hinder employees’ sense of belonging and creativity. In some instances, focus on your coaching skills instead of your need for feedback, and guide your employees in the right directions without giving them step-by-step instruction.
Where to Start with Real-Time Employee Feedback
By implementing real-time employee feedback, learning and development teams can ask employees for their feedback in short surveys or more in-depth questionnaires – directly in the training course, or immediately after finishing. Learning through in-app experiences, with knowledge bases, or while learning in the moment of need all present unique opportunities for organizations to build in simple, short questions that pull fundamental data on the impact and helpfulness of the associated training. Keep in mind that the process in which you conduct your real-time employee feedback will make or break your company culture. Effective and consistent feedback will lead to positive outcomes. Remember, the key to real-time feedback is to support your employees and L&D teams throughout their career journey. Every individual team member is going to need a different approach, so tailor your suggestions in ways that are easily attainable and effective.