Need for Continuous feedback:

If we look at successful organizations, we can easily see that they comprise of capable people who perform well to achieve the organization goals. 

Organizations realize the importance of good performance by the employees, for being successful.  So they give importance to performance management activities.  Performance management starts by setting goals and then reviewing employee performance against these goals.  Traditionally, performance was reviewed only once or twice a year.  But current day performance management focusses on continuous coaching and development of employees and giving continuous or regular feedback on their performance. 

Continuous feedback is feedback that is given by managers to employees, on their performance, on a regular manner instead of waiting till the year end.  Continuous feedback will make sure that employees are well appreciated on their good performance, as well as corrective path is initiated much earlier, in case if there are performance slips. 

Benefits of continuous feedback:

  1. Eliminates problem of recency:  One of the main complaints in a yearly performance appraisal is that the managers remember only the past few months of employee performance.  So feedback given does not take into account the overall year’s performance. Providing feedback in a regular or continuous fashion will eliminate the problem of recency completely.
  2. No surprise elements: Sometimes, employees think that they are performing exceedingly well. But, during performance appraisals, if performance issues are pointed out, it comes as a surprise or shock for them.  In case of continuous feedback, the surprise element can be eliminated as employees are given feedback throughout the year. 
  3. Better probability of meeting organization goals:  Continuous feedback and coaching allows managers to understand problem areas, and take corrective path as soon as possible.  Also, any changes in the organization goals can be acted upon.  So the probability of employees achieving the goals that are set for them is high. 
  4. Good Motivator:  In a continuous feedback, managers recognize or appreciate good performance by employees immediately. This motivates the employees to perform well always to keep earning such accolades.
  5. Manager bias can be eliminated: A system of continuous feedback can be open not only for managers, but other relevant people as well.  So a skip level manager, a peer or a HR manager can be given rights to provide feedback. Such a system will eliminate manager bias, as views of all concerned people are obtained. 
  6. Smooth yearly appraisals:  When feedback is given continuously, it is much easier for managers to refer to it for completing the yearly appraisals. Also the appraisal meetings are also much easier, as employees would have already been communicated on their performance through-out the year. 

Is giving feedback continuously practically possible?

Well the question on top of everyone’s mind will be whether continuous feedback is practically possible.  When even once a year or twice a year appraisals seem to be time consuming and difficult to get compliance, would managers have time to review the employees work in a continuous fashion?

Actually, it may not be as difficult as one thinks to provide continuous feedback.  When managers and employees are educated on the benefits of continuous feedback, they would be willing to try it.  Also if a simple and easy to use software is provided to record the feedback in a simple format, it would enable the managers to do it easily.