Feedback is essential for employees to understand how they are performing and to focus in on areas where they may need more training and development. Honest and constructive feedback helps individuals improve their performance, make progress, actively contribute to the business and move their careers forward.
The giving – or otherwise – of feedback also influences employee engagement levels: a Zenger Folkman study of more than 22,700 leaders across a range of industries and countries discovered that employees of leaders in the top ten per cent on a scale of giving honest feedback had three times the level of engagement compared to those managed by leaders who rated in the bottom ten per cent.
Yet, despite how important feedback is, it can be difficult to give. On a practical level, it can be hard to get together to give feedback face-to-face and from a skills standpoint, many people struggle to frame feedback constructively, particularly if they’re giving feedback that the employee needs to improve.
Many companies have very structured processes for giving feedback, often revolving around manager-led quarterly reviews and annual appraisals. While this is essential for employee development and progression, the manager might not always be the best person to give feedback on everything an employee does. After all, it’s unlikely they’ll be an expert in all areas of their work. Also, as manager-led reviews are held relatively infrequently, they might not always be timely for an employee to get feedback on something they’ve been learning.
Digitally-enabled social assessment
This is where social assessment can help. It’s a way of garnering a range of feedback from around the business to give a fully rounded view of an employee’s achievements, strengths, weaknesses and areas for growth.
Ideally, it can tap into experts in particular work areas so that employees receive timely and specific feedback on a particular skills area or demonstration of a capability. In contrast to the once-a-year performance review, social assessment enables feedback from peers, managers and other relevant stakeholders in an employee’s performance.
In this way, it’s a feedback tool for the 21st century; ideally placed to meet the expectations of a workforce used to the rapid and continuous information sharing enabled by social media platforms.
How social assessment works
Technology-enabled social tools enable feedback to be gathered from a broad spectrum of contributors, regardless of geography or the method of giving feedback they choose.
One of its key strengths is that it supports a range of format types and is particularly well suited to video.
It gives employees access to a range and depth of feedback that they can act upon in the course of their everyday work. In this way, they can more readily incorporate learning from feedback and gain the opportunity to improve any areas of weakness, address any knowledge gaps and generally raise their performance level on a more immediate basis than they may otherwise be able to do.
A shift in feedback culture
Thanks to digital collaboration tools, widely used in both a professional and personal capacity, people can invite and draw in feedback from a broad range of contributors, wherever they may be and wherever they sit within the organisation’s hierarchy and structure.
By embracing this opportunity, a shift in feedback culture can be achieved – from one where giving feedback is an infrequent, potentially awkward activity that has to be ticked off the ‘to do’ list to one where it is an integral, continuous and free flowing part of ongoing development.
To find out more about how social assessment can drive employee engagement and improve performance, take a look at our ebook.