Why Real-Time Feedback Makes a Real Difference to Organizational Productivity


‘An ear to the ground is always a good thing’.

All firms – no matter how big or small – must invest in a regular, intelligent, and focused employee feedback mechanism. The feedback could take any form or shape, such as an informal approach (say, an immediate reproach on a negative performance) or a formalized model (like an annual or bi-annual review).

Of course, the latter is a time-honored practice and is still possibly the most popular method of evaluating employee productivity & performance. A vast majority of modern firms continue to utilize the annual review as the principal source for feedback; however, a newer and more continuous process is now beginning to take its place – or at least, supplement the usual annual review.

This is known as Real-Time FeedbackOpens a new window . Before we go any further, let’s take a deeper look into its implications.

What is Real-Time Feedback?

It’s pretty easy to understand what real-time feedback means. Instead of employees going through a review process once or twice a year – each taking a considerable amount of time – real-time feedback helps to keep employees in a consistent loop, of performance, quality monitoring, and feedback in smaller, easy-to-digest segments.

Consider this example; an employee is scheduled to put out a sales deck in July, right after her mid-year performance review. He/she does a fabulous job on the same, and gets on board a giant, new client. While there could be word-of-mouth praise or recognition for her/him, the employee would have to wait till the end of the year, i.e. December, before receiving a formal feedback on her performance.

Further, if there was any way in which the employee could improve her skill-sets, he/she would have to wait 6 months to hear about the same – and by that time would have belted several other presentations with the same flaw or lacunae.

What’s more, the annual review system will prevent employees from receiving possibly valuable feedback within a timeline, which aids effective and efficient re-application, thereby rendering the criticism unconstructive and oblique.

Simply put, it’s hard to make a concerted effort to improve oneself in a given area when the suggestions are not immediate, and are about a situation, the employee cannot recall in entirety.

How does Real-Time Feedback help?

A number of studies suggest that despite all the new tools and technologies that are now available to the new-age worker, workplace productivity is yet to see a massive fillip in numbers.

“According to Gallup, 70% of all employees are disengaged (State of the American Workplace Report, 2017), translating to $605B each year in lost productivity,” notesOpens a new window Michael Papay, Co-founder, and CEO at Waggl. “Waggl helps companies of all sizes to succeed by building a listening culture.  The company is named after the dance that bees do in a hive to transmit important information very quickly.”

This real-time feedback solutions company recently picked upOpens a new window USD 7 million in Series A, reaffirming their commitment to constant and consistent employee morale vis-à-vis productivity.

Remember, employee productivity depends on a number of tangible and intangible factors. Beyond macro-trends and expertise development, several HR experts consider a worker’s desire, interest, and motivation to complete a task or out-perform a project, as critical to boosting productivity.

Here, feedback could play a vital role.

Feedback is a major tool to address all of these intrinsic and more ‘human’ factors. Unfortunately, several firms fail to run an enriching and engaging feedback blueprint, rendering the process dysfunctional and irrelevant.

Even, the sheer logic of a single – or at best two – feedback sessions is replete with inconsistencies. How does one discuss the entire bandwidth of an individual’s performance over just an hour-long session?

**Feedback is at its brightest and most operationally sound, when linked to real-life examples picked up from the recent past.** In an annual review meeting, attempting to recall a particular instance, and discussing the employee’s composite spectrum of highs and lows across the year, is frankly, vague and unsatisfactory.

**Implementing a real-time feedback program is an answer to the above challenge.** A tech-intervention like Success Coach could build a culture where every individual shares and receives feedback at a steady pace. This will ensure retention, meaningful understanding, and the potential for genuine execution on a particular feedback element.

In fact, traditional performance management styles and techniques cannot keep up with the enlightened, competitive, and cutting-edge digital workplace and ecosystem. Data-focused, real-time performance feedback is also a fair, unbiased, and uniform method, enabling evaluation to become free of any bias. Consider Reflektive, a real-time performance management tool that raisedOpens a new window an impressive USD 60 million in Series C this year. And to further create awareness around the importance of real-time feedback, they have been hosting a series of MasterclassesOpens a new window over the last two months, elaborating on its many intricacies.

There you have it; making a real effort to offer employees more frequent and pointed feedback will propel productivity, and impact over-arching enterprise objectives.