If you’re not a fan of annual performance reviews, you’re in good company. In fact, Gallup researchers found that 14% of people and only 8% of managers feel inspired by performance reviews. The problem? Annual performance reviews are delivered long after yearly goals are set and much of the work toward those goals is done. The feedback is no longer timely, useful, or meaningful.
Most managers agree that regular feedback is a best practice. But according to Gallup, only 7% of employees receive daily feedback from managers, 19% receive it a few times a week, and 27% a few times a month. A Workhuman study found that 85% of employees who have weekly check-ins with their managers report higher levels of engagement. Considering the positive impact of frequent feedback, it’s surprising these numbers aren’t higher.
The inadequacies of the traditional performance review are compounded in a remote environment. In an office setting, a manager can watch and listen to employees and their interactions with others. Managers have regular opportunities to provide casual feedback in the moment and on the spot.
However, as a remote manager, you don’t have this same access to employees. So how do remote managers ensure employees are working to their potential and getting coaching where it’s needed most? How do you hold teams accountable when you don’t get to “watch” them work?
How feedback loops work in a remote environment
Q: How do feedback loops work?
A: Managers can establish feedback loops in a variety of ways. One example includes frequently checking in with employees to provide feedback to them, while also asking for their positive and constructive feedback about other employees.
In annual performance reviews, an employee receives feedback from one person, their manager, but feedback loops are multi-directional. You collect feedback regularly from everyone on the team. You could even include partners, clients, or volunteer leaders with whom the employee works closely throughout the year. Feedback loops are based on a broader perspective than just one person (the manager) and paint a fuller, more accurate picture of the employee’s contributions.
A feedback loop also builds a sense of external accountability on a team. If an employee knows their peers will evaluate them on their project performance, they (and their teammates) will feel more accountable to each other.
Circling back helps everyone move ahead
Q: Why does it matter?
A: Feedback loops give remote managers a more holistic understanding and greater context for how an employee gets their work done. Regular feedback from the employee, manager, and colleagues provides a window into the behavior that helps an employee achieve results and holds them back from success. The manager learns how the employee performs as a team member. The team’s feedback allows a manager to see an employee from different angles and provides them with concrete examples. With this broader perspective, there’s less of a chance for unintentional bias to creep into the process.
This expanded understanding helps managers plan, reassign tasks, and make any pivots needed for the team on current and upcoming projects. For an employee, this timely feedback allows them to make small adjustments and improve performance throughout the year, instead of receiving a lengthy list of recommendations after an annual performance review. It also allows managers to get feedback from those who work closest with the people they manage, which may not be them!
Feedback loops give managers the information they need to
- Coach employees
- Help them identify and leverage their strengths
- Motivate them to achieve their goals
Team members begin to notice and appreciate each other’s strengths. An ecosystem of accountability will form among team members and those they work with closely. Expectations are clear: they will help elevate each other’s performance.
When remote and hybrid managers focus on continually developing and coaching employees, addressing issues right away, and recognizing achievements and progress throughout the year, everyone enjoys a more fulfilling work experience.
Need Extra Help
Looking for extra help instituting feedback loops into your organization? Check out our remote manager training series. We work with managers to learn how to develop feedback loops that can help them intentionally foster a team culture of accountability. In addition, participants will also learn more about the four pillars of our remote manager training—connections, communication, accountability, and wellness. This training will help you level up your leadership and optimize your remote team. Contact us to learn more.