Using a continuous mindset to complement a traditional process

Andrew Ward
22nd April 2020

I’ve spoken to hundreds, if not thousands, of organisations during my career and there’s no doubt about it, employees want performance feedback. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all in agreement there. But if there’s one particular area of performance management where one size definitely doesn’t fit all, it’s how employees should receive feedback from their colleagues.

Some of the questions that organisations ask us, and themselves, before rolling out their feedback culture include:

  • When is a good time to gather feedback?
  • How should feedback be delivered?
  • Who should choose who gives feedback to an employee?
  • Should responses be routed via managers?
  • Should feedback be asked for? Is unsolicited feedback acceptable?

These questions may seem minor on the surface but are actually pivotal in complementing the culture that organisations have worked so hard to create and maintain.

Perhaps the most vital question to ask is the first one. More and more organisations are adopting a continuous, but some HRDs are apprehensive about this and would prefer to have feedback restricted to specific points in the year; often in-line with quarterly or annual check-ins or reviews. The conversation around when best to gather feedback usually then presents itself a binary option: the continuous model or the more traditional ‘once or twice a year’ model.

Both traditional and newer processes have a place in continuous performance management.

The truth is that there is huge value in both. A continuous model puts feedback into the hands of the employees and managers themselves, and enabling them to get feedback about what they want, when they want it. If you’re not already doing this, you’ll be delighted at the additional insight you get into your workforce. What are they asking? What’s important to them? All of this data is invaluable to HR. The process in itself has also been shown to have a hugely positive impact on engagement, wellbeing and progress in achieving goals.

Managers can access the feedback stream within year-end reviews
Managers can access the feedback stream within year-end reviews

On the flip side, a more traditional, formal 360 process attached to performance reviews will ask feedback givers to think about the bigger picture and hone in on an employee’s core skills and value to the business. This more in depth analysis gets HR precise data on talent profiling and succession planning, as well as employees longer terms goals and ambitions.

With such clear benefits to both, this begs the question of why organisations are feeling like they have to choose one or the other? As a result, we’ve introduced? a simple, highly effective update to Appraisd which enables the continuous feedback gathered by employees to show in any check-in or performance review. This small update has already made a huge difference:

Firstly, you no longer have to navigate away from the conversation to view feedback (fewer the clicks, the better!). Keeping feedback in a separate areas puts it at risk of being ignored or forgotten which reduces the positive impact of gathering feedback in the first place.

Secondly, it’s showing your employees that the feedback they have gathered, and the questions they have asked, is form a pivotal part of the conversation around their growth and development.

Finally, and probably most importantly, it’s nudging your employees into the habit of giving and requesting feedback. If they know it’s part of their development and conversations with their manager, they’ll start doing it of their own accord.

So don’t feel like you have to ‘pick’ one or the other! Both traditional and newer processes have a place in continuous performance management.

Appraisd's new feedback stream in reviews feature is now available to all organisations. If you'd like help implementing it, contact to get it enabled on your account.

We hope you find this small change will help your organisations have more effective, better informed conversations. Our mission at Appraisd is to make performance management meaningful for all concerned and we’re always looking at how we can tweak the system so it can do just that. If you have any ideas about how we can make improvements just like this, please do get in touch.