In this month’s issue of T+D Magazine, published by the American Society for Training & Development, is a great article with advice on performance feedback. The article, Delivering Effective Performance Feedback, by Deborah Busser, discusses just how critical performance feedback is to the learning process. Most of us in the training and development industry already know this, however. The hard part is convincing our management teams.
Busser says that some of the best informal learning can spring from consistent and candid performance feedback. She adds that when feedback is given effectively, “employees feel respected, invested in the company’s success, and committed to their own learning and development.”
Trainers and HR professionals universally understand that consistent, effective coaching and performance feedback can do wonders for high turnover rates and excessive need for remedial “training.” (I put “training” in quotes because what supervisors and managers too often label as “remedial training needs” are things that can easily be solved by some good coaching.)
Am I preaching to the choir yet?
When I trained for a call center environment I typically witnessed brief and irregular coaching sessions, followed soon enough by employees who have left the company, with managers and HR staff wondering “Why the high turnover rate?” This, then, results in the need for more frequent new-hire training classes, to replace those who quit. It can become a vicious cycle that frustrates everyone involved: the trainer who gets stuck in a continuous new-hire training loop, the supervisors and managers who continue to lose people, the employees who abandon the job, and even the coworkers of those who quit. After all, the coworkers are stuck picking up the slack when otherwise good employees quit, or when otherwise good employees are not productive due to lack of coaching.
Busser ends her points on performance feedback with some wise words:
Creating a culture where co-workers feel comfortable giving and receiving performance feedback requires commitment and perseverance. It cannot be a one-time or annual event, and it shouldn’t catch employees off-guard.
When leaders deliver performance feedback well—as an expression of organizational values such as growth, mutual respect, excellence, and service—the resulting dialogue serves to reinforce those values and strengthen the workplace culture. Giving timely, meaningful feedback is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
Read more about performance feedback from Deborah Busser: Five Tips to Make Feedback Count