Employers are falling short on adequate systems and training to provide employees with in-the-moment critical feedback. But all is not lost as some experts have a few steps employers can take to get back on track.

An overwhelming number (87%) of employees believe that feedback is important to career development, and 85% indicate feeling valued when someone takes the time to provide feedback on their work, according to new research from Eagle Hill Consulting.

Also see: The new rules of engagement

However, despite the critical importance employees place on receiving feedback, only 60% of respondents said their environment supports a culture of feedback, and less than half (44%) said they receive regular feedback on their work.  

“Providing employees with real-time, actionable and constructive feedback can be one of the most effective ways to improve an organization’s overall performance,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Waiting until the annual performance review to have conversations about strengths and areas for improvement just doesn’t cut it any longer in the fast-paced, competitive environment organizations face today.”

Also see: University of Washington sets record with employee engagement efforts

The first tip: provide frequent feedback. Instead of relying on annual or semi-annual reviews, set up some formal channels to help facilitate both peer and supervisorial feedback on a regular basis.

But, Jezior cautions, know the difference between feedback and review.

“It’s important to make a clear distinction between feedback and reviews,” Jezior added. “Feedback is about large-scale information sharing, which encompasses, but is not limited to, reviews. When information is given honestly, constructively, and on a continuous basis, it results in competent and confident employees that drive organizational success.”

A second tip is to always be sure to deliver feedback in person. More than three quarters of the employees surveyed expressed a preference to receiving feedback in person. “Emailing feedback or discussing it over the phone may be the only option in a time-crunch or with a geographically dispersed staff, but these should not be the go-to methods of communication,” the study adds.

Also see: 8 signs your workplace culture needs a reboot

In addition, other recommendations include:

  • Recognize when changes are made as a result of feedback.
  • Encourage peer and “360 degree” feedback.
  • Offer feedback training for both supervisors and employees.

According to the consulting firm, “maximizing your organization’s investment in its people and creating an enterprise-wide environment in which giving, receiving and soliciting feedback is comfortable across levels takes a commitment to change over time.”

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