The importance of continuous feedback for personal growth

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Feedback on behaviour and performance is a crucial step in developing people. This is more than the annual performance appraisal: when done on a regular basis it helps people to stay focused on their personal development and growth.

Traditionally employees are appraised on a yearly basis. This is frequently driven by remuneration systems and policies and coupled to the “yearly salary increase”. Unfortunately, in lots of companies this is the only tool used for personal development and growth of employees.  According to our views, which is recently also confirmed by an article in Harvard Business Manager (May 2015, Germany Edition), using only this yearly conversation related to the performance (both in output and behavior) does not have a big impact on the growth and development of employees. Regular bilateral conversations where line managers give employees feedback on performance and behaviour is a much more powerful tool to develop people. It gives the employee the time to work on topics and to get regular feedback on progress etc.

It works both ways

Moreover, it offers a good platform for the line manager to ask for feedback on his own performance as well. This helps to optimize the relation and interaction between line manager and the individual employee, which also impacts the overall performance of the employee in a positive way.

Finally, the annual appraisal is much easier to do if there are regular bilateral conversations: it is just a summary of what was discussed throughout the year. This reduces the stress around these appraisals and avoids the negative impact of unexpected assessments. Moreover, it gives employees more stimuli throughout the year to invest in their personal development, thereby raising their performance on a continuous basis. And that is beneficial for both the employee and the organization. In other words: exchanging feedback in regular bilateral conversations offers a win/win for the line manager and the employee.

What are your experiences with this? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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