Employees are starving for feedback, managers are longing for high-performance team and yet, communication around performance is one of the most often avoided topics. Nobody wants to be the bad guy when providing constructive feedback. While in recent times, sharing observations has become more common, communication with remote employees is adding a new layer of complexity. The loss of proper face-to-face conversations, the spontaneous meeting in the pantry and the fear of being misunderstood over virtual channels are causing much needed feedback sessions to be delayed.
1. Feedback has to be timely
Whether your team is working at its regular workplace or remotely, feedback has to be in real time. Who remembers what they had done or how 5 weeks ago? Finding time in the calendar may be tight and it’s easy to quickly schedule the conversation before the day ends. Don’t. Unless the situation calls for immediate feedback, use your weekly 1-1 session. This can give you additional time to obtain input from other parties, if needed. Your team member deserve the time to understand your remarks and thoughts in a quiet and time-pressed setting.
2. Connect feedback with learning
Managers are fulfilling different roles these days. They become coaches and developers when giving feedback. As managers are sharing their views, this becomes a wonderful opportunity to outline how the situation could have been handled. Inviting the employee into a reflection of what happened, the manager should also invite the individual when finding alternative approaches. This practice encourages team members to think critically and prepare themselves for the future.
3. Be realistic with your expectations
Setting clear expectations is crucial for any employee. Managers hoping to improve their team member’s performance also need to be motivating. Breaking down realistic goals into smaller, attainable steps helps employees to achieve them. It’s recommended to hold such meetings via cameras on to see and observe the employee’s reaction. If they have concerns or questions, they may not voice them, yet their facial expressions will show. This is where the manager can pick up and address the individual’s reservations.
4. Encourage peer-to-peer feedback
Companies are including 360 degrees when developing individuals and as part of their annual performance reviews. Normalise peer-to-peer feedback and integrate it into your performance culture. Team members can be further aligned, learn from each other and increase their camaraderie. Being mindful of the way team members interact with each other, they can point out what their colleagues are doing well. They can informally help the individual to improve their skills, often without the direct involvement of the direct manager. Peer-to-peer feedback can take place during individual Zooms/Teams calls, via chat or What’s App, depending on your company’s communication channels.
5. Recognise your employee’s achievements
Feedback doesn’t always have to be about improvement. Letting a team member know how well they’ve handled a situation is great feedback too. Expressing “excellent work” works as reinforcement of the positive behaviour for the individual. Managers can send a short email at the end of the day or publicly recognise them during a team call. The old fashioned phone call is also effective. It seems more the exception than the normal when talking to team members, making phone calls stand out again. The praise and recognition has also a domino effect for the rest of the team, focusing on the behaviours and attitudes you’d like see in your workplace.
Provide your team members with the individual support to learn from their past and develop themselves for the future.
Contact us and see how we can support you building high-performing remote teams where trusting leaders and highly engaged employees are laser focused on achieving common goals.