The Link Between Feedback, Recognition, and engagement

The most pertinent challenge facing modern management today is how to retain talent for the long term within their organization. Multiple pieces of research have pointed out a direct correlation between a higher employee engagement leading to more excellent employee retention. The more your people are engaged and passionate about their work, and the more likely they are to stay with your organization. 

Most often than not, businesses try to improve engagement by placing all their eggs in a single basket like a company workation or ice breaker sessions. Though these activities do significantly enhance the perception of the employer, they solely cannot drive the long-term engagement or inspire loyalty towards the company. To counter this specific problem is why HR thought leaders are moving towards a shift in the culture of the entire organization that emphasizes engagement, feedback, and recognition. These practices deliver multifold when carried out ardently by driving long-term loyalty.

Real-time feedback

What drives sustainable engagement? 

As per the latest Gallup report, around 68 % of the survey respondents have reported a lack of recognition in the workplace over the last week. In another survey, the very same number of people also claimed to be disengaged at work. The cold hard fact to be inferred from these statistics is that you cannot build a culture of engagement that inspires loyalty without helping your managers engage with your people every single day. Modern-day feedback and recognition practices allow your management to adopt an approachable and interactive way to improve employee engagement by providing regular feedback on their work and celebrating their wins to highlight valuable contribution.

Why must it be Instant/Real-time? 

A decade ago, businesses only had age-old systems like annual or bi-annual feedback and performance reviews that had a culminated feedback process. However, these methods do not work anymore, mainly due to the change in the workplace demography that consists primarily of millennials and soon to come gen z. These people demand immediate response and feedback for everything they do. They see themselves as co-owners of the company’s objective and hence seek every guidance at your disposal to do what matters to them right now. 

Instant feedback and recognition tell them precisely that, and their work is valued, they are actively making a positive stride in their contribution to the company. They are also open-minded towards feedback that’s not so positive as long as they perceive it as coming from a place of concern to boost their performance. 

I think Annual reviews still work for me

When you, as an employer, tend to fall back on providing real-time feedback and recognition at regular intervals. Millennials tend to guess their contribution and their competency second. This pushes them towards a downward spiral of self-doubt where they doubt the decision to join your organization as it now becomes a place of “unimportant work.” The most significant currency for loyalty in the modern age is brand perception and its mission. The more critical millennials perceive your work to be, the more they are interested in being a part of it. When the work is done is not appreciated or not valued, then this perception takes a colossal downfall because if it’s important, people would care, right? When this happens, modern employers run a higher risk of losing their top talents to fellow competitors who are better at managing their perception. 

How do I nurture a culture of Recognition and Feedback?

Building an engaging environment that nurtures recognition and feedback is easier said than done. However, there are various activities you can incorporate today to create an influential culture of employee recognition and feedback. Start with a continuous feedback and recognition program. 

How to implement a feedback and recognition program?

It is pertinent for your organization to fully understand the benefits of a sustained enthusiasm and passion towards the company. Doing this not only helps you retain talent but also helps them become the best version of themselves. Start your program by acquiring the buy-in from leadership and middle management. Once they are convinced, it gets somewhat more comfortable to satisfy your employees. Ensure that everyone in the hierarchy is entirely aware of why this process is being implemented and what are the results that they seek.

How long will it take to show results?

Recognition and feedback will not immediately stop all your top performers from leaving your organization. Like all processes, it will take some time to build a culture of true sustainability and engagement. If you wish to reap the maximum benefits from this whole process, then ensure that the program is tweaked to the exact needs of your organization. Ensure that the process is established using an easy and intuitive software like Upshotly so that it can reach all your employees any day, across locations.

Recognizing achievements

Should I make it transparent?

If your employees believe that you follow a transparent feedback and recognition process where everyone is being compared across the same scale, and there’s no inherent bias involved, then they tend to be more participatory within the process. However, if they believe that it is not a fair process, then it stands to damage the culture than do any good. 

With Upshotly, you can practice giving 360 feedback where the rating comes from peers, subordinates, and superiors. Doing this ensures that the overall assimilation of feedback is holistic and fair. The key to this practice is sustainable engagement where things gradually take a course but are fruitful.

How do I get started?

With Upshotly, it is effortless to get started with Feedback and Recognition with a click of a button, however, if you are in lookout for an intuitive platform to seamlessly help your employees and leaders collaborate, ensure it has cross-location functionality, the ability to provide instant feedback, and recognition can be tied to your company values. 

Though most of these tools have some inherent difficulty, the tradeoff should only be on the adoption front, and not usage/usability front. Ensure to involve all your colleagues in a conversation that highlights the pros and cons of multiple tools and try to determine what works best for your specific team arrangement and organizational structure. Ensure that you run a trial with your employees as the hardest part of selling a performance management tool comes from the lack of employee adoption.

What is 360 feedback?

It is the process of collecting feedback from multiple employees working from a different capacity concerning the person on whom the feedback is being received. It usually contains one account from a superior, one from self, one from subordinate and one from a peer. This process helps reviewers recollect context before giving their performance evaluations and also ensure that the whole process remains holistic.

Can feedback remain anonymous? 

In circumstances where a person providing feedback feels that his feedback can affect his capability to carry out his work, then those instances may warrant an anonymous feedback capability, and usually, this is a scenario of a subordinate providing feedback about superior. In such cases, if the company culture has not evolved to a position where hierarchy is flat and such feedback is welcome, it may lead to some friction for the employee and the manager. Though the solution is to maintain complete transparency and evolve an appreciation for that culture, it seldom happens that way in practicality. 

Why should recognition be as badges?

When you prioritize non-monetary incentives over monetary ones, you tie an accomplishment to something much more significant and provide cognizance to a particular memory of that person. Doing this tends to elicit more happy memory on account of that achievement and also gives them the motivation to push their glass ceiling and keep trying harder. This intrinsic motivation is found much more potent and produces better results as opposed to monetary rewards such as hike or remuneration. Though these in itself are not the solution, the ideal way is to combine non-monetary incentives along with performance-based compensation too. 

Instant feedback and Recognition

Why should recognition be tied to values?

When you tie badges to a considerable set of values, you as an organization are standing for more something more than just carrying out your responsibility. This kind of value attachment allows your employees to feel like they belong to a broader mission that expands much farther than the scope of their job responsibility. Public display of such recognition in correlation with values will make more people participatory in the feedback process due to FOMO ( Fear of missing out). A positive value culture also extends to the perception of your company as an employer and will also attract other top talents to be a part of it.

In conclusion, it can be an uphill task to strive towards including realtime-feedback and recognition within your organization. However, these activities are a proven model towards instilling more positivity and engagement even in those who are deemed to be disengaged. In combination with an honest feedback culture, the rewards are multiplied and tend to complement each other mutually. Thus your continuous performance management plan should also include real-time feedback along with employee recognition. Doing this helps you highlight those who have done an excellent accomplishment while providing timely, real, and contextual feedback for those who can be great achievers once they decide to mend their ways.