The Most Important Agile Performance Management Strategy: Continuous, Effective Feedback
As industry experts and thought leaders continue to praise Agile Performance Management, it’s important to understand what it is, and what Agile Performance Management Strategy (APM) to implement first. We took a broader dive into the 6 Strategies of Agile Performance Management inspired by HCI; now it’s time to identify the most important strategy, why it is the most important, and what you can do to put a system in place to make sure it’s adopted.
“There’s a lot of the why and what in the conversations and news around more dynamic and more agile performance management, but there isn’t much about the how of this practice”
– Carl Rhodes, HCI – Chief Executive Officer
Continuous, effective feedback is unequivocally the most important Agile Performance Management strategy. Without it, everything else falls by the waste side.
How can a manager coach to performance, if they are not communicating with the direct report?
How can a manager understand the individual needs, goals, and strengths of a direct report without a regular cadence of continuous, effective feedback?
How can organizations communicate strategic goals and progress without continuous, effective feedback?
How can a manager set expectations for rewards and social recognition without continuous, effective feedback?
Continuous, effective feedback is the backbone of Agile Performance Management making it the first step when implementing APM.
What is Continuous, Effective Feedback and Who Should Do It?
Continuous, effective feedback occurs between the manager and his/her direct reports on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. The intent is to build a quality relationship between the manager and the direct report on the foundation of trust, honesty, and openness. Topics include performance activities, reflection on results, career conversations, project progression, skill development, and areas for improvement and advancement.
Ensuring continuous, effective feedback leverage a timeless management best practice that your managers are likely already doing: 1:1 meetings. Instead of adding “another process” or “another thing HR wants me to do.” Instead, attract the bees with honey by providing them a solution that augments their existing manager workflow.
Where companies fall short:
Many companies think continuous, effective feedback starts with the company to the employee. For example, company-wide surveys eliciting “happiness scores” or “ideas for the company.” While quarterly company surveys can be a good practice, this circumvents arguably the most important role in the organization: the middle and front line managers. These are the leaders every day in the trenches hiring, motivating, and developing every employee in the company. By passing them for continuous, effective feedback is one of the gravest mistakes a company can do.
Survey your managers and ask them 3 questions:
– Are they having 1:1 meeting with their direct reports?
– Do they document major takeaways, key findings, or deliverables for next meeting?
– What is the frequency they hold their 1:1 meetings?
“The bottom line is that you don’t need to do every part of agile performance management, nor do you need to do it all at once,” – Carl Rhodes, HCI – Chief Executive Officer
As a practitioner of Agile Performance Management, facilitating a process of continuous, effective feedback should empower the existing process that your managers are already doing. It is by far the most important and effective strategy of Agile Performance Management.
Feature Requirements in Your Agile Performance Management Platform:
When adopting your Agile Performance Management Strategy and Platform, the following questions should be answered in a matter of moments:
- Are my managers having continuous effective feedback? If so how often?
- Are my managers taking notes and documenting the feedback?
- Are the conversations leading to productivity gains, increased retention, and employee development?