Feedback is the lifeblood of performance management. Not only is it essential for employees to receive guidance as they grow in their roles, but good feedback also brings its own rewards. Employees who receive meaningful feedback are more likely to be engaged.
But here’s the catch: not all feedback is meaningful. To some, the best way to ensure that feedback is having the desired effect is to make sure it’s delivered quickly and frequently—an approach known as continuous feedback. That’s why Bridge’s performance management system makes it easy to organize and structure 1:1 meetings, for example—it’s a great way to ensure feedback isn’t relegated to annual performance reviews alone. But is quantity the only ingredient you need when you’re looking to deliver meaningful feedback?
The answer, according to Bridge’s Future of Performance Management report, is “no”. According to the report, while 45% of respondents do incorporate continuous feedback into their performance management processes, a more substantial 73% incorporate a mixture of positive feedback and constructive critique.
When your feedback is specific and constructive, it’s more likely to be understood and addressed. And when it’s positive, you’re more likely to see performance improvements, even among poor performers.
So, how do you make sure your continuous feedback carries these principles forward? It’s all about the form your feedback takes, and the structures that support it. Read on to discover how you can keep constructiveness at the heart of your approach with the help of start-stop-continue feedback—and how employee recognition allows you to maintain that all-important positivity.
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How to Conduct Start-Stop-Continue Feedback
Start-stop-continue feedback (sometimes known as stop/keep-doing/start, or SKS) is a method for delivering targeted feedback. It’s a clear and actionable approach that prompts peers to raise, discuss, and address the answers to three key questions:
- Start: What helpful actions can an employee take in order to improve their job performance?
- Stop: What actions can an employee stop doing in order to improve their job performance?
- Continue: What actions should an employee continue to take?
These are simple questions, but they immediately add the kind of structure and constructiveness that differentiates the good feedback from the bad. Not sure what these questions might look like in practice? Let’s take a look at an example or two.
Examples of Start-Stop-Continue Feedback Questions for Employees
As with any form of feedback, the information your employees receive will depend on a range of factors, including their job roles, whether they’re fully established or still onboarding, and who’s giving the feedback.
To illustrate what start-stop-continue feedback looks like in action, let’s take a look at the kind of feedback a junior sales executive at a financial services firm might receive from their manager:
- Start: Taking leadership training in anticipation of any future leadership opportunities.
- Stop: Working beyond your assigned hours. Remember to take a break and establish a better work-life balance.
- Continue: Frequently communicating with clients, who really value the level of attention you give them.
As these examples suggest, one of the many advantages of start-stop-continue feedback is that it prompts participants to think beyond the here and now. If you’re required to reflect on what an employee’s not doing, you might just find yourself encouraging them to take steps that go beyond their day-to-day activities—and nudging them toward advancement and upskilling.
Examples of Start-Stop-Continue Feedback Questions for Managers
When you use Bridge’s feedback features, you’re not limited to a top-down approach in which employees simply receive leadership-driven feedback. Everyone has room for growth, change, and improvement—which is why any employee can solicit feedback from anyone, whether they’re peers, reports, CEOs, or people from other departments. If you make a feedback request directed toward fewer than five people, Bridge will prompt you to add more—ensuring that each employee receives a diverse array of perspectives on their progress.
As such, while Bridge users often solicit start-stop-continue feedback from their peers, managers can also gain valuable insights from feedback from their direct reports. While it can be difficult for reports to offer honest or critical feedback to their managers, the beauty of start-stop-continue feedback is that critique is baked into the structure of the process. When managers request start-stop-continue feedback, they do so in the knowledge that they’re going to be faced with some things to work on—and their reports will understand that any negative feedback will be taken in the right spirit!
So, what kind of start-stop-continue feedback might a manager receive? Let’s look at an example:
- Start: Providing a little more clarity when it comes to task-related deadlines, ensuring that your reports can prioritize their workloads.
- Stop: Relying on your reports to help you understand our workplace’s technologies and processes.
- Continue: Making time for your reports whenever anyone has any issues to discuss.
It doesn’t hurt to end this kind of feedback with the more positive note represented by the “continue” stage. Positivity is an essential element of good feedback cultures, which is why you need to pair your formalized start-stop-continue feedback with the less structured and more ad hoc encouragement that comes with employee recognition.
Employee Recognition Feedback Explained
Recognition feedback is as simple as its name suggests: it’s all about recognizing employee accomplishments and achievements by giving them praise.
It might be tempting to assume that feedback should focus more on areas of improvement than on existing successes. After all, your people are clearly already good at the tasks they’re succeeding in! But, in reality, that’s not always the case. Let’s take a look at how positive feedback has a part to play in the story of your employees’ development.
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How Recognition Feedback Drives Performance Results
In addition to formal, constructive feedback, it’s critical that employees receive consistent recognition and praise from their colleagues for their achievements. According to the CIPD, this more positive approach can lead to tangible performance improvements even among low-performing employees. So, how does that work? It’s all about taking a strengths-first approach.
The report points to the value of amplifying and replicating existing strengths via methods like the “feed-forward interview”. This is a process in which an employee discusses a recent positive event and identifies how the event’s performance-friendly conditions can be repeated in the future. This technique can, according to the CIPD, predict stronger performance ratings even several months later—and it’s exactly the kind of approach that recognition feedback facilitates.
When you’re backed by a culture of frequent recognition feedback, your people will be able to access a wealth of sunny opinions on their work and uplifting reflections on their successes. Not only is that resource a good morale booster in its own right, but it’s also a fantastic way for your people to recall and reflect on the performance-boosting conditions that keep them working at their best.
Combined with the high levels of engagement that can accompany meaningful start-stop-continue feedback, a well-recognized workforce is likely to be one that performs better, generates stronger business outcomes, and feels good doing it!
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How to Give Employee Recognition Feedback in Bridge
Bridge’s recognition feature makes it easy for employees to give (and access) all kinds of kudos.
The interface is modeled along the lines of a social media feed, and that’s no coincidence. We’ve all grown accustomed to publicly sharing compliments online, and adopting this principle in a professional context is a great way to convert that social media impulse into a culture of positivity. Plus, the familiarity of a social media-like experience makes it much easier to ingrain a habit of ad-hoc, unsolicited recognition feedback into your workforce.
These spontaneous pieces of recognition aren’t just there to provide a momentary glow of pride (though we certainly hope they do!). They might appear on an ad hoc basis, but they’ll also be collated within your employees’ profiles and achievement timelines. These timelines keep track of milestones like completed learning courses, goal completions, work anniversaries, and—you guessed it—every piece of recognition your people receive.
So, when your 1:1 meetings and performance reviews roll around, you’ll have access to a vast repository of recognition that managers can draw from, add to, and build on—allowing you to bolster your workforce’s outcomes with the power of performance-boosting positivity.
Open Every Avenue for Effective Feedback With Bridge
Bridge Perform is the perfect performance management system for organizations looking to create a culture of continuous feedback that doesn’t compromise on quality. Introduce skills feedback, start-stop-continue feedback, and recognition feedback into your performance management infrastructure, combining structure, informality, and targeted growth into your performance process. Request a demo to take your first steps toward a multifaceted world of meaningful feedback.