When you ask individuals if they like to receive performance feedback, the answer is usually, yes, especially among millennials. However, employees consistently say they do not get enough.  In a recent Gallup poll, only 19% of millennials said they receive routine feedback. Yet, statistics show that employee engagement has a positive effect on shareholder return. In fact, according to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% and receiving feedback can inspire your employees to work harder and increase engagement levels.

So how can managers provide their staff with more frequent, valuable input on behaviors and capabilities? It’s easy, don’t wait for scheduled performance reviews. Instead, incorporate feedback into the company culture so that it becomes embedded in recurrent conversations. At Velocity, we call this praise progress and encourage growth,” and we teach it as an extension to any success-focus conversation.  By offering timely recognition, appreciation, and direction, there are ongoing opportunities for staff members to receive praise for effective behaviors and to encourage development for areas that may need improvement.

Here are two ways to integrate “praise progress and encourage growth” into your communication strategy:

  1. One way is to simply ask questions. “What is going well with the new project?” Then follow up with, “Is there anything you need from me that would help you reach success?”  Queries like these provide both the chance to recognize positive actions as well as an opportunity to offer guidance and help. Managers that offer continuous support with the sincerest intentions can foster the trust and respect necessary to improve their team’s work performance and ultimately drive the bottom line.
  1. Another good way to offer input is to do it as quickly as possible. When managers acknowledge specific behaviors promptly, team members can replicate successful actions, improve mistakes and overcome challenges so individuals can make corrections without waiting until the next performance review.

 It’s important to be specific and identify the behaviors and actions that worked well or didn’t work well and avoid subjective judgments and opinions. “I saw your presentation at the meeting this morning, and you demonstrated a real skill with the new marketing tool.”

These methods can carry feedback into ongoing conversations and provide the consistent motivation that is critical for employee development and the overall success of your business. By “praising progress and encouraging growth” regularly, you send a message about what is important, and demonstrate that you are committed to the team’s individual progress and also that of the organization.