The Case for Normalizing Continuous Feedback in the Workplace

Make feedback a winning habit on your team.

Written By

Picture of Lauren Humphrey

Lauren Humphrey

Co-founder of Tandem

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In the modern workplace, the annual or bi-annual performance review has become a ritual. One accompanied with stress and fear by both team members and managers, in particular. As the workforce evolves and expectations shift, it's becoming increasingly clear that this traditional approach to feedback falls short in fostering growth, development, and overall success within organizations. This means we all need to figure out normalizing continuous feedback.

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The Problem with Traditional Feedback Cycles

The standard practice of providing feedback only once or twice a year leaves much to be desired. Employees are left in the dark for months at a time, unsure of where they stand or what they need to improve upon. When the review finally comes around, it can be overwhelming and disheartening, particularly if negative feedback catches employees off-guard. This infrequent and often high-stakes feedback loop creates a culture of anxiety and uncertainty rather than one of growth and support. Normalizing continuous feedback is required for us to succeed in the future.


Why Continuous Feedback Is Challenging

Despite the evident shortcomings of traditional feedback cycles, the transition to a culture of continuous feedback isn’t easy. Feedback can be uncomfortable and unproductive without the right foundations. 

It requires all parties to engage in open and honest dialogue, which can be difficult, especially when addressing areas of improvement or constructive criticism. Furthermore, without clear goals or expectations, providing effective feedback becomes an ineffective task. Employees need to know what is expected of them in order to understand how their performance measures up. 

Moreover, implementing continuous feedback requires a significant shift in mindset and behavior. It demands ongoing communication and engagement from all levels of the organization, especially with good role modeling in leadership. It also involves navigating a change management curve.

People managers play a critical role. They can empower their teams to share feedback openly and constructively, while also being receptive to feedback from their direct reports and peers. This two-way exchange of feedback is essential for creating a culture of transparency, trust, and accountability.

Providing feedback is just the beginning. Supporting employees in their growth and development journey requires additional resources and commitment. Managers play a crucial role in this process, but they too must be supported and empowered to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.

The Benefits of Normalizing Continuous Feedback

Despite these challenges, normalizing a culture of continuous feedback offers numerous benefits for both individuals and organizations. 

First and foremost, it fosters a sense of fairness and transparency. When feedback is shared freely and received openly across all levels of the organization, employees have a clear understanding of their performance expectations and how they align with organizational goals. This transparency builds trust and accountability, empowering employees to take ownership of their development. It’s no wonder that 60% of employees would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis. That number increased to 72% for employees who are under age 30 (Reference).

Continuous feedback enables timely course corrections. Rather than waiting months for a formal review, employees receive feedback in real-time, allowing them to address issues as they arise and make meaningful progress towards their goals. This agile approach to feedback not only accelerates growth but also enhances overall performance and productivity. 

Officevibe statistics strongly support the value of feedback: 40% of employees actively disengage when they get little or no feedback.  A Gallup study found that organizations that implemented regular feedback experience a 14.9% reduction in employee turnover.

How Tandem Can Help

Fostering a culture where feedback flows freely in all directions enables organizations to cultivate a workplace that is more nurturing, equitable, and conducive to high performance. Though initially daunting, the enduring advantages greatly surpass the initial obstacles. By embracing openness, transparency, and a mindset of continual improvement, organizations can embolden every employee to unleash their capabilities and propel the company towards success. Tandem helps to normalize continuous feedback by establishing feedback norms, setting clear goals around feedback, providing training and resources as well as celebrating growth. Check out these 8 tips to get started normalizing continuous feedback!