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Everyday Feedback and How it POWERS Performance

By iRevü Performance Management

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This post was brought to us by Red Branch Media CEO, Maren Hogan.

Building a performance feedback culture with social? How on earth can you do that? Performance reviews take up half your time. You have a millennial staff for whom no amount of feedback can EVER be enough and you’re constantly weighing just how much is too much.

But don’t forget the reason you’re here. Feedback nets results:

  • Managers who received feedback on their strengths showed 8.9% greater profitability.
  • 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.
  • 92% of employees agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”
  • 80% of Gen Y said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews.
  • 77% of HR execs believe performance reviews aren’t an accurate representation of employee performance.
69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized. Click To Tweet

Sometimes people focus so much on the review side of performance reviews, we forget about the fact that we should be focusing on the performance side. Instead of wishing and hoping for a performance feedback culture, I want to show you how to use a few key tools (many of them free) to create one in your spare time.

Download this guide to get your ongoing performance management process a sharp start:

Just kidding. It does take time, but the dividends you reap both in your organization and in those you work with WILL be worth it. How worth it? Well consider that the methods we discuss today built a team of interns fresh out of college into a company that today builds employer brands for global companies, marketing and advertising campaigns seen worldwide, ghost writes white papers that many of you have likely read, builds websites for non-profits and F500 alike and still manages to kick off every Friday at 3:30 for wine and cake and everyone gets at least one WFH day every week.


So how do we do it? And more importantly, can you take a method built in a small company and make it work for you? I think yes. Here’s how:

Where we started: When we first began measuring performance it was out of necessity rather than understanding it was an excellent business practice. When you’re a building a company from the ground up, it can be tempting to override things like performance management and reviews as something that’s for ”the big guys” but I realized early on that I wanted to practice what we preached and since we have a lot of performance feedback management and review clients (then and now), it seemed silly to simply write about performance rather than learn it. So learn it we did.

As I said, we hired interns so raises, by necessity had to come hot and heavy. So we began by creating a Google form that asked these questions:

  • What do you feel like you’re doing well?
  • What do you feel like you need to work on?
  • If you could do anything all day every day (work-related), what would it be?
  • Are there any tools you need to do your job better?
  • How can we better support you as a manager?
  • What goals do you have for yourself to reach by your next review?

These were submitted by the employee before their review and we copy and pasted them into an Evernote and also recorded the reviews. We put these in a private notebook only for leaders and are able to also pre-input our answers. This allowed us to (manually) track goals and performance issues from one review to another.

So you know the technical details, but how these are structured are really the important piece.

  1. Address pride and performance feedback first
  2. Focus on where people are struggling
  3. Ask about value to the company
  4. Ask how you can be more valuable to them
  5. Learn about future ideals
  6. Ask about tools, people will not tell you unless you ask.

There are a few key things here.

People have no issue telling you what they are proud of.

For long-term employees, we sometimes switch it up but we always request specificity. I grant you this is easier to do in a smaller company, but encourage your managers to let them answer this question first. Many times, I’ve been shocked at what an employee is proud of in juxtaposition to what I have written down.

Struggles are real.

In the beginning, we occasionally had people push their struggles off on external reasons so we started asking about genuine failures (with some of the more senior members of the team…pause for laughs). But really, failure is OKAY here. When we ask how and where you’ve failed we want to know.

Our company is bootstrapped.

Yours may not be. Either way, call it my Midwestern work ethic but I believe everyone should be able to articulate why they are a value, why they are valuable to their company. This goes beyond the original reasoning (which was I was poor) for the question and puts the onus on them to prove their worth and really see how they contribute to the bottom line. It’s scary (and likely stupid) but I am raising entrepreneurs here who have genuine ownership in this company and their piece in making it happen.

Criticism time.

Look you are not a perfect leader. I am not a perfect leader but we need to be able to hear how we are failing our people. Sometimes I ask this question and our shyer members may find it tough to answer, but if you KEEP asking the question, you will break through. Coincidentally, because it’s conference season and I’ve been traveling and misunderstandings abound with my cryptic emails, the most frequent answer to this question recently was “more feedback.”

Succession planning for the smart minded.

What do your best people want to do? While we are a marketing agency, we also have multiple people who show promise in operations, writing, finance, QA and more. If we didn’t have this question, Kerry wouldn’t be a web developer (no poaching!) and Eric wouldn’t be in digital ads. We’d straight up have NO SEO or PR department either. Mind THEIR business.

So we did and DO conduct these performance feedback reviews every 2 months and it WAS a giant time suck. Because our team wanted more feedback than even before, each meeting to an hour at least and it cost weeks out of our schedule. Weeks we didn’t have.

What you could be missing out on if you're not conducting regular performance reviews: Click To Tweet

Enter iRevü. We have found their microfeedback module has done so much to create a performance culture.

How we’ve decided to implement iRevü is on a biweekly schedule (every other week if I can) to let people know what’s working and what isn’t. While that’s useful I can see you thinking “How is that better than email?” Well, in a lot of ways.

  1. I can identify the values that matter at Red Branch Media – Sidenote I did ask my employees for their feedback during this process.
  2. I can see a history of positive and negative reviews for each employee and when we did have to let an employee go, these combined with the  Evernote documentation was crucial.
  3. The word cloud feature is useful because I can see just how often my reviews are narcissistic or overly negative.
  4. Finally, because I am the worst, it sends me a reminder and I can do it from any mobile device, add the manager to the review and attach documents.

This has helped in the more feedback area. We’ve created a total feedback loop in that people can respond specifically to feedback.

Note: We have not opened this up to 360 feedback yet simply because in a space this small we feel it would be detrimental to our working relationships. However, it does have this capability. For positive performance feedback, which is all anyone on the same level wants to provide anyway, we’ve used our B24 platform and social channels, in general, to keep that recognition going.

Eatin’ Meetin’

This is our weekly check-in. And it goes a little something like this. Everyone goes around the table and talks about one thing they are proud of (specific) and one person of whom they are proud (also specific). At the end of it, I go around and tell each person one thing for which I am proud that they did specifically and WHY I am proud of them.

I will be honest with you. When we first started this, it was a lot easier to do. When it got to be an hour long meeting, I began to think about disbanding it. You should have heard the outcry. They might say differently but I know my team needs that weekly dose of pride from their CEO, Manager, whoever to keep them going.

Once you hear about these weekly meetings @RedBranch conducts, you'll HAVE to try them: Click To Tweet


Hi, how are you. I work here. One of the most crucial things about performance feedback is how people prefer for it to be delivered. By and large, my team prefers constructive in a one-to-one written form (iRevü or email) and positive in a face to face. So during the day, I do like to try and visit a desk or two to make sure they know what they are doing well and what needs improvement.

We’ve also implemented #6things, a daily standup meeting wherein we all say which things we’re working on, in a triaged order (from most to least important). It’s not only helped to organize people’s thoughts and minds for the day ahead but build a level of accountability which believe it or not, we did not have before.

People are encouraged to round out their lists, ask questions and assist one another in a specific way before the day is done. Even though we have people who arrive at 8/9/10 and leave at 4/5/6 we still check in before leaving and try TRY to make sure we build out our lists for the next day before they leave. I reserve the right to re-order lists at the morning stand-ups to meet client needs or focus on deadlines. While this is less a review strategy than some of the other things we’ve talked about today, it’s a super performance feedback indicator.

How do you measure performance daily, weekly and monthly? Are you ready for the kind of performance that microfeedback can provide? Try it free.

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Posted By iRevü

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