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Q. What is one creative way you give regular performance feedback to your key team members even as your company grows?
If I happen to come across something that is a valuable learning opportunity for one of my key team members, I provide real-time feedback. I try to point out the issue immediately so that the situation is fresh in their mind, and they can course correct immediately based on my feedback. — Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile Swim School
2. Have face-to-face lunch outings
An e-mail or written performance review is impersonal. Sit down and talk about the good and bad. It’s the best way to ensure both sides are on the same page. If there are problem areas to address, doing so in person shows you care and want to see them improve. Also, if you are going to praise them, a personal “Thank You” goes a long way, more so than a written review. — Jonathan Long, Market Domination Media
I’m a huge fan of the 15Five method pioneered by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. The idea is that if direct reports regularly spend 15 minutes writing a report that takes their managers less than five minutes to read, they will drastically increase transparency, engagement and productivity. 15five.com provides great software to facilitate this practice in a systematic, accountable way. — Sean Kelly, HUMAN
4. Keep track of their accomplishments
I keep track of their accomplishments in notes. I want to make sure that I don’t forget the people who are really going the extra mile. And of course, that attention means I can quickly notice and remark on it when my expectation is exceeded. — Matt Doyle, Excel Builders
5. Keep it short and consistent
For many companies, “personal” feedback involves putting everything on halt for long meetings once or twice a year. You can avoid this with consistent one-on-one feedback for five minutes a week. At LexION Capital, I want to steer employees in the right direction, not pull the E-brake before a collision. Early feedback will save time and nip issues in the bud before they become a huge problem. — Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
Key team members typically have a reasonable explanation as to why they made a decision, regardless of the outcome. Before jumping into feedback, I like to ask open ended questions and give employees the opportunity to articulate their point of view. Once I fully understand the context, we can discuss ways to improve the outcome and draw conclusions together. It’s a dialogue rather than a dictation. — Bryan Delaney, Skookum Digital Works
7. Use a variety of channels consistently
We have a culture where people provide and receive feedback continuously via several means. Project supervisors provide immediate feedback on all work products as they are developed. Clients provide feedback at the end of each engagement and we hold internal “After Action Reviews” as a team to understand what went well and what we may want to consider doing next time. — Chris Cancialosi, gothamCulture
Each week, we hold a brief meeting about observations and accomplishments from the previous week. Every team member who either highlights a problem and offers a resolution, or creates a process that will help us be more efficient, gets an ambassador badge. At the end of the quarter, those ambassador badges can either be traded for time off or a small gift. — Justin Beegel, Infographic World, Inc.
We have public recognitions inside the company so everyone can receive words of encouragement from others. We also have periodic evaluations such as “Employee of the Month” awards, but what makes us different is that supervisors aren’t the only ones who recognize staff members for their work. Their co-workers do too. That makes for a lot of praise from a lot of people. — Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think you need to get too creative regarding feedback. It’s difficult enough to be critiqued. I don’t find anything wrong with having a more traditional session giving individual and team feedback sessions that are honest, open and respectful. But it should be a two-way street, and be more of a conversation than a judgment. — Kevin Henrikson, Outlook iOS & Android @ Microsoft
11. Teach your team how to give feedback
At Allocadia, feedback is a core part of our culture. For us, feedback isn’t just top-down. It’s peer to peer. We train our entire team on how to give ongoing, respectful, constructive feedback — and how to be open to receiving feedback. It fits with our iterative culture as a tech company. We give feedback early and often, and give each other the opportunity to grow and iterate over time. — Katherine Berry, Allocadia