Demand for Continuous Feedback Creates a Technology Market

Demand for Continuous Feedback Creates a Technology Market

As many employers rethink their approach to performance management, one approach many organizations are trying is to replace or supplement the traditional annual performance review with more frequent check-ins. As companies work to meet the demand among their employees for more continuous and detailed feedback, Sarah Kessler at Quartz takes a look at the growing market for technological systems that enable these more frequent conversations:

Startups like Lattice, TinyPulse, and Zugata take the concept to the extreme with quick reviews that are often meant to be completed every week and sometimes coordinated automatically. TinyPulse CEO David Niu, whose customers include Facebook and IBM, promised that a new product launched in February would capture “all the real-time data people crave to measure performance, all while keeping it fun.” By fun, he meant, for instance, that managers and employees can assess progress on their goals with a Tinder-like swipe-to-rate system. …

While millennials now make up the largest generation in the US workforce, Zugata CEO Srinivas Krishnamurti pushes back on the idea that the need more for more frequent, positive feedback is a millennial-only concern. “When we started the company, that was one of our assumptions,” he said. But “I don’t necessarily buy that it’s a new thing or a millennial thing. Everything is moving much faster. I think that this is just one thing that hasn’t kept up with everything else that’s moving in our lives.”

I agree that this doesn’t really feel like a “millennial thing.” I would argue that the demand for more frequent feedback is less a reflection of millennial “neediness” or expectation and more a reflection of how work gets done today: Rather than repetitive tasks performed with and for the same people over and over, many employees (of all generations) are performing work that is complex, interdependent, and continuously evolving. If the work I am doing (and who I am interacting with in order to do that work) is continuously evolving, I may need more frequent input to know that I’m on the right track.

In the meantime, new technologies can help, but there’s a lot more that goes into developing a successful system of continuous feedback. CEB Corporate Leadership Council members can read more here about how to design effective, ongoing performance conversations.