by CIO Staff

The Importance of Performance Feedback in Corporations

Apr 07, 20063 mins
IT Leadership

The overwhelming majority of senior executives and managers say the feedback they receive from superiors is positive, based on a survey by NFI Research. However, when it comes to the frequency of that feedback, businesspeople are evenly split, with half getting it frequently and half not.

Those who work in a large company are more likely to receive feedback more frequently, and it is most likely to be positive. Four-fifths of business leaders say their feedback is positive, with a third saying it is extremely positive.

“I regularly receive feedback from both superiors and colleagues,” said one survey respondent. “They respect my opinions and encourage me to use my expertise to improve operations. In turn, they provide the historical and political background for the different projects I am working on.”

While many businesses conduct annual performance reviews, some also provide frequent feedback between those reviews. That feedback can vary, depending on how well things are going.

“In our organization, we seem to be excellent at praise when things are going well,” said one survey respondent. “But when things are not necessarily going well, we are shy about an honest discussion because we fear how this tough (although positive feedback) criticism will be taken. We prefer the silent treatment in fear of offending and de-motivating the individual. Every time this happens, the organization loses.”

Said another: “We get more frequent feedback when things are not going as well as expected. Less frequent when we are scaling new heights.”

“My superiors are not comfortable when it comes to saying unpleasant or negative things, and tend to avoid them or generalize,” said another respondent. “Yet, I need that one-on-one feedback as well; otherwise, I am missing major personal development opportunities.”

With so many executives and managers receiving positive feedback, some might find themselves seeking tips on ways to improve.

“I believe I, and my organization, would benefit if I received more suggestions for improvement or ideas for development,” said one manager. “Most people are better at recognizing their strengths than they are in identifying their weaknesses.”

Some of the most relevant feedback also can come in the form of compensation, which at times can say more than words.

“Our organization focuses on cash compensation and stock options as the major feedback indicator,” said one respondent. “As a result, I get periodic, but not frequent, feedback and a nice bonus. Sadly for our organization, I am far more motivated by challenging projects and timely recognition for my success in bringing them to fruition.”

Working remotely also can present challenges for regular feedback.

“I find being in a remote office limits the amount of feedback I receive from my superiors,” said one respondent. “It is sometimes a disadvantage, and I sometimes feel out of the loop. For the most part, however, when receiving feedback it is positive.”

However, not everyone necessarily wants a lot of feedback, preferring more to be left alone to do their work.

“I am pleased with the level of feedback I receive, which is extremely infrequent,” said one manager. “I like being able to work autonomously, and I trust my supervisor to communicate when it is necessary. I’ll even do the same for him.”