Continuous feedback: Bridging gaps and celebrating empowerment

One of the most interesting things about changing workspaces is the simple fact that there are so many new things to learn everyday. With new trends appearing almost everyday, it isn’t easy to embrace them without the will to learn, even when you’re at work. But sadly, just learning isn’t enough. How do you know if you have learned right if there’s no one to tell you that? 

In a world that is home to a large number of fast-paced changes, it is wrong to assume that management styles won’t undergo massive change as well. And one of the biggest changes we see is the rise in continuous feedback. 

 

What is continuous feedback?

 

With annual reviews proving to be rather ineffective in the modern era of work, new tools have risen that help to not only bridge the gap between managers and employees, but also introduce practices that can make work more agile and flexible, giving rise to greater employee engagement and thereby, productivity. 

So a system that allows you to give continuous feedback does not only eliminate flaws like timeline issues that restrict annual feedback to just a few relevant months, the boring nature of the yearly procedures as well as insufficient feedback, it can enable an organization to recognize what the employees are doing right, and what they aren’t, they can also make communication regular, seamless and flexible. 

  • The changing nature of feedback 

With the idea that feedback is restricted only for someone who isn’t doing their job right-ruling the roost, it’s not surprising to know that feedback is essentially a rather negative word to use. 

But with the changing times and trends, not only is evident that we need to stop villainizing the word ‘feedback’, we also need to understand that it actually helps more than it harms. 

At the end of the day, it is only with the help of feedback that you can understand what you are doing right. It is with feedback that you can even start looking for creative solutions to difficult problems and even empower your organization to innovate towards growth. 

With employee feedback becoming an increasingly important part of organizations, so are cultures that celebrate easy communication, constructive criticism as well as empowerment that enables not just the organization to excel, but the employees too.  

  • Ratings matter 

With the ability to rate various opinions and reviews, organizations can understand suggestions that are popular and credible and learn from them. 

Ratings also help employers and employees prioritise answers that communicate the urgency of its nature to everyone else. 

Being able to rate the one who is rating allows a team of credible, unbiased voices that bridges gaps between employees and managers. 

  • Censorship can make a difference 

With the help of analytical tools, not only does monitoring comments become easier, it is also easy for the management to keep hate speech, leaking sensitive information and unwanted comments at bay. 

While comments are important to understand issues better, in a system where anonymity is important, it makes sense to review them before publication. 

  • Anonymity encourages conversations  

While it is true that anonymous surveys are not easy to trust, in a professional space where a comment can cost you your job, anonymity actually encourages people to speak up. 

Be it safety issues or sexual harassment or failing managers, some topics are way too sensitive to be dealt without diplomacy and care. With repression not exactly helping the organization realise where they are failing, creation of safe spaces not just bring these issues to the forefront, it also protects employees from the worst. 

  • Simplicity is key 

Starting from how easy it is to use the tool and ending with how short and sweet the questions you have are, simplicity is quite the winner when it comes to feedback systems. 

And if you have a ratings system in place, nothing could actually be better! 

Distinctly different from employee feedback surveys in nature, ratings not only means quick and easy feedback, but true feedback too. 

In fact, if you design your system right, access can be simplified to such an extent, that you can actually update things from your inbox. 

  • Designed to win 

While surveys and long questionnaires can discourage people from engaging with them, a feedback system can prove to be a whiff of fresh air if designed right. 

You see, a feedback system is not merely restricted to figuring out what your employees are doing right or wrong. It is an effective way to realise what the company is doing right, and even they ways in which they can improve. 

Not only do people respond more to shorter surveys, also known as pulse surveys, they can address several issues, be open to suggestions and eventually build detailed feedback that makes a difference from those working in the company. 

 

Though adapting to change can be intimidating, we’re here to help. 

How? Read on to know: 

 

  • Dockabl 2.0 is a continuous feedback tool which seamlessly integrates into the ecosystem of work for any individual or team. 
  • It then enables ongoing feedback on work, projects and skills, behaviours. 
  • This is achieved by reaching our customer where they are, rather than asking them to indulge in more work on our tool. 
  • This is solved through plug ins and integrations with work tools such as Slack, Jira, Asana, Email, Calendar, Whatsapp etc. Dockabl 2.0 focuses on feedback consolidation, curation and deep insights on this data. We have come up with a concept of a worklife score which we envision will replace any performance review rating score, assessment score or any other metric in the context of work performance. 
  • What a credit score is to you in the context of financial metrics, worklife score would be in the context of work metrics. 
  • This score could become the norm for performance reviews, career progression, pay, recruitment, succession, etc 
  • The best part is that, these insights and analytics are an outcome of multiple quantitative and qualitative data points over a period of time and not a random rating shared by a manager at the end of the year. 
  • Moreover, there is a strong layer of gamification where an employee will continue to strive for higher levels which is synonymous to higher performance and holistic development in the context of work and work progression.

How many breaks have you taken today? 

“It’s time to take a break,” is probably not what you expect to hear at work very often. After all, we have been taught that diligence and constant vigilance is the key to being good at what you do.

What if I told you that we have been taught wrong all our lives? 

Curious much? Then allow me to introduce you to the POMODORO system of time management! A technique that helps you get more productive without burning yourself out. 

 

Go ahead, take a break

 

Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the name of this technique means “tomato” in Italian, inspired by Cirillo’s college timer that sparked this genius idea. And the process? It’s quite simple if you think about it. It doesn’t need you to make startling changes to your work habits, for starters. It just encourages you to break up your job into bite-sized portions, making things easily palatable. 

How? By tackling each segment of work for 25 minutes and taking a break for 5! 

 

Recipe to get refreshed 

 

While you can kick off using this technique at any given point in time, given that it barely requires any preparation, there are some things you must always keep in mind, apart from having a timer handy, that is!

  • Know what you have to do 

Unless you have an idea about what you have to do, getting them done is not going to be easy. So make a list of the tasks you need to get done. Preferably in order of priority.

  • Set your timer for 25 minutes 

While it does seem easier to keep an eye on your watch instead of being rudely interrupted by an alarm, you’ll be surprised to realise how engrossed we can get in whatever we’re doing unless snapped out of it. 

  • Track your task 

Apart from making a list, it is important to see how you did in 25 minutes. Whether the task could be completed, whether it was adequate, whether you are biting off more than you can chew can easily be seen with proper task-tracking. 

  • If a distraction pops up, don’t try to fight it. 

Fighting distractions is harder than you think it is. The more you try to fight, sadly, the more your mind will wander. So the best thing to do is give in to your thoughts, but not immediately. 

This also works as a great reward system for those who are just starting off and need that extra push to get through 25 minutes without giving in to procrastination. 

  • Take a five minute break 

You’ll be surprised to see how much of a difference these breaks make. Starting from doing simple things like keeping yourself hydrated and stretching to keep those work pains at bay and ending with quickly catching up on thoughts that distracted you, these five minute breaks help refresh you for your next 25 minute haul. 

  • Every 4 POMODOROs, reward yourself with a 30-minute break 

Longer breaks mean more time for yourself. The key to working well is not working all the time. It just means working efficiently and one of the things that make you efficient at work is taking care of things that are important outside work. 

  • Repeat as needed

Getting into the groove might be harder than you think initially. But once you do get used to the technique, you’ll see things are actually different. They are in fact, better. 

 

Rest to the rescue

 

Productivity hacks, are not a new thing. Starting from collating smaller tasks to create a larger, more important task and ending with customisable sleep schedules, enough and more experts have weighed in, trying their best to help us be at our most productive. 

So a technique that encourages us to use our work hours in a more efficient way, allowing us to do more than work all the time is exactly what we need to keep our work and personal lives perfectly balanced. While some of us take great pride in being workaholics, some of us firmly believe that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” 

Is it time to welcome decentralised workplaces?

When I was young and less experienced than I am now, the thing that I hated the most about work was the fact that I had to be in office for 8 lengthy hours whether I had work or not. Now, while that idea doesn’t seem so bad in 2019, life back in the day was not half as interesting online. So unless you were really good at creatively wasting time in the office, sitting through long, empty hours was excruciating. 

You see, earlier, workspaces used to flourish under rules and regulations that made sure that everyone was present in the office at the same time, putting both managers and employees on the same page in ways. But with technology and more resources that came with the digital revolution, things are thankfully changing. And one of the best things the future of work has introduced us to has been the idea of decentralised workforces. 

 

Welcome to the world of decentralised workforces 

 

If we are to take popular opinions seriously, a decentralised workplace isn’t one where all employees work from wherever they wish to. 

Inspired by the ideals of ownership, responsibility and freedom, a successful decentralised workforce is one where people shun feudal ideas like hierarchy and centralised decision making. In an attempt to disrupt the classic pyramid structure that most workforces have been used to, they value collaborations and of course, transparency. Decentralised workplaces also encourage creativity by enabling employees to take decisions without having to wait for permissions to be able to take any kind of action. 

 

Navigating through the new 

 

Though the very idea of celebrating freedom and transparency can be liberating for many, being decentralised isn’t as easy as you think.  For starters, with the idea being very, very new and not enough adopters out there, it’s never easy to figure out what you need to do when you step into this whole new world. 

Secondly, with no one in charge, unlike traditional workplaces, it can be challenging to successfully motivate employees to embrace and accept the new. 

Lastly, with the need to become more independent to fit into roles that decentralised workplaces have to offer, many find the thought of such great freedom intimidating, and thereby shy away from being what they believe can be their best. 

But with technology helping workspaces change and grow, managing a decentralised workforce isn’t as hard as you think it is. 

When there’s Dockabl, there’s a way! 

  • By prioritising simplicity and user experience, Dockabl makes sure that no user is confused or intimidated by the platform and doesn’t hesitate to use it. 
  • With a great emphasis on clear communication, users can have anchored conversations and receive actionable feedback. Thus, reducing the possibility of misunderstanding and ensuring better collaborations across teams.
  • You can actually be as flexible as you want to be. Starting from defining timelines that suit your convenience to immediately recognising people for the good work done. You can even run multiple reviews simultaneously, there’s no longer a need to adhere to old practices. 

So you see, changing times aren’t as scary as you thought them to be. If anything, it’s a whole bright future that guarantees a better life at work! 

Do You Know Enough About A Workplace Evil We Call Performance Reviews?

Once every year, employees seem to be hustling harder than ever. Brows creased in concentration, they click away furiously at their keyboards. Even the procrastinators and regular office sinners seem to be hard at work. Sleepless nights of making presentations might not be a regular part of everyone’s work lives, but when it comes to acing the performance review, everyone wants to show off their best – even if it is just for a few days. 

 

Welcome to the world of performance reviews 

 

It was in the 1900s with the Personnel Administrative Movement that employers realised that work satisfaction does actually yield greater productivity. Conceptualised by Frederick W Taylor, his ideals about Work Design, Work Measurement and Production Control brought about a major transformation in the field of personnel management. 

However, it was only in the 1940s that management styles actually evolved to address the social needs of employees. From being relentless taskmasters, managers around this time became more empathetic and understanding, and in ways better leaders than they were in the past. Over the next years, it scientifically evolved into a workplace philosophy that actually improved productivity and efficiency through employee satisfaction. 

 

Evolving towards the better? 

 

However, what started off as a strategy to boost productivity evolved to become a rather painstaking process that actually affected teamwork as well as workplace morale rather negatively. In 2008, UCLA professor and management Sam Culbert emphasised on its evils. 

“It’s time to finally put the performance review out of its misery,” he wrote in the book Get Rid of The Personnel Review. “This corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. Everybody does it, and almost everyone who’s evaluated hates it. It’s a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus,” he declared. 

 

Evil lurks around 

 

In a world that is changing rapidly thanks to technology, it is wrong to believe that trends won’t. Even if they had been proven to work scientifically in the past. If anything, performance reviews consume a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources making it an expensive affair in more than one way. With faulty performance measurement metrics ruling the roost and inconsistent feedback joining in, traditional performance reviews are nothing but stressful in the world we live in. 

  •  Timeline Trouble 

Most performance reviews end up focusing on the most recent months that lead up to the review. With the focus being strong on just a few months of work, most achievements are usually forgotten. Similarly, errors made only during the recent months come under the spotlight often making it worse than it is. This also has quite a negative impact on morale. At the end of the day, if your entire year’s work has been compressed into one presentation, there are high chances that you end up feeling tiny and insignificant.

  • Human Follies 

Performance review processes are usually rather boring. Even more for a manager. Filling out the same paperwork for multiple people can be enough of a bore for some unmotivated ones to just go with averages without actually caring about how the employee is actually performing. 

  • Feedback Failure

More often than not, feedback is just a part of the performance review process with no real follow-ups in place. While it is easy to point out someone’s errors during the review, without follow up feedbacks, it’s impossible to figure if the employee is actually working towards improvement.

 

Future Perfect? 

 

So how can we really improve the process in the future? 

In an era of technological advancements, there is little you can do apart from upping your game to be in sync with the millennials and centennials. At the end of the day, it is no secret that employees perform better when their superiors not just recognise their talents, but appreciate and reward them too. 

While traditional performance reviews failed to make the process effective personally, a smart Performance Management System like Dockabl can make all the difference your company needs! 

  • Review Routines 

With Dockabl, not only can you establish timelines for each project, you can track your employees’ progress individually, give real-time feedback to them and even follow up pretty effortlessly. 

  • Recognition Matters 

Think someone on your team did a great job on a project? You don’t have to wait for a performance review to show them your appreciation. With a number of badges to choose from on Dockabl, no employee goes unappreciated. 

  • Flexibility for the Win 

Unlike traditional performance review processes, Dockabl is smart enough to understand your needs and help you come up with custom solutions. Solutions that give you the flexibility to track, review and reward an employee to motivate them to perform better. 

  • Communication is key 

By enabling you to communicate easily with your team on the platform, Dockabl eliminates chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings. It also helps employees address issues that would otherwise have to wait for months to be addressed. 

 

In a world where efficiency, accuracy and clear communication reigns supreme, it is only with a tool that eases the process of performance reviews to make it more interactive, personal and dynamic, that they can truly recognise an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and support them to evolve professionally. 

Slow and steady, or are you just lazy?

Have you met Sloth? 

 

At the corner desk, far from peering eyes, Sloth casually lounges about. Their face keeps changing and so do their names, but their irksome traits rarely do. Sloth, given the day and the time, can either choose to go missing in action, or be struck by tragedy or instigate a distraction so overwhelming that no one remembers to check on them… At the end of the day, if there’s anything that can help them get away with doing the bare minimum to keep themselves afloat at their job, they will turn to it. 

Employees plagued by Sloth have an unending list of excuses to allow them to get away without getting much done. At times, even the things they are supposed to. Not only that, they have some rather conniving ways of delegating their tasks to their unsuspecting colleagues, adding to their stress. 

 

Are they lazy? Or is work to blame?

 

While there are employees who excel in the art of being lazy, there are some who might be struggling at work. 

  • Did you know, for instance, bad briefs can lead to an employee appear like they are not doing their best? When an employee is confused about what to get done and when it gets very difficult for them to actually get the task done. 
  • In fact, performance stress can also make an employee hesitate to do their best. Take for example the under-confident young man who shies away from all presentations, despite having put in long hours to have gotten it done. 
  • Too much work can also make some want to run for their lives. Especially if it has become a dreary part of life. So if you aren’t around, how are you ever expected to get anything done? 

 

Experience no bar 

 

Motivating someone to be productive at work can be some serious work. But it gets even more serious when its a manager who needs to be motivated. In fact, things can get much worse if Sloth has chosen to accompany someone who is capable of calling the shots. Veiled by an aura of responsibility and accountability, lazy managers usually are the ones with the unhappiest teams. Sure he takes them to team lunches and remembers birthdays, but that doesn’t stop him from walking away from all that is on his plate… we mean, desk. Reports go missing, feedback never arrives and confusion reigns supreme.

At the end of the day, almost every one of us has a horror story to share about that lazy boss who never did much, but took credit for everything their team did without batting an eyelid. Relatable much? 

 

Happy to help 

 

Though identifying Sloth can be pretty easy, most of the time, that does you no good. Usually discreet and often careful, these employees and managers don’t really leave you much space to penalise them. At the end of the day, they don’t break rules or stir up trouble. All they do is get creative about doing less than their peers and juniors while keeping their jobs intact. Annoying, yes, but nothing a little motivation can’t fix! So at Dockabl we thought long and hard to come up with a few things that can actually make a difference to your workplace. 

  • Easy of use 

Be it a long-term project, or a short-term one, setting it up and keeping track of it on Dockabl is an absolute breeze. Its weekly prioritisation of work and goals not just help you stay on track, it also allows you to manage your time better. 

  • Transparency is key 

Thanks to the Review module, able to keep track of your task force ensures that you know what they are up to and how they are performing. Coupled with the Feedback module, addressing someone’s pain points and helping them through them become a breeze. 

  • Rewards for the win 

We know the importance of recognition and we make sure that no good job, no matter how insignificant you think it is, goes unrewarded. And that’s not it, if you have done a job well, we make sure that you have badges to flaunt and rewards to wait for. 

 

Sloth, unlike most work sins can be rather benign if you know how to deal with them. At the end of the day, all you need to do is ensure that your workforce stays motivated.