3 Reasons Why Real-Time Feedback is Essential for Success in the Workplace

Published by Ahva Sadeghi on June 1, 2018
3 min read

Ahva Sadeghi

Ahva is the CEO and Co-Founder of Symba. She is a passionate social entrepreneur, and was recently named Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Global Entrepreneur Scholar by the US Department of State. Ahva completed her graduate studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she served as President of the Human Rights Students Committee and received the John Lewis Fellow with Humanity in Action.

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“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

In order to move forward and make waves in our careers, we must constantly learn how to get better at what we do. That is why receiving real-time feedback is so valuable. Feedback and growth go hand-in-hand, so why wait for annual reviews? Real-time feedback, when used effectively, has great potential to inform us how to (1) develop and advance our skills, (2) provide an outlet to reflect, and (3) serve as a communication tool in a consistent manner so that actionable advice stays top of mind.

1. Real-time feedback enables consistent improvement

We need to learn what we do well and what we don’t. Hearing insights from our managers and teammates is essential so that we can constantly perfect our skills. Real-time feedback can reinforce what an individual does well and identify areas for improvement before an annual review. We often do not know what we are doing wrong and may continue to do things incorrectly unless our mistakes are clearly articulated to us. Without clear feedback, miscommunication can arise and result in negative repercussions. Therefore, it is important to receive clear and constructive feedback. Real-time feedback ensures that areas of improvement and excellency are quickly identified and brought to attention for correction or praise, respectively.

Claire Young, founder of School Speakers, advises to “proactively ask for feedback from others about your skills, strengths and development areas” as one of her top five tips for advancing careers.

2. Regular feedback provides opportunities to review and reflect throughout the year

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”– Elon Musk

Creating regular systems of feedback encourages us to take time during the regular work week to review our work and progress. For example, sports teams rewatch plays of every game to revisit their successes and mistakes and gain insights for the next game. If teams waited until the end of the season to review their performance, they would've missed valuable insights that could've helped them win more games and make incremental improvement. Consistent reviews of large and small projects will allow us as individuals and teams to regularly reflect on our successes and mistakes every step of the way.

Career education and development are journeys that do not happen magically overnight. Feedback serves as a mechanism to guide us and help track progress at work. If we want to get better at what we do, then it is fundamental that we listen to feedback and take regular time to reflect on our work.

3. Real-time feedback is a platform for communication

Real-time feedback, when properly conveyed, can foster healthy relationships in the workforce amongst team members by providing constructive criticism. In order for feedback to be executed successfully, it must a two-way communication for all parties to collectively speak and transparently engage with one another. For this reason, real-time feedback is useful in employee retention and engagement by encouraging constant and honest communication focused on both individual and team growth.

Bonus: Why real-time feedback is especially important for interns

Have an internship program? Getting feedback from an employer and internship supervisor is one of the most valuable opportunities for an intern to improve in a safe space. Because internships are test drives for future jobs, receiving quality feedback is instrumental for interns to improve their skills and move forward in their career paths.

Many interns are new to the workforce and working on relevant career projects for the very first time. With all these new experiences, unique challenges and major learning curves also arise, allowing interns to explore a range of tasks, techniques and best practices in their fields of interest. By getting their feet wet, interns can apply their classroom knowledge to their given line of work. As they do this, the hope is that they will improve their skills and excel at their work. In order to make this happen, it is the responsibility of the employers and managers of the interns to invest in their internship experience. This includes feedback.

Internships often last a season, maybe two, and annual reviews are probably not given. Thus, real-time feedback is especially important for interns to ensure they improve with each iteration. Not only is it essential for intern success, but real-time feedback is helpful for you to develop your own workforce pipeline (interns are often future employees). At Symba, we realize real-time feedback is critical for a meaningful internship experience for both employers and interns; that is why it is a core feature of our software for internship management.

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