Ever wonder, “How am I really doing at my job?” Feedback is major. In fact, in our latest Talent Ignition Report, 72% of folks across account, dev, design, search, and marketing strongly agreed that real-time feedback is important. And companies that provide regular feedback have 14.9% less turnover. So, we want to give you a few ways to get the lowdown so you can step up your game.
Don’t presume feedback is like Santa
It should come more than once a year. Inc.com recently declared the traditional performance review dead, saying, “Using feedback on performance to course correct once a year, or even twice a year, is akin to trying to navigate a minefield after you've crossed it.” And it’s true. Much like toddlers, employees need to know when exactly they’re veering off course so they can do something about it. And similarly, it helps to hear what’s going well as it’s happening, so you keep doing it. But, what if your company only does reviews once or twice a year?
Get on their radar
You need constructive criticism as much as (if not more) than your manager wants to give it to you. It can lead to things like more responsibility, better projects, a new title and of course, a bump in salary (and if you need to gauge your current one, use our Check Salary tool.) So if you’re not getting the feedback you need, you gotta carve out time for it.
If you don’t already, ask to have a weekly or every-other-weekly one-on-one with your boss. Having a set time and place creates a continuous feedback loop, so you don’t have to cram a conversation into your elevator ride up or while passing the hot sauce in the kitchen.
This is your chance to ask questions, get a gut check—and even show off a little. You want to use this time wisely, so come prepared. Make a list of what you’re currently working on. (Managers are busy, and often managing more than just you, so it helps to refresh their memories.) Jot down anything you need clarity on to move forward. Get a clear understanding of what’s expected and how to get there. (Vitamin T’s own Jack Fellers has some great ideas on this here.)
Regular checkups are especially important for remote workers—and we know there are so many of you out there! When you’re not in the office for water cooler convos, virtual face-to-face time is even more critical. This is true of freelancers too, who might not have the same accessibility as full-time staff. Additionally, your feedback might center around project logistics and workflow, but you can always open the door a little wider by asking specifics about how you work and how you’re fitting in.
Toot your own horn
It’s ok—and even a good thing—to let your boss know about the successes you’re having and to be happy about them. It shows you’re engaged and that you take pride in what you do. Maybe a client call went especially well or you came in under budget on a project. Afraid of being that guy? Check out how to do it without being obnoxious.
But don’t blow it
You should also use the time to find out what you could be doing better. Even if everything seems as cool as the other side of the pillow, there’s always something that can be improved upon or some slack you can pick up for a busy teammate.
Of course, you could also be struggling, and that’s okay too. For years, we’ve had it drilled into our heads that you don’t go to your boss with a problem but a solution. Yet that mantra can be problematic and actually counterproductive as employees simply shut down and ignore issues that may have been solved if addressed in a timely matter. So, what should you do?
Tell your manager what’s happening and try to figure out how to turn it around. After all, that’s part of their job. Maybe you can brainstorm together, maybe they can use their clout to push something through faster, maybe it’s just verifying that you are going down the right path already. (if you need a little bolster, these five tips are super helpful.)
It’s ok to give feedback, too
Spoiler alert: Managers are not perfect. And, newsflash, while you might totally heart your boss for her intelligence or his sense of humor, they may be terrible at giving feedback. So you might want to give them a little feedback on how to do that—what’s the best way to talk to you? Email or in person? Are you visual? Do you like someone to be direct or more warm and fuzzy? Don’t be afraid to make yourself known. After all, a recent Economist Intelligence Unit study recently found that nearly 25% of people say that their boss’s poor communication skills led to missed performance goals.
The bottom line
Feedback is your friend. Make sure you’re getting it. And then make sure you’re actually using it to get better at your job and advance your career. Ahhhh, satisfying, right?