The links between frequent, actionable, two-way feedback and employee engagement are clear. We know that highly engaged employees feedback to their manager and peers more often than disengaged staff.

It’s simple, employees who receive helpful, continuous feedback from managers perform better. They’re also much more engaged and develop skills sooner.

But it’s not just about feedback between managers and employees. Workplace feedback should permeate through a company, and not be bound to the constraints of the organisational structure.

A true “culture of workplace feedback” looks something more like this:

  • Employee < > manager
  • Employee < > employee
  • Manager < > manager
  • Employee < > leadership
  • Leadership < > manager

And so on…

To unlock the power of workplace feedback, everyone within an organisation should have the opportunity to share feedback with anyone. At any time.

This is where ad-hoc feedback comes in.

What is ad-hoc feedback?

Ad-hoc feedback is the feedback that can be given, shared, and requested 24/7 without constraints or limits.

It’s open to all employees, who can supply or receive feedback from anyone else within that company. Occasionally limits may be applied on who can share with who. But the best practice is to ensure ad-hoc feedback is open for all.

Studies by Gallup show that one of the biggest gripes employees have is not getting enough feedback. In fact, 79% of employees feel they don’t get enough feedback a work.

We know that particularly among millennial and Gen-Z employees, there’s a desire for more and more workplace feedback. Yet there are so many hours in the day, and managers already have plenty on their plates.

It’s no great surprise then perhaps that many employees are feeling a little left in the dark when it comes to the amount of feedback their manager shares with them.

Ad-hoc feedback can help alleviate the pressure on managers by allowing employees to seek feedback from other sources.

So, what are the benefits of ad-hoc feedback?

There are 4 main benefits to using introducing ad-hoc feedback into your company.

Feedback becomes more readily available

By opening up feedback, allowing your people to give and perhaps more importantly seek feedback from all, you increase the amount of feedback being shared.

And because your people will be receiving feedback from a variety of sources, it means they are able to benefit from more varied feedback. This better helps them get a more holistic view of their work and performance, understanding how multiple people view their efforts.

Feedback becomes even more timely

Feedback designed to improve performance is at its most effective if received within 72 hours. After that time it becomes harder for the recipient to remember what they did, why they did it, the way they did it etc. making it harder to digest and apply the feedback.

Outside of about 10 days and the effectiveness of feedback is halved.

Anything beyond a month and you might as well not bother.

Running an employee check-in or 1:1 every 72 hours just isn’t feasible.

So, ad-hoc feedback’s there to plug a gap and allow your people to share feedback when it’s really needed.

This means the likelihood of feedback being shared in a timely manner, driving effectiveness, is greatly increased.

Feedback becomes even more flexible

Ad-hoc feedback allows your people to request and share feedback about anything and everything.

This means that whereas surveys or even check-ins may have prescribed topics for staff to share feedback on, ad-hoc allows them to talk about the things that are really important to them.

Just finished up a project with a temporary team?

Or delivered the latest sales strategy to the board?

Or maybe you’ve just taken a dozen new starters through onboarding?

Whatever it is, go out and ask for some feedback on how it went. Get the feedback that matters, from the people that count, exactly when you want to get it.

Ad-hoc feedback powers up recognition

A somewhat hidden benefit at first is the role ad-hoc feedback plays in encouraging peer-to-peer employee recognition.

If you’re encouraging your people to share recognition feedback about the great work and efforts of their colleagues, when’s that happening? Often it’s part of a survey. If you’re really on top of your game, it’d be part of a regular employee check-in.

But even if you’re people are checking-in each week, it may be that some pieces of recognition are being missed or forgotten about when it comes to recognizing others.

Ad-hoc feedback allows people to share a quick ‘thank you’ when it matters. If you’re doing this within a dedicated platform like Zensai, this can be recorded and added to any wider recognition process.

Does ad-hoc feedback replace our check-in?

Absolutely not – now go wash your mouth out for even asking!

Ad-hoc feedback is a wonderfully useful tool. It allows for more flexibility, makes feedback as timely as it can be and helps us ensure a strong culture of employee recognition.

However, on its own, it can be something of a Wild West approach to employee feedback.

The lack of framework around ad-hoc feedback means the pressure is always on employees to a) remember to give feedback and b) actually do it. This standalone approach leads generally to less feedback in total and a bit of a scatter-gun approach when it comes to cadence.

Conversely, a weekly check-in provides structure and guidance. A weekly employee check-in allows for habits to form around reflection, the giving of feedback and managers supporting and championing their people.

In our view, backed up by plenty of research, a weekly check-in for feedback and goal review is the base standard that every company should be looking to achieve.

Then on top of that, check-ins should be supported by ad-hoc feedback, monthly 1:1s and quarterly reviews – a truly continuous approach to feedback, engagement and performance.