Always-On v/s Annual Employee Feedback – Drive Innovation and Productivity

Always-On v/s Annual Employee Feedback

Always-on listening enables employees to proactively share feedback at any point in time (think of the traditional “suggestion box” as an example).


Feedback may include anything from improvement ideas, ethical concerns, or compliance problems. The feedback is reported to a designated person at the organization who then filters it to the appropriate audience. The benefit? Always-on listening can create cultures of trust, creativity, and empowerment because it provides opportunities for people to act responsibly, use their strengths to raise important ideas, and reinforce continuous improvement.

Challenges with Always-On

Before diving into what makes a successful Always-on program, let’s talk about some common challenges.

  1. Always-on mechanisms require employees to be proactive about sharing feedback, and the information shared may trend towards extreme experiences. Employees may bring to light extremely positive situations that warrant recognition or perhaps critical concerns such as harassment, safety risks, or toxic environments. It is important to be aware that extreme feedback can distort our understanding and send us responding to squeaky wheels rather than pervasive problems (not to minimize the importance of raising workplace safety or well-being concerns).
  1. Because employees can submit feedback anytime, Always-on mechanisms require ongoing monitoring, and it can be difficult to determine when and how to respond.
  1. Determining whether feedback should be anonymous or confidential (or not) can be tough – without a person attached to the feedback, the organization cannot respond directly and there is no accountability. On the other hand, some concerns are highly sensitive and more likely to be reported through anonymous means. These and other considerations are important to weigh when implementing Always-on listening.
Annual Performance Reviews

Annual performance reviews, on the other hand, are the classic form of episodic feedback.

Annual performance reviews, on the other hand, are the classic form of episodic feedback.

It is far more productive to encourage frequent, informal performance conversations that enable managers to provide more timely feedback to employees and adjust expectations based on organizational changes or past performance.

Many organizations are working toward more frequent and agile goal-setting methods, according to the 2018 Performance Management Trends and Innovations Survey by Gartner. The survey shows that 48% of organizations now set goals at least twice per year.

Did you know that when companies place more focus on the engagement levels of their employees, this can lead to increased innovation and creativity?

In fact, companies that care about the well-being of employees, and operate ethically and socially sound principles have a higher chance of beating the competition in many areas – including recruitment and retention.

Connection between Employee Engagement and Increased Innovation

Research shows a connection between employee engagement and increased innovation

How can a company increase innovation?

It’s possible for any organization to increase innovation and profitability. Follow these steps to start:

#1 – The first step involves conducting a pulse survey to narrow down the top areas that are concerning to employees. Things that need immediate change or correction. Invite employees to share their ideas too.

#2 – Compare this information to any feedback gathered from exit interviews and performance reviews in the last 6 months. Talk with the point of service personnel, leaders, and supervisors to find out what the real issues are.

#3 – Communicate to employees that they can expect positive changes to come soon. Be specific about how and why these changes are happening. Focus on improving the most pressing areas.

#4 – Use a real-time employee engagement solution to monitor progress and listen to responses from employees. Continue to gather ideas and concerns from employees. Use these ideas to form new processes and perks for employees.

#5 – Monitor innovation and ideas in your central project management and communication system. Add new ideas here too so they can be implemented at the right time. Compare newly launched ideas to profits over the next few quarters.

This plan of action can support the short-term improvement of many areas of the company, while also considering the long-term future of the organization. Watch for signs that the company is doing better, not only to the bottom line, but also in recruitment and retention, employee interest in professional development, and more positive work culture.

Want to create a constant communication channel between your employees and the key decision-makers? Connect with us now and one of our experts will walk you through the world of possibilities with LitmusWorld.