The Future Of HR Feedback Is Predictive

In social business, garnering feedback from customers, employees, partners or other key stakeholders is critical to sustaining a prosperous company. However, it can be quite burdensome on the user to constantly asking them for their input. This is where predictive analytics plays a key role in the future of feedback.

The Challenge in Human Resources

Ask leaders what they think makes employees excited about their work, and they will respond by telling you in un-equivocating terms. In a 2010 survey, analysts invited more than 600 managers from dozens of companies to measure the impact on employee motivation and emotions of five workplace factors commonly considered significant:

  • Recognition
  • Incentives
  • Interpersonal support
  • Support for making progress
  • Clear Goals

Recognition for good work (either public or private)” came out number one.

Unfortunately, those Managers were Wrong

A Harvard multiyear study completed the end of 2014 tracking the day-to-day activities, emotional perceptions, and motivation levels of hundreds of knowledge workers in a wide variety of settings, show what the top motivator of performance is; and remarkably it’s the factor those survey participants ranked dead last.

It’s Progress

On days when employees have the feeling they’re making headway in their positions, or when they receive support that enables them to overcome obstacles, their emotions are very positive and their drive to succeed is at its pinnacle.

On days when they feel they are not moving forward or encountering barriers to meaningful accomplishment, their attitudes and motivation are at their lowest.

“People want to make progress in their roles and feel like they have some control in how they get their commitments to done”

The Breakthrough Idea

As a manager of people, you should regard this as very excellent news. Enabling motivation turns out to be largely under your control. And further more, motivation doesn’t depend on complicated incentive systems. (In fact, the people in this study rarely mentioned incentives in their journals.) Managers have powerful influence over events that facilitate or undermine progress. They can provide meaningful goals, resources, and encouragement, and they can protect their people from irrelevant demands. Or they can fail to do so.

This brings us to perhaps the strongest advice we offer from this study: Scrupulously avoid impeding progress by changing goals autocratically, being indecisive, or holding up resources. Negative events generally have a greater effect on people’s emotions, perceptions, and motivation than positive ones, and nothing is more demotivating than a setback — the most prominent type of event on knowledge workers’ worst days.

The Promise

You can proactively create both the perception and the reality of progress. If you are a high-level manager, make the effort to clarify the overall goals, ensure that people’s efforts are properly supported, and do not exert time pressure so great that minor missteps are viewed as crises rather than opportunities for learning. Cultivate a culture of support. Also, there is a more direct approach to making progress; roll up your sleeves and contribute to effort. All these actions will not only keep people working with greater engagement and enthusiasm, but will help in getting the job done more quickly.

As for recognition, the diaries revealed that it does really motivate workers and elevate their attitudes. So managers should celebrate progress, even small and incremental steps. But there will be no authentic recognition if people are not actually moving forward. As a reasonable matter, recognition cannot happen every day. As a true leader and coach, you can see that progress occurs every day.

As a manager, now that we are have more meaningful collaboration with the team by enabling greater progress and celebrating the successes no matter how small, we should now consider replacing the annual performance appraisal. Managers do not like giving the appraisal and employees certainly do not like receiving them. If making progress is the #1 motivator, them we need to measure, acknowledge, and reward the individuals and the team for their contributions.

Most people do not want to disappoint the team and appreciate earning public acknowledgment from their peers. So we need a more transparent P2P process that including attributes of “gamification” including rewards.

Peer SaaS Feedback

Play the Relationship Capital Game of Commitment

Relationship Capital Interactions are based on industry standards for peer-to-peer feedback, recognition and rewards

The Relationship Capital Interaction is an open standard and is earned in two ways:

  1. Commitment Feedback
  2. Appreciation

For example, sales professional Rob Peters creates the following commits to his sales team leader and his sales peers:

  • To complete and deliver a Social Selling Speaking & Training Proposal for ACME, Inc by April 1st 2015.
  • Co-Write a Social Selling Leadership Book with Curatti by June 30th, 2015.
  • Create and Deliver Target B2B Prospect List for Social Credibility and Social Selling Services by April 15th, 2015.
  • Deliver 6 Mentor one-hour mentoring sessions DePaul University MBA Graduate Student Steve Smith by July 31st, 2015.

The point here is the promised commitment needs to be as specific as possible so that there is no miss-understanding as to whether the commitment was fulfilled. If the team leader believes the commitment was fulfilled and is “Done”, then he or she credits Rob Peters’ Relationship Capital or “RC Account”.

Rob Peters Peer SaaS Leaderboard

Also, the team leader should send a perception poll that rates the quality of the delivered commitment(s). The commitment feedback score is also deposited as relationship capital into Mr. Peters’ account. Qualitative feedback in the form of text should also be included with the Relationship Capital (RC). As an option depending on the organizational culture, you can also have the sales peers rate Rob Peters RC. Hopefully, my simple example makes the point that by leveraging the following:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Acknowledgement
  • Rewards
  • Metrics
  • SaaS Technology

We can and should retire the outdated annual performance appraisal in our “realtime” world of social business.

Managers do not like giving the annual appraisal and employees do not like receiving them. The traditional performance appraisals are not elevating the culture of trust and high performance in the business organization. Finally, most people will not stay with the same organization for more than a few years, so if individuals can earn RC credibility rewards on the job, when they leave the company, they can take their Relationship Capital (RC) Credibility with them to their next opportunity. Everyone wins in tracking their progress with RC. The employee, manager/team leader, and the business. With the introduction of the Peer SaaS platform, we have taken the first step in operationalizing and measuring a person’s relationship capital.


It takes time to successfully implement a predictive analytics capability that provides a strategic advantage to a Relationship Capital company. The companies that take an adaptive “crawl, walk, run” approach will progress the fastest. They perform repeatedly around specific human resource use cases so that they learn and garner the benefits as they progress. But without a doubt, the future of HR feedback will increasingly utilize predictive analytics.


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