In this article, we discuss a recent follow-on study, based on our prior work on the effects of virtual feedback, that shows how, just like face-to-face feedback, receiving virtual assessment feedback can lead to sustainable behavior change over time.
Revisiting the benefits of virtual assessment feedback
In our original study, we explored participants’ experience of virtual assessment feedback. Our a key question was whether the virtual nature of professional feedback would have an impact on the candidates’ experience of their feedback sessions.
Overall, the results of this initial study were overwhelmingly positive.
What we found was that, despite the virtual nature of the feedback sessions delivered, 91% of participants experienced their feedback sessions positively (even when the feedback was on areas of development). And 79% of participants gained new insights into their behavior at work.
We also found that the virtual feedback sessions served as a motivation and catalyst for behavior change: 90% of feedback recipients reported that feedback on their typical behavioral style would help them grow and develop, while 92% reported that the feedback provided served as a motivation for future change.
Not only were participants motivated to change their behavior following the feedback session, but the feedback gave them confidence that they would be able to change and grow: 94% of participants reported feeling confident that they would be able to improve in their developmental areas following the feedback.
The current study: The impact of virtual assessment feedback over time
Our current study followed up on participants three months after their initial feedback session and focused on possible actions they may have taken during that time. Participants were asked about changes they had made to their day-to-day behavior at work and what developmental actions they had taken, as well as their continuing motivation and confidence levels.
As of 1 March 2022, more than 300 completions of the follow-up survey have been received, representing a response rate of 22% or 1 in 5 respondents of the original feedback experience study.
We know from the literature and from experience that receiving assessment feedback motivates participants to embrace development opportunities, and that it also gives participants confidence that they will be able to make a change and develop further.
From the current study, we also see that the intent and confidence to change is maintained over time, with 91% of participants reporting they remained motivated to change their behavior in line with the feedback received. A further 94% of participants also remained confident that they would be able to continue improving in their development areas.
Perhaps most important, 83% of participants reported making more use of their strengths that were identified during the feedback session (see Figure 1). This indicates that the majority of feedback recipients the feedback they received on board by using their strengths more effectively to resolve problems and challenges at work.
While the majority of participants reported leveraging their strengths following their feedback sessions, more than three-quarters of participants also reported that they changed their less efficient behaviors as discussed during the feedback session (see Figure 2).
Not only did participants report changing their behavior at work, but almost three out of four participants reported engaging in further developmental activities following their feedback session (see Figure 3).
Somewhat surprisingly, however, only 47% of participants noted that they had asked their direct manager for a formal development plan in the months following their feedback sessions.
While unexpected, the finding may be explained by the fact that many of the original feedback sessions were delivered as part of a broader development initiative. As a result, development plans would have been established for participants as part of the process and thus suppressed more positive responses to this survey item.
Discussion and final thoughts
Our original investigation of the power of virtual assessment feedback suggested that organizations can benefit immensely from providing candidates with professionally-mediated assessment feedback and that the virtual nature of feedback did not lessen this effect.
In the current study, we investigated the long-term effects of virtual, professionally mediated feedback. Again, our research revealed that receiving professional feedback from an IOP professional, even when delivered virtually, leads to positive behavioral change over time, continuing commitment toward personal development, and a sustained confidence in such changes on the part of feedback recipients.
As such, the provision of assessment feedback remains a critical contribution towards learning and development initiatives and provides a key avenue through which organizations can realize greater and ongoing value from their assessment practices.
Additionally, the benefits of providing feedback are not restricted to development initiatives. In selection applications, the provision of assessment feedback to successful candidates can streamline the onboarding process and accelerate new employees’ engagement with individual development plans.
If you would like to know more about TTS’s assessment feedback solutions, or would like to consult with us on how we can help your organization leverage the benefits of assessment data and feedback, drop us line at firstname.lastname@example.org