Feedback can be a powerful tool to drive engagement and performance in the workplace. It gives employees a sense of engagement in their job, it helps clarify objectives and expectations, and it also helps Managers be better, more empathic leaders.
However, it can also be very easy for feedback to have detrimental effects on your organization if conducted inappropriately. To avoid this, we’ve built a guide to help businesses drive more effective feedback conversations.
How to Conduct Successful Feedback Conversations
Atmosphere is everything
Remember this is an opportunity to foster relationships with your peers and how comfortable they feel in your presence will have a direct impact on how effective the meeting will be.
To create an environment in which people can feel secure, try kicking off the conversation with an ice-breaker. This could be a question unrelated to work, like “How was your weekend?” or something that helps build up the employee’s confidence, like “Tell me about something you’ve done this past week which you felt proud about.” Don’t forget this should be a two-way conversation, so letting the employee be the first to start talking is a good way of acknowledging that.
Don’t dig too deep
Something crucial to bear in mind before starting a feedback meeting is that not everything is in scope when choosing points of discussion. A popular way of viewing this is thinking of human beings as having different layers, that go deeper and deeper the closer they get to our core values and beliefs. Broadly speaking, we could distinguish three main thresholds in this regard:
The first, or the outer layer, corresponds to the Behaviour threshold. This is where the conversation should take place, for the most part. In essence, it’s about distinct, observable behaviours or actions the employee engages in in specific situations, and that can be expressed plainly and factually. For example, “I’ve noticed you’ve been coming late to work these past few days.”
The second layer belongs to the Attitude threshold. This can be categorized as a repeated pattern of behaviour that could be interpreted as manifestations of a deeper problem, or maybe a perceived emotion. For instance, you might have noticed that an employee seems to have become less enthusiastic over time – in this case, the best option would be to merely point out the finding as a way to encourage some self-reflection on their part. But you shouldn’t push it in any way.
In the centre, we have the belief and value system of a person in itself – this is the way they perceive reality, based on their individual life experiences and the values they’ve fostered since childhood. This is an area that must be kept out of the conversation entirely, since any delving into it could be construed as a direct confrontation towards what and who they are. For example, you must not tell someone that “You don’t seem to understand how to work as part of a team,” as this could bring forth some unwanted reactions.
Bottom line is, when it comes to this kind of conversation, it’s essential to keep the discussion at the surface level as much as possible, in order to avoid a clash that could make that person impervious to further feedback, or worse.
A Feedback Guide For Managers
It’s often said that a good Manager is one of the most appreciated perks an employee can be offered, and many times it can even be the difference between leaving a position or staying, so you want to make sure you can provide good leadership in this respect. One of the best ways of doing this is through One-on-One meetings and feedback giving.
However you approach these conversations, don´t forget that, as a Manager, your position can be intimidating to some employees. This can be managed by being kind and professional – do not try to act overly friendly and don’t go the other extreme and be too harsh or negative in your comments. This applies to both words and body language.
Structuring feedback conversations as a Manager
A quick and easy formula for structuring feedback meetings is the Situation > Behaviour > Impact model, developed by the Centre for Creative Leadership.
First, provide a description of a situation you want to talk about.
Then, mention the behaviour that you observed the employee partake in, and that you want to bring into the conversation.
Finally, layout your personal interpretation of the event and explain the impact it had on you.
Take a look at the following example, following the model described previously, as displayed in Leanmote’s platform:
Image name: Send Feedback
Image alt text:
Feedback title: Good job at the meeting today, Mia.
Feedback content: I just wanted to clarify something that I thought about when you interrupted me in my presentation. I liked the determination, and you made a very good point (which was appreciated), but maybe next time wait until whoever’s talking makes a pause, so that they don’t lose their train of thought and the meeting can go on smoothly afterwards. Keep up the good work! Set as Private.
Note that, in the previous example, the feedback was given in private, which means only the employee receiving the feedback will be able to see it, rather than everyone on the Team. This is helpful when addressing a behaviour that needs to be corrected.
Keeping a record of employees performance and well-being
Another important thing that is mostly overlooked in many organizations is that employee reviews are above all an opportunity to make notes and keep track of their performance and well-being over time. Doing this provides valuable insights that could lead to providing better feedback in the future, as well as foreseeing and preventing possible burnout scenarios.
Leanmote’s platform helps organizations track these important metrics in an easy and direct manner.
Image name: Employee Performance Record
Image alt text: A section of the platform showcasing an employee’s profile, connectivity trends, biography and other tracking stats for Managers and Leaders.
A Team’s record of performance and well-being could look like this:
Image name: Team Performance Record
Image alt text: A section of the platform showcasing a Team’s profiles and main tracking stats for Managers and Leaders.
Requesting employee feedback
Peer feedback is an essential part of this process, but expecting employees to provide feedback to co-workers of their own accord might be a bit implausible. That’s why Leanmote’s platform offers Managers the possibility of requesting members of their Team to leave a feedback message on the profile of their colleagues.
How? Easy: just go to the One on One tab and click on a Team member’s profile. Then, under Feedback, click on Ask, and populate the respective fields, as shown in the following screenshot.
Image name: Peer Feedback Request
Image alt text: A section of the platform showing how you can request feedback from one employee to another.
You can also track the state and progress of the feedback request under the Feedback requests tab:
Image name: Feedback Requests
Image alt text: A section of the platform in which Managers can track the progress of peer feedback requests.
A Guide To Peer Feedback
Remember that no matter how experienced a managerial team might be, they’re not going to have as complete a grasp of an employee’s work and personality as their co-workers – this is where peer reviews come in. The only problem is they usually lack a clear, actionable structure for the feedback to be useful.
How employees can provide better feedback to co-workers
If you’re looking to provide feedback to a fellow worker, it’s important to be precise, organized, and helpful in your comments. And, at the same time, try not to be overly critical, discouraging or harsh.
Above all, note that feedback must be actionable (that is, the person receiving the comment must be able to act upon it), and always strive to point out the positive of the situation.
Image name: Peer Feedback
Image alt text: Feedback title: Loved working with you on last week’s assignment! Feedback content: I really liked your enthusiasm and determination, they truly helped this project go along smoothly, specially whenever we hit a roadblock. Just remember some people need a break every now and then (I might be one of those!) and that it’s ok to :). Set as Anonymous.
Remember that, with Leanmote’s platform, you can make your feedback anonymous, in case you ever feel a bit self-conscious about publishing it with your name attached!
A continual conversation
Like we mentioned before, good feedback is all about continuous two-way conversations, and that’s why we’ve structured our feedback comment section in a way similar to that of a mobile chat, so that you can interact more freely and in a more welcoming manner.
Start promoting quality feedback between your team today
Learn more about how you can foster better relationships between co-workers and promote engagement and well-being in your organization with Leanmote. Sign up today for a free trial!