Economics/Business

What is feedback/types/practices/How to structure/5 steps/precautions

Feedback is a constructive assessment with the objective of offering a safe space for exchanging information, allowing the professional and personal growth of employees.

Feedback is a form of constructive evaluation . There are different ways to offer this type of guidance, but it is one of the most important tools that allow the development of the team and, consequently, the growth of the business.

Performance appraisal is a way for the company – through the Human Resources department or the Personnel Department – to point the north to its employees, however, there is a lot of stigma around this tool.

Many people can take the moment of feedback as something punitive and want to run away from the dreaded meetings with the manager.

And, if you are reading this text, you certainly already know that this is a moment of mutual growth.

So, how to give feedback effectively in the work environment?

In this article, the subject was treated as a real area of ​​study and brings a series of information that will help you in this endeavor.

What is feedback?

Feedback is a kind of response with an evaluative content that aims to present a point of view.

This, in turn, carries a series of information that interpret and decode certain organizational or individual behavior

Offering feedback is not the same as casual conversation, it is a very important moment for both parties.

Care must be taken when formulating sentences that are intended to make an individual reassess how he handles his work or personal life.

Imagine the following situation: an employee spends hours building a report and, in a meeting, when presenting his work, he receives a “this is really bad, redo it” from his manager.

That’s everything you wouldn’t expect from a feedback meeting, let alone coming from someone in a leadership position .

Not only is he disdainful of the work developed, but he also does not point out opportunities for improvement .

For it to be really effective, it must cause reflection and add value to the work in question.

Why is feedback important?

In the corporate environment, feedback represents the possibility of providing a rational response to the behaviors and attitudes of an individual or group.

It is time for leaders to motivate the team , highlighting the positive points.

If used intelligently, it can even serve to strengthen ties between employees and increase engagement.

But why is having this openness to be honest important to your company? Well, to discuss this point let’s talk a little bit about Pixar culture .

Pixar’s secret to giving better feedback

In case you didn’t know, this company was the first film production company to develop an all-computer animation.

It might seem like a simple thing now, but that wasn’t the reality in 1996 when Toy Story , the first completely computer-animated movie, was released.

As it was the beginning of this technology, the company, instead of focusing its investments on the visual aspects as expected, decided to demonstrate the quality of its films through the most basic and important element of all: the story.

When encountering a problem, how do you turn simple stories into a worldwide success? It was precisely in solving this issue that Pixar demonstrates the power of feedback .

A group specialized in constructive feedback was created. They were responsible for simulating the critical audience and bringing to the director options that would make the film much more attractive.

Interesting, no? Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar, talks all about how this feedback team works in his book “ Creativity, Inc ”, in Chapter 5, titled “Honesty and Sincerity”.

“During those nine months in 1999, when we were racing to restart this broken movie [Toy Story 2], the Braintrust would evolve into an extremely beneficial and efficient entity. Even in the first few meetings, I was impressed by how constructive the feedback was.

Each of the participants focused on the film at hand rather than a hidden personal agenda. They discussed—sometimes heatedly—but always about the project. They weren’t motivated by the sort of thing—getting credit for an idea, pleasing their supervisors, earning a point just for saying yes—that often lurk beneath the surface of work-related interactions. 

The members saw each other as colleagues. The passion expressed at a Braintrust meeting was never taken personally, because everyone knew it was problem-solving. And largely because of that trust and mutual respect, their problem-solving powers were immense.”

Ed Catmull

He talks very well about how a well-structured feedback system can be important for the team to achieve maximum quality on any project they are working on.

After this example, there is no need to talk more about the importance of feedback for your company, right?

How important is feedback to managers?

A manager’s job is to “create a fertile environment, keep it healthy, and be on the lookout for anything that puts you at risk.”

This definition of the work of Catmull, the author we talked about above, also reveals the role of feedback for managers.

Feedback is the only way to shape the organizational climatestimulate employees’ strengths and even correct areas for improvement . Thus, the benefits for management are:

  • know the strengths of the team and seek to improve them;
  • transform weaknesses into learning and devise strategies to neutralize them;
  • increase motivation, as it becomes clear which direction everyone should follow;
  • encourage team confidence and productivity;
  • bring a sense of horizontality to management;
  • improves employee well-being, etc.

How important is feedback to employees?

Feedback offers employees the opportunity to develop new skills, whether technical or personal, aiming at their good performance within the company.

For this to happen effectively, communication must be done clearly and precisely, preferably with a certain frequency.

In this way, employees tend to be more engaged, forming high-performance teams .

Can feedback help the organization grow?

The growth and development of a company are intrinsically related to the good performance of individual employees and teams.

It’s no secret that a collaborative culture brings with it countless gains for the entire company.

However, promoting this environment involves mapping employee behaviors and understanding how to help them improve.

So far we’ve talked a lot about feedback to build an organizational culture.

But, through this tool, it is possible to improve the products or services offered by the company itself. For that, we need to listen to customers .

More and more organizations are understanding the importance of listening to their customers and considering their feedback to develop improvements in processes and products.

An excellent way to measure this is through the NPS — Net Promoter Score, a tool that shows the degree of customer satisfaction and, consequently, where your company needs to improve.

Through the implementation of NPS, it is possible to predict and decrease the churn rate .

In addition, internal feedback positively impacts the customer experience, as receiving a note from a leader or colleague can help the individual to improve their techniques and offer a much more accurate service. In the end, everyone wins.

What are the types of feedback?

Feedback is science, that is, it is possible to take different paths and end up in the same place: a clear and constructive message.

For this, however, it is necessary to analyze the situation and choose which type of approach will be necessary and more effective to improve or improve the behavior of an individual.

See, below, some types of feedbacks and when they will be best applied.

positive feedback

This type of feedback has a single purpose: to bring out the qualities of the individual that are making him stand out in the company.

Through this positive feedback, the manager not only motivates the professional but also makes clear the behavior that is considered excellent in the work environment.

Over time, the person becomes more engaged and brings results beyond expectations, because he knows he is going the right way.

negative feedback

There is also the other side of the coin, when the manager must give negative feedback to his employees.

At this point, it is important that the feedback is individual and discreet, so that the situation is not vexatious and embarrass the person involved.

Whether to align the goals and objectives that the employee will need to fulfill in order to have the desired performance or even to correct some posture, it is important that the criticism allows for an evolution .

Here it is especially important to agree with the individual what changes are expected and how much he will commit to improving his attitudes.

For those who arrive late every day, the feedback might go like this: “I noticed you were late three times this week. Did something happen? I ask because I was worried, I didn’t receive any kind of warning and that ended up impacting the team that needed you to start doing certain work”.

constructive feedback

Constructive feedback occupies a neutral area when talking about the tone of the conversation. It works as follows: the manager recognizes a positive point in the employee, however, it can still be improved.

In this way, the meeting aims to give the employee the tools he needs to reach even higher levels within the company, evolving and stimulating everyone around him.

Here, it is important to take into account that nothing will ever be perfect, everything can be improved and developed. A goal only allows the birth of a new goal.

offensive feedback

This model is the complete opposite of constructive feedback. It is usually offered in times of stress, when the person is hot-headed and cannot properly formulate what needs to be said.

In addition to not contributing to personal growth, it is highly harmful to the emotional state of the recipient. So never give feedback when you’re on the edge, wait for the feelings to calm down.

personal feedback

The name can be misinterpreted, however, all previous examples are contained in this form of feedback. This is because its main characteristic is instantaneity.

Personal feedback is given exactly after a certain attitude or behavior, allowing the situation to be clarified and misunderstandings avoided.

This is an individualized assessment – ​​and not made for the entire sector – and can happen for a variety of reasons, such as above-average or below-average productivity.

insignificant feedback

This type of feedback is usually generic, poor in arguments and, as a result, contributes little or nothing to the employee’s growth.

An important part of providing feedback to someone is being able to help that person understand their behaviors and develop.

Therefore, be very careful that your feedback does not become insignificant.

What are the best practices for giving and receiving feedback?

Being something so important, it’s clear that feedback shouldn’t be done anyway, right?

Well, with that in mind, numerous methodologies have been developed for the best application of this strategy .

Temporality

Something important here is the time factor, that is, feedback is more efficient when offered soon after the event .

That’s because the situation is still very vivid in the minds of everyone involved.

However, you need to be careful and analyze each situation separately. Giving feedback in a hurry, in the heat of the moment, can lead to more deadlocks.

It is good to allow time for the situation to be digested by everyone and, with that, to avoid a second discussion on the subject.

Emotional intelligence

Likewise, the manager or colleague providing the feedback must be emotionally prepared to do it properly and get right to the point.

Trying to mask the intensity of the situation with praise only increases the anticipation for criticism .

Purpose

Feedback can easily be seen as pointless criticism by those receiving the intervention. This makes the whole purpose of that moment fall to the ground.

In this way, it is important to build a beneficial and non-punitive image in the company where the tool will be implemented.

And this is one of the main challenges for those in charge of organizational culture .

It is necessary that this is seen as a time of opportunity and personal and professional development.

These meetings are not held by people who want to impose certain standards of behavior, but rather organize so that all individuals have the maximum well-being in the work environment.

Empathy

Receiving criticism can be very difficult for some, even if it is constructive. Therefore, it is important to take due care to convey the message you want without leaving room for interpretation.

In addition to mediating interpersonal relationships, feedback will also demand and point out paths to greater productivity.

This meeting is an ideal time to forge relationships and build trust among colleagues .

Some of the attitudes expected of a person receiving feedback are as follows:

  • genuine effort to put oneself in the other’s shoes;
  • not cling to a single perspective of the situation;
  • active listening, as the individual needs to understand the effect of their attitudes;
  • seek to implement constructive changes in their behavior;
  • discuss the matter if you disagree with something that has been brought up.

How to structure feedback?

Now that you know what feedback is, it’s time for us to show you the best ways to give someone a note.

Before continuing, it is important to make it clear that this is a two-way street, that is, the employee and the manager must participate in the process and give their opinion on the matter.

According to the Harvard Business Review article , feedback is made up of four steps: context, behavior, impact, and expectation. Below, we will talk about each of them.

Always bring context

For the best use of this moment, it is important that the individual providing the feedback clarifies the situation that generated this need. 

  • “At such a time you did or said such a thing.”
  • “We noticed that you raised your voice to such a person in such a situation.”
  • “Your review is the best in the company, we want to understand what you do.”

Properly situating the circumstance that motivated the feedback is crucial for the person to be able to locate the event in question in their memory.

describe the behavior

Perhaps this is the step that requires the most care and empathy. Here, it should be made clear that the feedback is about a specific behavior, not about that person’s personality and demeanor.

At this stage, then, it is necessary to describe the behavior triggered by the context described above.

Show the impacts of attitudes

After talking about the situation, it should be made clear to what extent that behavior impacts people and the team and what its consequences are.

In this way, it is possible for the employee to reflect on his attitudes, even if he is skeptical and defensive about the purpose of the meeting.

Finally, clarify expectations

Every intervention should have a purpose , especially when it comes to constructive feedback.

It is necessary to close the meeting by showing possible solutions to prevent similar situations from happening again.

Making a kind of agreement with the worker, giving him clear directions of what is beneficial and what needs to be improved, will help him and show your concern for his development.

What precautions to take during a feedback?

There are many beneficial attitudes during feedback, however, in the same way, there are behaviors that will completely nullify the effect of a session like this. 

With that in mind, we list some attitudes to be aware of during a feedback meeting:

  • not base the feedback on the individual’s attitudes, but on the situation that motivated the behavior;
  • not speaking on behalf of other people;
  • not offering feedback on points to be improved in audiences;
  • never use jokes, because this can generate a dubious understanding and even offend;
  • don’t use a punitive tone.

These are just a few points that can be observed during placement in a feedback session. However, there are no secrets to a successful improvement meeting, just having an empathetic attitude towards the other person .

What are the 5 steps to good feedback?

We have prepared a very simple step-by-step guide on how to give good feedback without noise and with maximum effectiveness.

Of course, each case is unique, so it is possible to adapt this recipe according to each situation.

  1. Get ready in advance. If there are multiple points to be addressed, have an agenda prepared;
  2. break the ice and keep the atmosphere friendly;
  3. present the problem in a sincere, direct and empathic way;
  4. bring real and practical examples on the subject covered (whether it’s sales data or days in which there was inappropriate conduct);
  5. create a workable action plan together.

How does feedback help in evaluating performance? 

The main objective of performance evaluation is to measure the performance of each person on a team and monitor their development over time.

However, an accurate analysis of these numbers necessarily involves the feedback process.

Through both tools, management is able to identify positive points and areas for improvement, indicate ways to improve this aspect of employee behavior and measure their progress.

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