Managing workplace feedback: What are the best feedback methods?

Did you know that 60% of employees reported wanting feedback daily or weekly? Managing workplace feedback is vital, as it can help employees improve their performance, learn new skills, and achieve their goals. 

However, not all feedback is created equal. Some feedback methods are more effective than others, depending on the context, the purpose, and the recipient of the input. 

This blog post will explore the best feedback methods for different situations and how to use them to foster a positive feedback culture in your organization. 

 What is feedback, and why is it Important? 

 Feedback is any information that helps someone understand how they are doing in relation to a standard or a goal. It can be good or bad, formal or casual, asked for or not, clear or vague. 

 Feedback matters because it: 

  • Provides guidance and direction for improvement
  • Motivates and encourages employees to perform better 
  • Recognizes and rewards achievements and strengths
  • Builds trust and rapport between managers and employees
  • Enhances learning and development
  • Aligns expectations and objectives
  • Increases employee engagement and satisfaction. 

 But feedback in the workplace can also hurt if it is done poorly, such as: 

  • Lowering self-esteem and confidence 
  • Discouragement and loss of employee motivation 
  • Causing conflict and anger 
  • Reducing productivity and performance 
  • Breaking trust and communication 

 So, choosing the right feedback method for each case and giving it in a helpful way is very important. 

Different feedback methods to know  

 There are various feedback methods that you can use to manage workplace feedback effectively. Let’s explore some of them: 

Informal feedback 

Informal feedback is often spontaneous and unplanned, making dealing with change in the workplace more accessible. It can occur during a conversation with an employee or in response to a specific situation. Informal feedback is a valuable tool for managers to provide immediate feedback to help employees improve their performance. 

For example, if you notice that an employee has done a great job on a task, you can give them informal feedback by saying something like, “Great work on that report! I liked how you organized the data and presented your findings.” This type of feedback can boost an employee’s confidence and motivation. 

 However, informal feedback should not be used for negative or constructive feedback. This can come across as harsh or unfair and may damage the employee’s trust and morale. Instead, negative or constructive feedback should be given in a formal setting where both parties can discuss the issue calmly and respectfully. 

 Formal feedback 

Formal feedback is typically scheduled and involves a structured approach. This type of feedback often occurs during performance reviews or when an employee has completed a project. 

Formal feedback allows managers to provide comprehensive feedback on an employee’s performance. It also lets you set new goals and expectations for them. 

 For example, if you want to give formal feedback to an employee who has finished a project, you can schedule a meeting with them. You can review their work and give them specific praise and suggestions for improvement. You can also talk about what they should do next. 

But formal feedback should not be the only feedback you give. It can make employees feel nervous or unhappy about their work. Consider giving informal feedback often to support and reward them. 

Peer feedback 

Peer feedback is when co-workers share their opinions on a colleague’s work. It can help managers learn more about how you do your job from different views. 

For example, if you want peer feedback on how you work with others, you can ask your teammates to answer some questions or tell you what they think. You can also talk to your co-workers and give them peer feedback yourself. 

However, peer feedback should not be used as a substitute for managerial feedback. This can create confusion or conflict among employees and undermine your administrative authority. Instead, peer feedback should add more information and views to manager feedback. 

360-degree feedback 

360-degree feedback is the most comprehensive feedback method. It involves collecting input from multiple sources, including managers, peers, subordinates, and clients. It provides a holistic view of an employee’s performance and can help identify areas for improvement. 

Let’s say you want to know how good a leader is. You can ask people who work with them at different levels to rate them on various aspects of leadership. 

 You can ask how they communicate, make decisions, and delegate tasks. Next, compile the results and share them with the employee, along with your observations and recommendations. 

 However, 360-degree feedback should only be used with proper preparation and follow-up. This can overwhelm or discourage employees who receive less or more information. 

Top tip:  

Use the Strengthscope360™ feedback assessment tool with your people to adopt a healthy, positive outlook on feedback.   

 Strengthscope360™ is the world’s first 360-degree strengths profiler. It is an online, self-serve tool that is a simple way to gather feedback from up to 15 raters. It measures the effective use of the individual’s significant 7 strengths through feedback with rich qualitative and quantitative data.  

 The assessment is also repeatable, with collected ratings that can benchmark performance improvements over time. 

 Sandwich method 

It’s important to provide negative feedback in a constructive and motivational manner to embrace change in the workplace. This is where the sandwich method comes in. It involves giving negative feedback that does not hurt someone’s feelings or lower their motivation. 

 It does this by surrounding the negative feedback with two pieces of positive feedback. The idea is to create a balance between pointing out what needs to be improved and acknowledging what has been done well. 

 For example, you might tell an employee: “You did a fantastic job dealing with that tough client yesterday. You showed professionalism and courtesy throughout the conversation. I appreciate your efforts. However, you missed one thing: following up with them after the call as per our protocol…” 

 The Feedback Wrap 

The Feedback Wrap is a technique developed by Management 3.0 that aims to make feedback more actionable, positive, and timely. It consists of five steps: 

  • Describe your context: Explain why you are giving feedback and what your intentions are. 
  • Share your observations: Describe what you saw or heard without making judgments or assumptions. 
  • Express your emotions: Explain your feelings about the situation without blaming or accusing. 
  • Sort by value: Highlight what was valuable or beneficial about the behaviour or outcome. 
  • End with suggestions: Offer specific advice on how to improve or maintain the performance. 

Strengthscope makes managing workplace feedback easy

Managing workplace feedback effectively helps your company grow and reach its goals. But the delivery needs to be effective. 

At Strengthscope, we focus on positive psychology to enable our users to bring their best selves to work every day. Chat with us now to discover our people-focused online development tools.