Ongoing Feedback

By Tyler Jefford • November 18th 2020 • 2 min read

Many companies will have end of year reviews for all employees. Its a big production, getting self evaluations, peer reviews and manager reviews. Staple them up, submit to HR and wait for a couple weeks to actually chat about the feedback.

Feedback and reviews shouldn’t be a one time a year ordeal, and feedback should never be a surprise to folks at the end of the year when they are hearing about their overall performance for the year.

Feedback should be given as soon as possible to the good or bad thing that has happened. If the person has done an incredible job on something, they’ve gone above and beyond the expectations, then tell them how they did!

Take it a step further, how did their actions directly impact the project, the team or themselves? Give them feedback about what they did, how it affected the project, who it touched and if you can, how it ties to the career ladder and progression toward their promotion.

This can and should also be done for coaching moments. Sometimes an individual caused more churn, caused a blocker with other teams, or their attitude might make the team feel uncomfortable. These are moments where you should be as direct as possible, again telling the person how their actions are affecting themselves, the team and the delivery of the product or feature.

If I have feedback for someone and we don’t have a regular one-on-one coming up, I will request a time to provide new feedback to them.

Hey, I had some feedback about that last meeting I wanted to give you. Can we meet for 15 minutes?

Being busy

I am guilty of this, too. When you are busy, its sometimes not easy to give meaningful feedback. Maybe you haven’t collected it from others, or maybe you haven’t been as focused on things that can be improved. But its still important to give feedback, so try to find the time.

I feel like a failure when teammates are asking me for feedback. I should be providing them with feedback more often.

My Framework

I think the biggest thing I can do for people is to listen, ask pointed questions about how they are doing. Dig a little deeper into their answers.

I try to collect feedback in a less formal way from peers. Typically everyone wants everyone else to succeed in their work and life. Asking about a project or a ticket on our board that a person is assigned to, might prompt a quick note about that person and how they are doing.

Some times, especially when a teammate is doing really well, I get unsolicited emails, slack messages and call outs in meetings about how someone is performing. This is amazing to hear - and I always pass it on as soon as I can.

I keep notes on each of my reports, with a bunch of things that make sense to me - but some of this might include notes about improvements, goals and other personal information.

I take all this data and use it to talk in one-on-ones weekly. If there are items to talk through, good or bad, I will bring them up. Otherwise I will ask questions and dig - find ways to help guide, instead of coach.