Annual Review v Continuous Feedback – solving the riddle


Annual reviews are less helpful than continuous feedback according to a recent study by Rice University.

Researchers found that this is particularly true if the manager has little day to day contact with that particular member of staff.

Its findings also highlighted the likelihood of employees being given a higher rating than they deserve for fear of demotivating the employee.

Critical success factors for successful feedback were highlighted as follows:

  • Knowledge of job holders responsibilities
  • Quality of feedback (specific information)
  • Delivery style (consideration for the recipient)

Whilst these findings may seem fairly unsurprising, the skill of giving feedback is a critical one if managers are to build effective relationships and develop their team.

Key points for giving feedback:

  1. Be clear about what you want to say in advance. Be clear about the context of the conversation
  • Start with the end in mind
  • Be clear about what the recipient needs to know and what actions they need to take
  1. Ask questions to gain the recipients perspective
  • Use conversation starters such ‘How did you find it…
  • Move from the generic to the specific ‘I just wanted to talk about this particular area, can you tell me your thinking….
  • If the recipient does not respond to questions, then…
  1. State clearly what the issue is, and what is needed to rectify it
  • Be descriptive rather than evaluative in the language you use
  1. Give feedback on behaviour not attitude
  • ‘I noticed you were late this morning’ rather than ‘You have a poor attitude on timekeeping’ is less confrontational and factual so is more difficult for the recipient to argue with
  1. Ensure positive feedback is given regularly and equally as constructively to ensure regular feedback becomes the norm not the exception

Considering these issues when giving feedback will make feedback constructive and useful for both parties