Wednesday 25 October 2017

#292 The benefits of feedback forms

Naomi had been sweet to fill out the survey I'd sent her. We'd not seen each other in two years. The questions numbered more than a dozen and required thought. Seventeen questions designed to establish what I was good at, not so good at, happiest doing, with whom and where. Her responses would form part of a collection from friends, family and former colleagues. People I liked, trusted and admired. The collection wasn't large. It didn't need to be.

I used to enjoy writing feedback on others at work. Certainly my colleagues were just as complex, important and some as challenging as the projects we worked on. What a well from which to draw feedback. You could stick a pen in my hand, lock me in a room for a day. I'd be completely happy writing appraisals. It took that long to do so. Careful evaluation of their behaviours and shortcomings. Examples. Suggestions.

One year, a partner advised us to keep the feedback short. I kept it short but wrote a side or two in my own time, then emailed it later on. The importance of letting those around me know what I appreciated was greater than whatever policy somebody had cooked up. Writing was my way to do it, I wasn't about to give out hugs.

Not everyone shared my enthusiasm for penning long feedback. There were ways around that. I used to say to my manager "I tell you what, I'll write it for you. Then you can read it and sign it off or make changes if you like". There were never any changes.

The idea with the surveys was to look for patterns. Commonalities across the forms that represented clear strengths perceived by those around me. Or any surprises. So far though, the answers were as expected. Save perhaps that my sister appeared to think me funnier than I thought she thought I was. It was early days though. I still had more forms to send out.


Audee said...

Being honest in giving feedback is more appreciated rather than saying: 'good', 'well done', etc :D
no matter how short the feedback is :)

Profound Familiarity said...

That's a good point Audee, thank you.

Fizzfan said...

OK, I’m not the best person to comment, but for me the best feedback is my manager saying “Everything OK?” and me saying “Yes” and them saying “Great, we’ll just have a nice chat then”.
Granted I’m not looking for promotion and I’m pretty conscientious, so assume they don’t have any problems with me, but I find the whole feedback thing an utter waste of time. I very much like my managers that agree:)

Profound Familiarity said...


Our review process had a three-month timetable. People had to be appointed to project-manage it. Feedback requests to no fewer than five colleagues (upward, downward and peer), drafting, review, approval, analysis, discussions, proposed ratings, moderation, final ratings, reward allocations.

Fizzfan said...

I’ve always thought that people that are seeking advancement or promotion probably really appreciate this approach. I know a lot of people that are happy as they are that have a very different view.
One question that seems to escape corporations is, do you want it and if you dont and we’re happy with your work, what’s the point?