Feedback discussions need not be painful – use the easy 3:1 ratio (HR)

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The myths about feedback sessions:

  • There is a problem – you!
  • HR said I must.
  • It only takes place twice a year (Half year & end-of-the-year).
  • There’s no time for feedback – I’m too busy!

The truth about feedback sessions

  • The intent of feedback is to help the individual grow (job/career/life).
  • When the receiver of feedback walk away from the discussion, he/she need to feel strong.
  • The feedback must be balanced (3 positives: 1 negative & focused on how, what & when)
  • The strong performers also want feedback.

A great formula for giving feedback – the 3:1 ratio:

  • A good place to start is with 3 positives (strengths/attributes) that you have observed – This helps the individual feel that he/she makes a contribution and that their good qualities does not go unnoticed. It helps to build-on in the discussion.
  • Only provide 1 negative or development area that you would like the individual to improve on. If there is more than 1 aspect – please group them and focus only on the one thing he/she could improve on that will help him or her lift their overall performance. Seriously – you will have other feedback discussions – you don’t need to go through a list in one session.
  • How, what & when. Both the receiver and giver need to brainstorm options as to what could assist the individual to improve his/her performance. Both need to select and agree on the best option that could work. Remember to review this in the next session.

I have found that as human beings this formula helps to have a balanced view on yourself and to grow on your strengths rather than focus on everything that’s wrong with you. It helps individuals know what they are good at and what the one thing is; that they need to work on. Plus they are very clear on what they could do to improve this one area of development. They don’t feel helpless or hopeless.

The feedback is based on observations/examples/facts – and is provided timeously. Not when it is too late or very difficult to fix.

Consistent performance feedback; lifts the spirits of the staff members and consistently raises the performance levels of your organization.

Strong performers love getting feedback too. When we don’t bother because we think, we don’t have to worry about them – think again. Often they are your talent bench and if you nurture them with balanced feedback (3:1 ratio) & your time; their performance goes from good to exceptional in a short space of time.

What about the struggling performers – where you struggle to find any positives except for their smile and the way they dress? Well review your recruitment process – you may have gone against your recruitment principles. You may have to explore other more suitable roles. In this case your HR will provide you with the best solutions/process to follow.

The most of what I wanted to share with you – is that performance discussions need not be painful and I guarantee it will increase the output levels of your organization and will uplift your staff meaningfully and positively. When they feel you care about their growth, they will not only go the distance but the performance of your organization will reach new heights. Feedback though must be provided consistently!

If no one makes the time – you-will-get-what-you-get.

Also remember record keeping is more than good governance, it helps you to remember and stay focused on the development plan or adjustments that may or may not be needed.

To all line managers and HR Professionals – I’m sure this is nothing new and as always the trick is just to do it. I hope the reminder is helpful.

With love & light


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