What Are Feedback Frameworks and How Do They Work?

Michele Warg
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The performance reviews of the past may no longer be relevant for the modern-day workforce. Employees want quality feedback in a timely and constructive manner, which has led to the proliferation of feedback frameworks. These frameworks provide a formal structure for who is being evaluated, as well as why, how and when that evaluation occurs.

An analysis of the literature on feedback research published in the 2013 European Journal of Training and Development highlights the importance of effective evaluations, their positive impact on employee work performance, and how non-constructive feedback tends to be ignored. There are multiple feedback frameworks that a business can implement for employee performance reviews, but three of the most well-known are the Radical Candor Model, the Situation-Behavior-Impact Model and the 360 Degree Feedback Model.

Radical Candor Model

This feedback framework emphasizes directness, honesty and empathy, focusing on providing specific and timely feedback. Managers who use this model don't focus on the individual himself but rather on his behavior and actions. The Radical Candor Model is based on a coordinate system that combines personal care and direct challenge when giving feedback. To achieve radical candor, the feedback provider must hit a certain sweet spot. Otherwise, the feedback can easily slip into anything from "ruinous empathy" to "manipulative sincerity" and even "obnoxious aggression," all of which reflect a lack of challenge or care. Managers who use the Radical Candor Model must make sure the feedback comes across as helpful and kind, as opposed to brutally honest.

Situation-Behavior-Impact Model

Developed by the Center for Creative Leadership, this feedback framework focuses on giving feedback in specific situations or for specific behaviors, while describing how these behaviors affect others. With the SBI model, employees can understand exactly what their manager is trying to get across to them in terms of feedback. They can then reflect on how their actions affect others and what they need to do to change. A big part of this model is putting the feedback in context and then describing the impact on others with "I" statements.

360 Degree Feedback Model

The 360 Degree Feedback Model is one of the most well-known feedback frameworks and is designed to give the recipient a panoramic view of his performance. Feedback is obtained from multiple sources, such as supervisors, subordinates, customers and peers. This multi-rater feedback gives the employee multiple perspectives as to how his effectiveness in his many roles is perceived by others. The people who give the feedback are those the employee interacts with regularly and are chosen by the employee and the organization. A drawback of the 360 Degree Feedback Model is that employees may tend to pick those who are more likely to rate their performance positively, which may skew the feedback results.

Feedback frameworks are designed to provide feedback that is critical to an employee's success and work performance. The wrong kind of feedback is unproductive and does not help an employee grow in his role. The right type of feedback is timely, is constructive and helps an employee understand how his actions affect others and the success of the company.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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