Meaningful Feedback

Morgan was perplexed, “Okay, so if I set the form aside. And if I buy into the conversation-is-the-relationship, where do I start?”

“Morgan, let’s go back to purpose. What is the purpose of the performance review in the first place?” I asked.

Morgan held his head in both hands, thinking. So many misconceptions abound on the purpose of a performance review that he was temporarily paralyzed. Finally, he spoke. “The performance review should provide feedback to the team member on their performance.” He stopped, still confused. “But isn’t that what we have been doing all along?”

“Let me change a couple of words in your definition,” I replied. “The performance review should provide meaningful feedback to the team member for the purpose of improving their performance. The feedback has to be meaningful and for the purpose of changing their current behavior to more effective behavior.”

Most current performance appraisal systems provide feedback that is not meaningful and do very little to change behavior.

2 thoughts on “Meaningful Feedback

  1. Barry Linetsky

    Unfortunately, it seems most performance appraisals are done because there is a deadline to complete them rather than as a means to improve performance. You wonder how that can be left out when so many companies try to take seriously the notion that employees are their number one asset. Perhaps they need to integrate the importance of employee capability, values, skilled knowledge, motivation and performance, together with improving overall business performance both in terms of strategic and financial objectives. Your post is a good reminder that performance reviews should be done to serve a business purpose and are not an intrinsic value on their own.

  2. Cassandra Dore

    Performance reviews can be extremely helpful to an employee when the feedback comes from a place of care or concern. This aligns with the concept of meaningful feedback as it should be aiding the employee in making improvements. From a management perspective, meaningful feedback will help in the long run aside from meeting deadlines.


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