Guest Post – Giving Feedback

Guest post on Giving Feedback by Jon Windust.

I was delighted when Gordon asked me whether I’d be interested in penning a short follow-up to “Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions!”

Better workplace feedback is one of my real passions, and a space that we’ve done a lot of research in on my blog at Cognology over the first half of 2015.

Here’s three of the most interesting research findings that we’ve discovered on better feedback this year:

Most employees want more feedback, but hate delivering it

The visual below shows that most employees like receiving feedback (especially of the constructive variety). However, these same employees tend to dislike giving feedback (especially when it’s negative).



As a result, teaching your employees how to receive feedback (as Gordon suggested last week) has a critical role in reducing the barriers to a free flow of feedback in the organization.

There’s no such thing as valuable feedback from someone you don’t trust

When receiving feedback, employees don’t separate the content of feedback from the person who is delivering it. Put simply, there’s no such thing as valuable feedback from someone whom you don’t trust.

Before any feedback will be effective in improving performance, the recipient must see you as a credible source of development advice with their interests at heart. If not, your feedback won’t be effective in driving behavioural change – no matter how well intentioned it is.

You can read more about the underlying research here.

The average frequency of feedback is rapidly increasing across the market 

Over 250 businesses in Asia Pacific use Cognology’s performance management system. So by using aggregated data, we can get a pretty good feel for how performance management behaviours (including feedback) are changing over time.

When we look at this aggregated data, the amount of feedback delivered continues to rise. Over the past three years, we’ve seen the number of feedback events in our top performing clients increase per annum by nearly three times, that means from three feedback events three years ago, to nine feedback events this year.

Following from the software development methodology, these top performing business are running what’s effectively an ‘agile performance management’ process of ongoing feedback and development.

 Understand the trends, but there’s no one size fits all model for feedback

As I say to our clients, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ model for feedback. You must use good judgment in understanding what the feedback requirements of your employees are.

If in doubt, the easiest way to understand whether your employees want more or less feedback is to simply ask them. In a healthy organization, most employees will be very honest in the ways you can help to improve their performance.


Jon Windust is the CEO at Cognology – A performance management system designed for the future of work.
Over 250 Australian businesses use Cognology to power cutting-edge performance management. You can sign-up to receive the Cognology weekly newsletter on new thinking in talent management.