Company News

What is the best way to give feedback?

Realm Digital 14 November 2016

Here at Realm, we believe in producing quality work, according to industry best-practices. In order to ensure we always achieve such a level of work, we place great value on developing our team’s capabilities. We spoke to Realm’s HR Manager, Marina Baptista, to unpack how we get the best out of our team through a well-structured and implemented feedback process.

In understanding our company culture, what have you discovered works best for our team?

With our team constantly communicating through various channels during the day, it is easy to build open and honest relationships with each other, and therefore informal feedback is something that happens between peers and managers without even trying.

At Realm, we place huge importance of acknowledging a job well done. Informal feedback is the best way to keep our employees engaged and invested in what they do and the business.

We also see negative feedback as an opportunity for constructive coaching, and we encourage our team to use these coaching sessions to enhance and develop themselves.

The trick is not to make it personal and to focus on the area in need of improvement so that we can all keep growing and excelling in our roles. This, we believe, is what we as a company need to do to ensure our employees have long and fruitful careers with us.

In your experience, what is the best approach in giving feedback to developers?

Developers, as we know, need to focus and are traditionally less communicative. At Realm, we make sure to employ Developers that suit our culture. Our Development Leads are 100% onboard with giving feedback to their team on an ongoing basis, and as a result, more junior developers have grown accustomed to receiving reassurance or constructive criticism.

Many companies are not aware of the damage it can cause to the employee/employer relationship when no feedback is given at all, whether positive or negative. Saying nothing is far worse.

What are your thoughts on continuous improvement vs. necessary interventions?

In order to prevent unfortunate surprises for both Realm and our employees, we believe in a constant flow of feedback using performance management tools, made up of informal feedback and the more formal review sessions. Conducting quarterly reviews means we can regularly monitor and evaluate the outcomes. Our informal feedback culture contributes to the performance in-between the quarterly reviews and together, this formulates an excellent professional relationship and basis on which to prevent future interventions.

What should be kept in mind when giving feedback?

  1. Respect the individual’s privacy
  2. Be specific
  3. Do not get personal
  4. Focus on aspects that can be changed
  5. Don’t overcomplicate feedback
  6. Give feedback as soon as possible
  7. Remember, it is not an ambush
  8. Allow time for the individual to process the feedback
  9. Show empathy
  10. Focus on a solution and way forward

While there is no cookie-cutter approach to giving feedback, we have found what is best suited to our company culture and what is most effective within our team, and we encourage you to do the same.