4 Types of Feedback to Expect in the Workplace

May 1, 2020
4 Min Read
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Receiving feedback is the most valuable information you can get for your professional development. Getting feedback is like mining for gold. Once you receive it, you've struck the mother lode!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it, let's get comfortable with the types of feedback to expect. And, yes there's more than just one type. In fact, you'll encounter feedback that will vary from sources to tone to quality. And it's important to seek out all types of feedback. So, let's start learning!

Sources of feedback

There are 4 main types of feedback sources. While they all share a similar mission to provide effective feedback, each group brings a fresh perspective to the table.

Peer-to-peer feedback

This type of feedback relies on your co-workers. Peer feedback comes at the advantage of getting immediate feedback with accurate and actionable insight from colleagues that are working closely with you. They are aware of your day-to-day tasks and obstacles.

It is because of this up-close interaction, your peers can provide in-depth, detailed feedback compared to your manager that catches a bird's-eye view of your performance.

Your colleagues are great source of feedback. They have insight on your day-to-day tasks and can help you uncover your blind spots (Courtesy of Dribbble)

Client-to-freelancer feedback

You don't have to be working in a traditional corporate setup to get feedback. Freelancers are self-employed and tend to work for various companies. This gives them the opportunity to gather feedback from all these voices to sharpen their behavior.

However, their nomadic work life often leads to fleeting feedback opportunities as they jump from one project to the next. Freelancers juggling multiple projects may feel the pressure and urgency to move through task quickly leaving no time for feedback. This can hinder a freelancer's professional development. As a freelancer, it is critical to ask for customer feedback every time!

Employee feedback

The second type of feedback you will encounter is employee feedback. It's the process of receiving feedback from managers or leadership on your work performance.

Employee feedback tends to follow a path of checks and balances that include annual performance reviews, peer surveys, and 360-degree feedback. This type of feedback from leadership creates a higher level of visibility which can lead to promotions, bonuses, and recognition within your team.

Each type of feedback brings a fresh perspective to the process as whole. Remember: Feedback is the most valuable intel you can receive about yourself! (Courtesy of Dribbble)

Tones of feedback

Believe it or not, feedback has a tone. There are two types: informal and formal. Informal feedback looks like Matter. We provide a tool where peers can send each other casual praises or feedback on professional blind spots. Formal feedback follows more traditional mechanisms like annual performance reviews. While each tone has its advantages and disadvantages, you should expect to see both in the workplace.

Informal feedback

Also known as impromptu feedback, can happen spontaneously. Informal feedback happens in the spur of the moment and in casual settings. It doesn't follow a set schedule with structure. Sometimes informal feedback can happen while walking down the hall, in the break room, or even at a water cooler.

This ad-hoc communication is not limited. Informal feedback can be communicated between colleagues, managers, or other teams - just about anyone. Some examples of informal feedback include:

  • Giving praise
  • Suggesting a quick change
  • Being radically candor

There's less pressure when it comes to informal feedback. Knowing in advance may build up anxiety, but due to informal feedback's spontaneous nature, those feelings don't have a chance to rise. However, since it can happen at any time, there's no time for preparation.

Peer feedback comes at the advantage of getting actionable insight from colleagues that see you in action on the daily (Courtesy of Dribbble)

Formal feedback

Also categorized as constructive feedback, this type of feedback focuses on information-based observations. Formal feedback usually includes work performance documentation, an overview of project results, and peer surveys. Formal feedback involves managers and leadership.

Formal feedback has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you know when your performance review is coming up, you have time to prepare, tie up loose ends, and showcase your best work. However, it can put a lot of pressure you. With so many people involved, it feels like you're being watched under a microscope. Examples of formal feedback look like:

  • Annual performance reviews
  • Evaluation scores
  • Human resource reports
  • Peer surveys

Quality of feedback

In another breakdown of feedback, let's explore the type of quality of feedback to expect in the workplace. While there are many feedback qualities, we'll be focusing on constructive, positive, and negative feedback.

Constructive feedback 🚧

Constructive feedback focuses on observations as opposed to giving praise or positive statements. This feedback is solely centered on providing numbers, trends, and facts to determine the professional's overall performance. It's about getting straight to the point.

Positive feedback 🙌

This type of feedback is often heard the most in the workplace. The quality of this feedback consists of praise, appreciation, and positive remarks. Professionals after receiving positive feedback tend to feel motivated and encouraged to tackle future projects.

Negative feedback ❌

The issue of negative feedback lies in the delivery. It points out the mistakes, asserts "you" statements, and criticizes the professionals. It's ineffective and can leave professionals feeling discouraged and attacked. If possible, avoid giving negative feedback.

Now you have a better sense of what kind of feedback it out there. You can expect in the cafeteria, hallway, or even after a presentation. It doesn't when or where you get it, all feedback is vital to your career.

Feedback delivery

The "last but not least" to consider with feedback is its delivery-- face-to-face or asynchronously.

Face-to-Face feedback

Face-to-face feedback can be given in person or on a call, but always happens with the giver and receiver in conversation. Studies show that feedback can be most effective given in the moment, but this is not always feasible-- particularly if your team is remote.

Asynchronous feedback

Simply put, asynchronous feedback is feedback sent in a message or note for the receiver to read at a later time. Asynchronous feedback can be sent via email, online form, using a feedback tool like Matter. Matter is an awesome choice for creating a feedback culture within Slack, leveling up your entire team!

So, what now? Well, buckle up because it's time to practice how to give feedback!

Make employee recognition & rewards fun with Matter!
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