How We Give Feedback

Feedback is one of the most important parts of our culture. We believe that through regular, open and constructive feedback we can grow and continuously improve. For us feedback is a positive, open environment where supervisor and employee can recap on their past work and focus on areas of improvement for their future performance whilst also working on the employees personal and professional growth.

Feedback sessions...

  • support the employees development
  • secure a regular check in
  • are a two way street. Employees not only receive feedback, but are also encouraged to give feedback

Three main types of feedback

Quarterly structured feedback

At every end of a quarter we have a structured feedback process for all employees. The supervisor schedules a 1h feedback session with the employee and sends a retro exercise to.  Using retro tools makes it easier to recap the past period. Thinking in pictures, or having specific questions to answer often help to reevaluate the past quarter rather than just asking “What was good? What was bad?”.  After the structured feedback sessions, the results are used to decide on goals for the employee’s future development.

Examples for retro tools:

EEG

Imagine that the past three months at cubemos are shown as the line on an EEG graph. Not in the medical sense, but more like a curve how you feel. Use a large white sheet of paper in landscape format to draw your EEG at cubemos. With the time axis going from left to right. The base line is the middle of the paper. Everything above it was especially good, everything below less so.

Consider the following questions when drawing the diagram:

  • Were there any high points? What was special about these high points? What made these times especially good?
  • Were there any low points? Was there a particular event during there low points? What could've prevented this low point?
  • Why does it go up one place and down another?
  • How will the line go in the near future?

Sailing Boat

Draw a sailing boat onto a pieve of paper. Give it a strong motor as well as a heavy anchor, a big sail and draw a windcloud behind the boat. Imagine that boat is your experience at cubemos in the past three months:

  • Motor: What kept you going forward?
  • Anchor: What hindered you in moving forward?
  • Wind: In the next three months, what could give you an extra push in your work?

1:1s

Besides the feedback process every three months, every employee has weekly or bi-weekly 1:1 with their supervisor. These 30min meetings secure a constant exchange between them. 1:1s are not necessarily about work, but also about the employee itself and how they are doing.

Instant Feedback

Our main goal is to establish and  keep up a prompt-feedback culture . That means that we encourage to give instant feedback when something went really good or really bad, we want to celebrate success together and appreciate team members or other colleagues publicly.

How to give feedback

Giving and receiving feedback sounds easier than it sometimes is. We provide our supervisors and team members with some information and guidelines for their feedback. On the one hand it is important to create a safe environment and to understand what feedback really means. On the other hand we provide information on how to actually give feedback

A safe feedback environment

Firstly, we believe that feedback should be given in a pleasant environment, a private quiet location where both parties can talk openly: This can be a meeting room, a cafe or a walk in the park. We further urge everyone not to use their laptops for the meeting, this helps to fully focus on the other person without any distractions.

Secondly, we make sure that everyone understands that feedback is not a one sided process. For us it is important that also the employee has the chance to feedback his/her supervisor. This also includes for example how the supervisor can help with the employees personal and professional development or with tasks in their daily work.  

Thirdly, it is important to understand that feedback is always subjective, one’s own point of view on a topic or behavior and not the absolute truth. The other party might have experienced a situation differently, with different emotions and reactions. It is vital to make sure that the feedback recipient is ok, for instance by paying attention to their reaction.

Giving feedback

In short: Feedback should be

  • given in a timely fashion
  • clear
  • specific
  • non-judgemental
  • actionable

First of all we encourage to give positive feedback in order to reinforce positive behavior. That means that the person that is giving feedback should look at what the person did well and how they can repeat and develop that. People primarily learn from positive feedback and by pointing out on what they did well, the feedback giver reinforces and underlines that strength.

Focusing on positive feedback does not mean one should neglect negative feedback, especially when it’s relevant! We sometimes tend to hold back on negative criticism because you like a person or are friends with them. But when a type of behavior should not be repeated, it is extremely important to point that out in a constructive manner. No one likes receiving criticism, therefore the person giving feedback should make a clear and specific statement about the situation or the negative behavior. Thereby one should focus on the work and not the person itself. Feedback that  is based on emotional reactions and judgements must be pointed out as such.

No matter what type of feedback is given and in what scope (i.e. structure, 1:1 or instant) there are four things to consider:

  • The feedback provider should be precise and specific
  • The feedback should be based on behavior, not a person. I.e.: “You do”, not “You are”
  • The feedback should be observable
  • Remember that personality traits can't be changed, only behavior can