Feedback Sessions

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Feedback sessions are essential to discuss the status quo between employees and their superiors at regular intervals. In this way, it is determined whether both parties (still) agree on the work done, personal goals, responsibilities or the current status of projects. In many companies, feedback meetings take place at the end of the year. They are often obligatory and a central element of the respective personnel management, because only if employees receive regular feedback and are allowed to give it themselves, they can be optimally supported.

Despite their positive effect on performance and the working atmosphere, managers and employees in Germany often still encounter the feedback discussion with great uncertainty. To ensure that a feedback meeting is nevertheless a success, we have summarised the three most important points for a successful meeting:

Ideal timing:
Normally, feedback sessions take place on a regular basis. In most companies, an annual or semi-annual cycle has become established. But even after the completion of a major project or in an acute crisis situation, feedback meetings are a useful tool to keep employee satisfaction high. In addition, it is important that employees can also request talks in order to counteract possible problems in everyday work at an early stage. Regardless of which party requests a feedback meeting, it is important to schedule the meeting with some advance notice, about two to three weeks, so that all parties can prepare sufficiently. In addition, a feedback session should be scheduled for at least one hour to allow enough time and peace for the discussion. If feedback meetings are well prepared, they offer all participants the opportunity to openly exchange ideas in a calm, professional and safe setting – also about critical points of the cooperation.
However, this dialogue can only take place if both supervisors and employees have thought in advance about what they want to raise in the feedback or appraisal interview. If supervisors regard these discussions only as a chore and do not consider the performance of their employees in advance, they can neither assess it meaningfully nor recognise potential for optimisation. On the other hand, employees who only see themselves as passive listeners, who have to take criticism during the whole discussion and then go back to work frustrated and demotivated, are giving away a valuable opportunity to improve their daily work in the long term. And make it difficult for their supervisors to conduct a meaningful appraisal interview.

So: Well prepared is half the battle. Think about what you want to say – and write it down. Don’t talk shit about colleagues or other employees and leave private problems out of it. As an employee, communicate your professional goals and wishes and take them seriously as a supervisor. Criticise them politely and objectively and look together for ways to eliminate deficits, e.g. by attending training courses, adapting the scope of tasks or getting support from other professionals.

The procedure of the feedback session:
In order to facilitate the feedback meeting in the best possible way, it makes sense to follow a binding procedure. This can be applied to all feedback meetings and, once internalised, also helps in preparing the meetings. This ensures that no important points are forgotten and that the discussion time is used optimally.

A possible sequence could be, for example:

Phase 1 Analysis and feedback:
After the greeting, the supervisor and the employee assess the work performance since the last feedback meeting. Together they analyse whether goals have been achieved and possible points of criticism are addressed.

Phase 2 Planning and goals:
The supervisor and the employee discuss possible changes, plan (new) tasks and determine which goals are to be achieved by the next feedback meeting.
are to be achieved by the next feedback meeting.

Phase 3 Perspective and development:
The supervisor and the employee work out career perspectives together. Personal wishes and development options are included. In this phase, concrete possibilities for further training can also be discussed.


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D – 80337 Munich
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