Feedback: The Value of Constructive Critique

Debra Chantry Taylor

Feedback is not just a fleeting aspect of an organisation’s culture; it’s the lifeblood that can determine its success or failure. However, feedback, when mismanaged, can have detrimental effects on employee morale and organisational performance, so it’s worth understanding its potential and beginning to explore what works.

What value does effective feedback deliver to an organisation?

1. Productivity

 A study by Harvard Business Review found that 72% of employees believe their performance would improve with constructive feedback 1 . Productive employees means increased profitability and growth.

2. Talent retention

Research by Gallup found that those who received feedback had turnover rates that were 14.9% lower than for employees who received no feedback 2 . Retaining top talent is a critical factor in an organisation’s success. Feedback enables this.

3. Innovation and troubleshooting Effective feedback fosters innovation.

A study by Paul Paulus and Bernard Nijstad published in the “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin” found that constructive feedback can enhance creative thinking and idea generation.

4. Development

Feedback is an essential component of personal and professional growth. When employees receive consistent feedback, it helps them understand their strengths and areas for improvement and where to focus their development resources

5. Improved communication

A culture of open feedback enhances communication within the organisation. Employees become more comfortable discussing their ideas, concerns, and challenges, leading to better collaboration.

So what does good feedback look like?

There are a number of useful feedback models that communication researchers, scientists and practitioners have ‘coded’ and developed in recent decades. They vary in nature, how they flow and how easily they are learned and deployed. A few popular and impactful feedback models include:

+ 360-degree feedback: Collects feedback from multiple sources, including peers, managers, and subordinates.

+ Radical candour: Encourages honest, direct, and empathetic feedback to build strong relationships – Care personally, then challenge directly. This is conceptual in nature.

+ SBI (Situation, Behavior, Impact): A step-by-step guide to providing feedback by addressing specific situations, behaviours, and their impact on individuals or teams.

+ STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result): A step-by-step guide, effective for performance appraisal, it assesses an employee’s specific tasks, actions, and results.

+ R2C2: An evidence-based conceptual model for providing assessment feedback over four phases: (1) relationship building, (2) exploring reactions to the feedback, (3) exploring understanding of feedback content, and (4) coaching for performance change.

+ AID (Action, Impact, Do Differently): A step-by-step guide that encourages employees to take specific actions to improve their performance.

Each of these have their own rationale, and take a little bit of digging into, to grasp and then learn how to use them and where and when it is appropriate to use them. Talk to us if you want to explore any of these in more detail.

Feedback is not just a formality in our working world; we believe it is a fundamental bedrock of any thriving and innovative organisation.

Leaders are responsible for activating a culture of feedback. Harnessing the power of feedback can increase individual performance and encourage a culture of productive communication, professional growth, and organisational success.



At Harrowfield People Development, we help leaders who are unsure how to grow the people they want to hold on to.

Lots of our work is in-depth, 1-1 and strategic. Our core disciplines are organisational and behavioural psychology, we specialise in people skills/capability. We use training, coaching and assessment to create self awareness and unlock new ways of thinking, communicating and behaving in the workplace. We also love working with teams and leadership squads to encourage workplace behaviour that brings out the best in everyone and tangible results for the organisation.

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