How to recognize achievements and give a fact-base feedback?

How can you clearly and sensitively inform a person about their strengths and weaknesses without destroying their motivation and relationships? CleverStaff, with the help of Tatiana Bykova, Founder of Bykova Recruitment Agency, prepared a joint guide on feedback in the company.

So, what could be worse than the absence of feedback – from colleagues, a manager, a subordinate? Probably only their incorrect, inadequate presentation, when the “recipient” feels nothing but resentment and their own inferiority. It is not even about motivation, the desire to work better. After all, feedback that does not look like manipulation and accusations, but rather drives, pushes, and encourages is art!

Types of feedback

What are the types of feedback? When and how to use them?

Tetiana Bykova: “To be honest, I am a straightforward person . If a recruiter works efficiently and fills vacancies in, I immediately give good feedback; when a recruiter underperforms, it is always easy to track, for example, by the number of resumes for consideration. There are only 2 types of feedback: positive and negative . But each one should lead to constructive feedback and ultimately produce results”.

There are several life hacks in this regard.

The positive feedback model is about inspiration. It is not about generalized “wow!”, “super-mega-cool”, and “awesome!” It is about working with facts and the habit (quite professional for a recruiter, by the way) of seeing actions that deserve praise. Therefore, when giving positive feedback,

  • focus on 1-2 specific points that impressed you the most in the person’s behavior or work. Meeting a deadline during a force majeure, working fruitfully with a difficult client, helping a neighboring department, etc.;
  • be sure to tell how the cool actions of your “hero” led to a cool team result. The person should feel that you clearly understand and personalize their contribution;
  • be really sincere – fair praise should not look like flattery;
  • …and after that you can exclaim “wow!”, “super-mega-cool”, and “awesome!”

The negative feedback model is about analyzing actions. And without emotional appeals, accusations, or public harassment. Of course, few people are happy to receive negative feedback, and this is natural. Therefore, when providing such feedback,

  • do not criticize an employee when colleagues or management are around;
  • use specific facts or situations, as well as their consequences, rather than general ones, as arguments;
  • be prepared for different reactions to criticism; give the person time to think it over;
  • after a pause, discuss the action map together – how to overcome the problem, what measures to take.

When and how often should feedback be given?

Tetiana Bykova: “Depending on the situation, I am always in favor of constant transparent communication and trust in the team. Usually, feedback is given at face-to-face meetings that take place during the trial period and then periodically, depending on the company’s standards”.

How the “sandwich” makes feedback constructive

In any case, feedback should be constructive. Namely, it should combine praise and recognition of achievements, and, if necessary, reasoned criticism to work out “problem areas”.

Therefore, you can use the principle of… a “sandwich” – “positive-negative-positive”. First, we praise the person and his or her achievements, then we point out weaknesses, offer improvements/assistance if necessary, and finally we praise him or her again for his or her professionalism. This way, the person will have a pleasant or at least neutral impression, as well as an understanding of what needs to be changed and how.

The main advantage of the “sandwich” is that the person does not immediately resist criticism, as there is more praise.

The principles of constructive feedback can also be borrowed from the GROW model in coaching, where

  • You need to find out what goals the employee has set for himself/herself.
  • Whether the goal was achieved, satisfaction with the results from 0 to 10.
  • What options were there, what would experienced professionals do in this situation.
  • What the person will change next time to achieve the goal, how they will move forward.

A calm, balanced discussion of these stages will help a person to analyze the situation on their own and come to a conclusion about what needs to be improved.

What should feedback be like?

How can we wisely and ethically recognize the qualitative achievements of the team as a whole and of each individual?

Tetiana Bykova: “If it is a general meeting, we summarize the team’s work and focus on the collective result first. And if it is good, then, of course, it is a reason to be proud. Therefore, we recognize the results of each team member, most often for the main successes in recruiting – the number of closed vacancies and the results of each month. You need to praise the team, tell them how great they are, that they have achieved such results together, that you, as a manager, are proud of them and their achievements”.


Feedback will help an employee improve his/her performance if:

Management provides it regularly. According to the Harvard Business Review, if it happens once a year, top managers pay much more attention to the last two months of work than to the entire year. And if employees receive regular feedback, they begin to perceive praise and criticism as something routine and familiar, and feel more relaxed.

There is confidentiality, dialog, and empathy. It should be borne in mind that some people even prefer to receive praise in private, because they do not want to be in the spotlight. In the case of criticism, give the person an opportunity to comment on the result, explain their actions, and listen. Do not use labels such as “you are lazy”, “incapable”, “If I were you”, etc. Talk about the specific situation and your reaction to it, not the person.

Why is adequate feedback beneficial?

  • Productivity improvement. Positive feedback increases employee productivity by 50% and business results by 20%. It also reduces stress and promotes trusting relationships in the team.
  • Risk management. According to Gallup, 70% of employees do not receive enough feedback from management, which makes them feel alienated and lose engagement. This costs companies up to 550 billion US dollars a year.
  • Reduced turnover. 24% of employees would quit if they did not receive feedback from management.
  • Increase in profits. According to LinkedIn, companies that regularly provided feedback to employees saw an 8.9% increase in profits.

How do you give feedback to a colleague, subordinate, or manager? After all, we are talking about different levels of communication and relationships.

Tetiana Bykova: “Regarding a colleague, feedback should be in the format of a friendly advice, while feedback to a subordinate is more formal. It is always better to start with positive moments, and then move on to what the subordinate needs to improve in their work; and be sure to provide timings when you are actually waiting for that improvement. As for giving feedback to the manager, this is a very delicate point. The main thing is to do it when the manager asks about how they are working with them. In a different format, if a person is not satisfied with interaction with the manager, or if the manager’s behavior is unacceptable to him or her, then give feedback at a face-to-face meeting. Usually, at these meetings, the manager asks if everything is okay with the cooperation, if there are any comments or suggestions. And that is when you can tell them correctly what exactly does not work for you in communication or other things”.

As you can see, clear feedback is a free but effective tool for development, avoiding mistakes, and separating emotions from facts. The most important thing is that after the conversation, an action plan is formed to improve the work or correct the situation. That is why Tetiana strongly recommends making high-quality feedback sessions a good tradition of the team.

Feedback to yourself

You must admit that we accept feedback from those we trust. Therefore, we need to work on the moral right and ability to influence others (whether they are colleagues, subordinates, or bosses).

For example, before giving feedback to a colleague, give it to yourself first. Ask yourself – I want to tell the person about this… to do what? If it is about work, development is fine. If it is about letting off steam, there will be no constructive feedback.

After all, we take a lot of information from intonation, facial expressions, and gestures. Even the smartest feedback you give when you are irritated will not be perceived rationally.

By the way, the main practical tips on how to give and receive feedback wisely were collected by Mariia Aloshyna, a teacher of the IT Recruiter course at the international training center for IT specialists DAN IT.

And finally

According to Tetiana Bykova, the topic of candidate feedback remains hot. It is unprofessional to talk about how it is not a recruiter’s job, there’s no time, there are many candidates.

Tatiana Bykova: “All these candidates who did not receive feedback from the recruiter will remember both the recruiter and the company and simply will not cooperate in the future. A recruiter’s brand is worth a lot, you can destroy your reputation quickly, and it will take years to restore it”.

We will discuss in more detail why, despite professional ethics and proven necessity, recruiter’s feedback to a candidate remains a problem and a cause for discussion in the next article.