8 Tips for Giving Great Peer Feedback (2022)

The last constructive criticism I received wasfrom my cat. After presenting her with the organic, gluten-free food that I'd spent arguably too much money on, she refused to eat it.

Can you believe that? Does she even care that I consulted blogs and veterinarians about the best diet to put her on?Unfortunately, we’re not great at communicating feedback to each other because we’re of different species.

Luckily, that’s not the case when giving feedback in the workplace. It’s easy to communicate criticism, but it’s not always easy to do it effectively. This can especially be the case when providing peer feedback, which is a trend that’s growingin different workplaces.

Part of assembling a great teammeans providing helpful feedback so they can grow, and peer-to-peer discussions of strengths and weaknesses is a way to round out the top-down feedback employees receive from their supervisors and glean a fuller picture of how they can improve. In this post, we’ll discuss why peer feedback matters and how to deliver it effectively.

Why Feedback Is Important

Feedbackis an important and necessary part of anyone’s career path, whether you’re in your first job out of college or have been a CEO for many years. Feedback from managers, peers, and reports is critical to identifying performance strengths and weaknesses. It provides employees opportunities for growth and education in their roles. What’s more, it often results in improved communication and better understanding of expectations between employees.

(Video) The secret to giving great feedback | The Way We Work, a TED series

You might think that employees dread giving or receiving feedback, especially if it’s negative, but that’s actually not the case. There are some surprising statistics about the importance of feedback to employees who receive it, especially if it’s negative:

Zenger/Folkman surveyednearly 1,000 employees, and 72% thought their performance would improve with the help of feedback. Additionally, 57% preferred corrective feedback over praise, and 92% of those surveyed agreed with the statement that negative feedback, when delivered correctly, is an effective way to improve performance.

It’s clear that negative feedbackis not only desired by employees, but it’s beneficial. So, now the question is how to deliver constructive feedback correctly so employees aren’t demotivated and discouraged by it. One answer to this question is the peer review, or the 360 review.

Peer reviews are designed to provide a broader picture of employees and how they work with others, not just their supervisors. They’re not intended to replace or contribute to regular performance reviews or salary negotiations.

Instead, they’re designed to help employees set goals related to interpersonal and professional skills in the workplace based on feedback managers and peers provide. The goal of peer reviewis to provide a clear picture of a team’s performance from the inside, out, and to create a team culture and spirit of positive reinforcement as well as constructive feedback from those who know the employee best.

To shed some light on ways to give feedback to your peers that’s helpful, actionable, and not uncomfortable, I’ve rounded up suggestions from my own peers and trusted leadership sources to get you started.

8 Tips for Giving Great Peer Feedback

1) Assume good intent.

This is good advice for anyone on the receiving end of constructive feedback, but it goes for those giving peer feedback as well. As uncomfortable as you might feel providing feedback to your peers, they want to hear from you: 76% of employees surveyedwere motivated by positive feedback from their peers.

I asked my colleague, HubSpot Marketing Director Rebecca Corliss, what advice she gives for providing great peer feedback.

“For those who feel uncomfortable giving feedback, I hear you. Especially if you don't want to hurt someone's feelings, it can be really difficult.” Corliss suggests that peer reviewers and feedback recipients view the comments as a gift. “If your feedback is shared constructively and with genuine care for the other person, you're doing it right.”

HubSpot Sales Blog Editor Leslie Yeechoed this sentiment. “Your peers are there to help you improve, not cut you down or make you feel bad,” Ye says. “Their feedback isn't a reflection on your worth as a person. Remind yourself of this to make feedback feel less personal."

(Video) Eight Rules for Giving Great Feedback

2) Review regularly.

If peer reviews are incorporated regularly over the course of a working relationship, they won’t be viewed as a sporadic and dreaded event only followed by an employee’s mistake. Instead, peer reviews will be part of an ongoing two-way discussion that allows for honest and open communication and faster problem-solving.

I have a weekly check-in where I receive feedback from my manager, and I receive peer feedback each time I submit a blog post to HubSpot Marketing Blog Editor Carly Stecfor her review. Communicating regularly about my progress and growth makes it feel less like a review that I dread and more like an ongoing conversationthat I look forward to as a way to improve my work.

Stec suggests, “make giving and receiving peer feedback a consistent habit, and it'll start to feel less intimidating."

3) Come prepared.

Fractl surveyed1,100 employees about how they felt about difficult conversations in the workplace, and they found that respondents were more likely to be somewhat or completely satisfied by feedback conversations with a direct report than with a superior. The promising result? Nearly 50% of respondents were somewhat or completely satisfied with difficult discussions with peers.

How do you ensure that feedback conversations between peers are productive and leave all parties satisfied? Come to feedback meetings prepared. A whopping 85% of the survey respondents said they prepared for difficult conversations in advance, and that’s smart advice for any feedback meeting, no matter how casual.

When preparing for a feedback meeting with a peer, have the following questions in mind to ensure that the time is well-spent:

  1. What are your goals? What are you both seeking to get out of this meeting?
  2. How can you both work together to achieve them? How can you help your peer grow and improve?

4) Learn the other person's style.

As you may already know from previous career experience, feedback can sometimes rub you the wrong way. It might be the content of the feedback, or you might be taking criticism personally, but it could also be because you and your colleague delivering feedback have different communication styles.

Stec suggests that peer reviewers “take time to learn how the person you're working with prefers to receive feedback -- and package your notes accordingly.”

Ye encourages expectation-settingprior to giving feedback so colleagues know what to expect from you early on. “I'm a very direct person and my feedback is the same way. I know that my feedback can come off as blunt or abrupt, so I set the expectation early on that that's my style, so people receiving feedback aren't taken aback."

The easiest way to learn your colleague’s style is to ask: Do they prefer in-person discussions, or emails? Do they want big-picture feedback, or do they want to dive into making changes? Consider asking colleagues about personality assessments, such as the DiSC test, that might provide you with greater insight into how you colleagues communicate and work best.

(Video) 8 Tips for Giving Better Corrective Feedback | Teaching Tips & Tricks | Mango Languages

5) Get to the point.

We’ve written before about the importance of not giving feedback in the form of a “sandwich,” wherein constructive feedback is preceded and followed by positive feedback to lessen the sting of criticism. It can often make your peers feel patronized and condescended to, so skip the sandwich.

Instead, try a feedback flatbread (bear with me here, I’m hungry). Instead of prefacing constructive criticism with praise, dive into the feedback head-on, and follow it up with discussing how their strengths can be used to solve the problem.

In another study, Zenger/Folkmansurveyed nearly 4,000 employees who’d received negative feedback asking them if they were surprised by the criticism they’d received, and 74% had already known and weren’t surprised by the feedback. So when you’re preparing to meet with a peer about ways they can improve their work, it’s safe to assume they know themselves fairly well. Address areas of growth and ways they can use their strengths to improve, rather than following a compliment-critique-compliment sandwich recipe.

Ye notes that the compliment sandwich can “obscure the true feedback and often lead to more rounds of back-and-forth,” but she echoes the need to interweave positive comments into peer feedback discussions. “It's discouraging to not receive any positive feedback, and it's a missed opportunity to call out and reinforce good habits."

6) Encourage a growth mindset.

Are you familiar with the fixed mindset and how it compares to the growth mindset? For a quick overview, these concepts were coined by psychologist Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:

In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues.”

When providing peer feedback, phrase your comments and challenge your colleague to think in terms of a growth mindset. Instead of focusing on individual tasks your coworker didn’t accomplish, give them feedback about how the skills they’re learning to tackle contribute to the bigger picture of their professional success.

Praising or criticizing peers by telling them what they are -- right or wrong, good or bad -- can inspire a fear of failureand making mistakes that stagnates learning. Corliss says it best: “Most folks see feedback as a time to sit down and tell people what they're doing wrong or what they need to do better. While that can be true, I think there's a better way to view feedback: offering people a reflection of themselves that they may not be able to see.”

Producing successful work is important, but as a peer, it’s important for you to provide feedback that gives your colleagues a fuller picture of their progress and growth that empowers them to experiment and learn new ways to define “successful.”

7) Use the passive voice.

I know, you probably read the title of this section and wondered, “wait, doesn’t this advice go against a cardinal rule of writing?” Before you write me off, hear me out: The passive voiceis integral to giving productive peer feedback that’s helpful without being personal. It allows your feedback to focus on the problem, not the individual who you’re critiquing.

(Video) How to Write Effective Peer Review Comments

Compare these two styles of feedback on the same hypothetical article:

  1. “You didn’t support the claims you made in the article.”
  2. “This article would be stronger with more research to back its claims.”

See the difference? While the two critiques are communicating the same thing -- the article needs more support for its claims -- the second is a more productive way to provide feedback to a peer. Focusing feedback around the subject instead of the individual makes it less likely that your peer will become defensive of themselves and will lead to an altogether more productive conversation.

Remember, 57% of Zenger/Folkman’s respondentssaid they preferred corrective feedback. Your peers and colleagues want to know how to improve, and if it’s your job to help them in that process, you owe it to yourself and your coworkers to have the most productive conversation possible.

8) Embrace technology.

It’s 2016, and it’s time for peer feedback to get with the program. As we mentioned earlier, it’s courteous to learn how your peers like to receive feedback to tailor an approach that works for their learning style, and that can include technology.

Experiment with different ways to deliver constructive criticism electronically, such as via email, Google Drivecomments, Slack, or Evernote. One benefit to communicating peer feedback electronically is that it can be documented and saved for future reference.

On the other side of the coin, there are many ways to electronically harness positive peer feedback as well. Here on the HubSpot Marketing team, we use TinyPulseto gauge employee engagement and happiness, but also to give “cheers” to our peers for great work that their supervisors might not have noticed. YouEarnedItlets employees provide similar real-time praise.

Your peers want to succeed in their roles, and feedback from managers and peers is integral to making that happen. The next time you sit down for a feedback conversation with a peer, ask yourself if you’re doing the best you can to make your criticism fair, actionable, and empowering.

What’s your favorite way to receive feedback from a peer? What’s your advice for giving constructive criticism to your coworkers? Share with us in the comments below.

Want to learn more about giving feedback? Check outHow to Give Negative Feedback Without Sounding Like a Jerk.

Originally published Oct 5, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated April 18 2018

(Video) Giving Feedback - 3 Funny Examples of Giving Employee Feedback

Topics:

Giving and Receiving Feedback

FAQs

How do I give good feedback to my peers? ›

How to Give Constructive Peer Feedback
  1. Prepare. Before you even say a word to your coworker, identify the goals of your conversation. ...
  2. Avoid the “Feedback Sandwich” ...
  3. Do It Early but Don't Catch Them Off Guard. ...
  4. Don't Attack or Insult. ...
  5. Be Clear. ...
  6. Be Specific. ...
  7. Don't Tell Them They're Wrong. ...
  8. Use Non-Judgmental Language.
10 Feb 2020

What are 2 important things about giving peer feedback? ›

General Tips
  • Focus on the specific behavior or action, not the individual. ...
  • Use positive feedback more than negative feedback. ...
  • Make feedback timely. ...
  • Think about how you want your peer to feel after the conversation. ...
  • Make feedback a two-way conversation. ...
  • Be clear and specific.
4 Feb 2020

What are the 4 Tips for giving feedback? ›

All four of these things—intention, permission, skill, and relationship—are important to remember when giving feedback.

What are 8 critical aspects of receiving and giving feedback? ›

Receiving feedback effectively
  • Listen to the feedback given. This means not interrupting. ...
  • Be aware of your responses. Your body language and tone of voice often speak louder than words. ...
  • Be open. ...
  • Understand the message. ...
  • Reflect and decide what to do. ...
  • Follow up.

What are the 6 components of constructive feedback? ›

Constructive Feedback: 6 Tips to Success
  • Be Specific. Identify the key areas and actions where the employee excelled or performed poorly. ...
  • Be Positive. Recognition is important! ...
  • Offer Autonomy. ...
  • Observation, not Inference. ...
  • Use Descriptive Language. ...
  • Avoid Feedback Overload.
15 Aug 2018

How do you give positive feedback? ›

Tips for giving positive feedback
  1. Make it specific. If your positive feedback is vague, they won't know which of their skills are good and which ones they need to improve. ...
  2. Give it in a timely manner. ...
  3. Let others see it. ...
  4. Praise everyone eventually. ...
  5. Explain their impact. ...
  6. Give the right amount of praise.

Why is peer feedback effective? ›

WHY PEER FEEDBACK? Encourages collaborative learning and can build and enhance students' capacity for judgement. Students are able to detect errors and provide suggestions for improvement when processes are scaffolded and structured questions or rubrics are used.

What do you say in a peer evaluation? ›

Summarize what you've noticed about your co-worker's performance. Mention areas of improvement you've noticed and highlight areas you hope you see their work on in the future. Don't beat around the bush with your answers during peer reviews. Ensure your answers are clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Why is peer review feedback important? ›

The importance of peer feedback

It helps students understand the relationship between their work and their course expectations. Students learn from what peers have to say from the feedback received on the assignment in the form of peer review.

What is effective feedback? ›

Effective feedback is a way of giving input that can be positive (such as a compliment), negative (such as a corrective measure) or neutral (such as a general observation), but it is always useful to the receiver. It provides recipients with insight or suggestions that contribute to desired outcomes.

What are the qualities of effective feedback? ›

“To be effective, feedback needs to be clear, purposeful, meaningful, and compatible with students' prior knowledge and to provide logical connections” (Hattie & Timperley, 2007, p. 104). Task specific – feedback requires learning context and therefore needs to be task specific.

What will make your peers feedback most valuable to you? ›

Good feedback should be constructive, specific, kind, justified and relevant. This affirms the worth of the person and gives support whilst offering a new constructive perspective. In so doing, the feedback shows value in the person who is receiving it and that the giver is sensitive to their needs and goals.

What are 5 qualities feedback should have? ›

Five Characteristics of Good Feedback
  • Good Feedback Is Timely.
  • Good Feedback Is Insightful.
  • Good Feedback Is Constructive (Not Critical)
  • Good Feedback Is Collaborative.
  • Good Feedback Is Actionable.
23 Mar 2022

What are six characteristics of effective feedback? ›

Table 1. Seven Characteristics of Effective Feedback
  • Constructive. "Try to offer solutions, not just identify problems. ...
  • Specific. Feedback should point to a specific problem and include a specific example of the solution being recommended. ...
  • Measurable. ...
  • Sensitive. ...
  • Balanced. ...
  • Applicable. ...
  • Not grade focused.

What are the three characteristics of feedback? ›

Timing, Location, and Meaning are the three characteristics of feedback.

How do you write a peer response? ›

The writer should not answer objections, explain, or ask questions, but simply listen attentively to the responder's reactions, comments, and concerns. The responder should be tactful but honest and specific. The responder can also offer praise, as well as criticism.

Which of these are examples of positive feedback? ›

The correct answer is OPTION A: Excellent, your work has improved. In a feedback loop, positive feedback occurs when the effects of action lead to more of the same action.

How do I give feedback to my team members? ›

7 ways to give valuable and constructive feedback to employees
  1. Be problem-focused and specific. An important part of telling an employee what they could do better is to tell them why. ...
  2. Talk about the situation, not the individual. ...
  3. Give praise where it's due. ...
  4. Be direct but informal. ...
  5. Be sincere. ...
  6. Listen. ...
  7. Make it timely.

How do you give positive feedback to concise? ›

How To Give Concise Positive Feedback
  1. If you see it, say it.
  2. Be specific, so the person knows what they should repeat.
  3. Keep your positive feedback positive.
  4. Make achievements visible.
  5. Frame accomplishments in the context of the bigger picture.
7 Oct 2015

What is an example of constructive feedback? ›

Example of constructive feedback: "Helen, I always appreciate how productive and reliable you are, but I have noticed a change in your performance lately. Turning in assignments late is unlike you. I wanted to check in with you to discuss any challenges you have been facing and understand how I can support you better."

What are three benefits of peer review? ›

Being part of a Peer-Review Group will not only help you keep your writing progress on track, but also allows you to workshop ideas, improve your written communication, and receive constructive feedback from an interdisciplinary audience, something which you possibly do not receive from your advisor or committee.

What are the challenges of giving peer feedback? ›

Fragile egos, miscommunication, and poor timing are just some of the challenges of giving feedback.
...
  • Making feedback too personal. ...
  • Making feedback too impersonal. ...
  • “Sandwich-ing” negative feedback. ...
  • Playing armchair psychologist. ...
  • Postponing feedback. ...
  • Setting vague expectations.

How does peer feedback help self development? ›

Peer assessment or peer review provides a structured learning process for students to critique and provide feedback to each other on their work. It helps students develop lifelong skills in assessing and providing feedback to others, and also equips them with skills to self-assess and improve their own work.

What should I say in my performance review? ›

What to say in a performance review
  • Talk about your achievements. ...
  • Discuss ways to improve. ...
  • Mention skills you've developed. ...
  • Ask about company development. ...
  • Provide feedback on tools and equipment. ...
  • Ask questions about future expectations. ...
  • Explain your experience in the workplace. ...
  • Find out how you can help.

How do you comment on overall performance? ›

You can create great synergy among everyone at the office.” “Your ability to promote the company culture is well-respected.” “You work extremely well with others, and people feel positive when they work with you.” “Your ability to make everyone around you feel comfortable is a great asset to the organization.”

How can feedback from peers improve performance at work? ›

Tips for receiving feedback

Accept praise; don't write it off. Focus on what is being said; don't feel that you have to agree or disagree. Ensure that you understand what is being said; show that you understand. Consider asking what they would like to see done differently.

What do you mean by peer feedback? ›

Peer feedback is when students provide one another with feedback on their work or performance. Engaging in peer feedback using the relevant assessment criteria provides students with opportunities to explore these criteria and standards in the context of a specific task.

What is peer feedback in the workplace? ›

Peer feedback for performance evaluation boosts the morale of the workforce as they are reassured that their performance will be evaluated based completely on their performance. This builds an opportunity for the employees to collaborate well with their coworkers and have great teamwork.

What are the characteristics of good constructive feedback? ›

  • Characteristics of Constructive Feedback.
  • • Goal-directed, providing assistance and increased understanding of what is expected or.
  • • Digestible, focussing on one selected area at a time or providing the student with choice.
  • • Respectful, demonstrating mindfulness of acceptable boundaries, respecting.

What are some examples of constructive feedback? ›

Example of constructive feedback: "Helen, I always appreciate how productive and reliable you are, but I have noticed a change in your performance lately. Turning in assignments late is unlike you. I wanted to check in with you to discuss any challenges you have been facing and understand how I can support you better."

What are the five basic guidelines for giving feedback? ›

5 Guidelines for Constructive Feedback
  • Detach the critique from the person. Your feedback should always be situational, not personal. ...
  • Be specific. Constructive feedback is specific. ...
  • Give recommendations. The purpose of feedback is for improvement. ...
  • Don't overload the person. ...
  • Follow the Feedback Sandwich Method.
22 Oct 2015

What should be considered when giving constructive feedback? ›

Here are five steps for giving constructive feedback:
  • State the purpose of your feedback. State what you will be talking about and why it is important.
  • Describe what you have observed and your reaction. ...
  • Give the individual an opportunity to respond. ...
  • Offer specific suggestions or solutions. ...
  • Summarize everything discussed.
25 Apr 2022

What is the most effective feedback? ›

Impact feedback is the most effective type of feedback to start with because it informs a person about the results of their behavior without dissecting the details, assuming motivation, or placing blame.

How do you give meaningful feedback? ›

Giving Constructive Feedback
  1. Establish Trust. ...
  2. Balance the Positive and the Negative. ...
  3. Observe, Don't Interpret. ...
  4. Be Specific. ...
  5. Talk Face-to-Face. ...
  6. Don't Make it Personal. ...
  7. Provide Feedback Consistently. ...
  8. Be Timely.

How do you give positive feedback? ›

Tips for giving positive feedback
  1. Make it specific. If your positive feedback is vague, they won't know which of their skills are good and which ones they need to improve. ...
  2. Give it in a timely manner. ...
  3. Let others see it. ...
  4. Praise everyone eventually. ...
  5. Explain their impact. ...
  6. Give the right amount of praise.

How do you write a peer review at work? ›

How to complete a peer review
  1. Reflect on their work. Before you begin your peer review, think about your colleague's efforts and successes. ...
  2. Be honest and respectful. ...
  3. Make it comprehensive. ...
  4. Write in clear sentences. ...
  5. Balance feedback and praise.
22 Jan 2021

What are the principles of good feedback? ›

7 Good Feedback Principles
  • Stage 1: Clarify what good performance is. ...
  • Stage 2: Facilitate self-assessment. ...
  • Stage 3: Deliver high-quality feedback information. ...
  • Stage 4: Encourage teacher and peer dialogue. ...
  • Stage 5: Encourage positive motivation and self-esteem. ...
  • Stage 6: Provide opportunities to close the gap.
13 May 2020

What are the three characteristics of feedback? ›

Timing, Location, and Meaning are the three characteristics of feedback.

What are the 3 types of feedback? ›

The three forms of feedback: appreciation, coaching and evaluation.

Videos

1. 10 Best Practice Tips for Responding to Peer-Review Comments
(Navigating Academia)
2. How to Build Employee Learning Habits
(The L&D Academy)
3. Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision
(Edutopia)
4. 8 Email Etiquette Tips - How to Write Better Emails at Work
(Harvard Business Review)
5. TED's secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson
(TED)
6. How To Ask For a Pay Raise At Work (+ Effective Tips & Examples)
(Jobs and Career Tips)

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