How to give great employee feedback

In the fast-paced nature of today’s workplace, yearly appraisals can only capture a limited snapshot of what employees do. Furthermore, appraisals can only record the perspectives of the team member and their appraiser, leaving a gap where their colleagues’ feedback could be. 

So, how do we capture feedback continuously and from all areas of an employee’s job? Read on to find out.


Sometimes it’s necessary to keep up to date with how team members are going, but appraisals are too time-intensive to be a good fit. This is where regular check-ins come in. 

A check-in is an opportunity for staff to receive feedback, ask questions, and work on their goals with their manager. It’s a conversation that’s less formal than an appraisal, but it’s still a serious conversation.

Running a check-in requires a little bit of preparation on the part of the manager and team members. Taking notes on any questions you have, areas for improvement and goals for personal development is important.

How you structure your check-ins is just as significant. Start out with some warm-up questions to help squash any nerves before drilling down into specific areas. Then, always make sure to wrap up by offering to answer any questions that weren’t addressed as part of the natural flow of the conversation.

If you take notes, share them with the team member to give them the opportunity to add or change anything you missed. 

360 Feedback

Appraisals probably only happen once or twice a year. When they do happen, it can be hard to remember all of the little things your team members have done throughout the year. As a result, appraisals can be incomplete, disruptive and lack concrete data. 

When feedback is given in the flow of work instead of only once or twice a year, it becomes easier to give accurate feedback. 360 feedback allows everyone who interacts with a team member to give their own input on how they’re travelling. 

Implementing 360 feedback means

  • Getting everyone involved
  • Focusing on the overarching themes of responses, as opposed to getting stuck in the details
  • Training staff on what giving good feedback looks like

Implementing 360 feedback is the first step in creating a workplace culture that values continuous development. Totara Perform allows you to assign and receive feedback seamlessly and in the flow of work. Plus, you can keep all of your feedback in one place.


When they occur in isolation, appraisals don’t live up to their full potential. When done poorly, appraisals can be nerve-wracking, inaccurate, and don’t take into account the dynamic nature of the workplace. Without any data to back you up, setting goals becomes more difficult than it needs to be.

But when they take place alongside regular check-ins and data from 360 feedback surveys, appraisals can be a valuable asset in the manager’s toolkit. 

With 360 feedback and regular check-ins used with appraisals, managers can

  • More accurately gauge a team member’s progress
  • Set flexible goals based on past performance data
  • Use 360 feedback to discuss a team member’s relationship with their peers

Once you’re ready to conduct the appraisal, it might be structured very similarly to a check-in, except more comprehensive. This time, instead of discussing the past month or quarter, you’ll be discussing performance from the past year or half-year.

360 feedback and check-ins can make appraisals seem less scary. With regular time to discuss their strengths and challenges with their managers, staff can improve at asking for what they need and taking on constructive feedback. 

That’s it!

Getting the most out of your appraisals is important. When you combine continuous 360 feedback given in the flow of work with regular check-ins from managers, appraisals become more data-driven, accurate, and less stressful. With Totara Perform, housing your check-in, feedback, and appraisal data has never been easier.

How do you give great feedback? Let us know on Linkedin or Twitter.