Chess board with the white king as feedforward and the difference with the black pawns that are the feedback

July 25, 2023

Feedforward: what is it and how is it different from feedback?

The key to staying updated and ensuring that our career does not stop evolving is continuous improvement. Fortunately, 360 feedback is increasingly present in organizations, but can we do more to continue growing?


What is feedforward?

Feedforward is a communication process that focuses on future-oriented solutions, focusing on opportunities and a person's future development, rather than focusing solely on previous work.

It is a new approach that, hand in hand with feedback, helps us draw up a plan so that people achieve the best of themselves through communication based not only on what each employee is, but on what they are.


What are the differences between feedback and feedforward?

Feedback is the information that we receive or contribute in the relationship with our managers, colleagues and staff in charge with the aim of providing data with which to learn, improve our work performance and even redefine the way in which we manage our organization. Feedback is based on past performance and already evaluated with the aim of improving or continuing to grow.

Feedforward, instead of focusing on events that have already occurred, focuses on the future, suggesting possible solutions for your new challenges or objectives, so evaluated people who receive feedforward feel empowered to start taking steps towards better performance in the future. This method values strengths and potential, and strengthens what each employee can improve.


Benefits of feedforward

Implementing a feedforward communication strategy, thus complementing feedback, has very important benefits:

1. Future orientation. Feedforward focuses on the future by taking advantage of performance feedback information. Thanks to this data, the person responsible and the person evaluated will be able to design a strategic action plan for the employee's professional career.

2. Provide a constructive outline. Good feedforward communication of the skills or behaviors required for the successful achievement of a goal. Focus on change and improvement.

3. Generate commitment. The creation of an action plan or an outline makes the process evaluation generate, in addition to feedback, a commitment on the part of the organization to continue working on the employee's career. In addition, it also generates commitment in the person being evaluated, since they have a plan to work on and feel valued by their manager.

4. Discover leaders within your team. Feedforward not only goes hand in hand with performance evaluation, it is also closely linked to potential. Thus, through these future-oriented conversations, we will be able to detect future leaders. We will also help today's leaders hone their most important skills, such as critical thinking or communication. Promoting through feedforwards that employees are continually analyzing and developing strategies for self-improvement will help them become very good future leaders.

5. It is specific and behavioral. It is not about giving general ideas, but about defining actions or tasks that must be clear and specific in order to direct efforts towards key points and, of course, to maintain motivation. You can ask the following questions to be more specific: Who is involved in this goal? What is the criteria for success? Within what period of time must it be fulfilled?

6. It's empowering. By providing a clear path forward, people in the team feel they are supported to further develop and even self-develop to reinforce their strengths and improve their areas of development.


How to apply feedforward

1. Evaluate performance. The evaluation of job performance is a key process. All companies in the world depend on their human team, so it is essential to align the individual development of each employee with the development objectives of the organization. The evaluation measures how each employee performs their professional skills, achieves their goals or how aligned they are with corporate values or the functions of the position they occupy, which is why it is the framework we need for feedback and feedforward.

2. Evaluate the potential. An employee with high potential has the ability, aspiration and commitment to exceed the requirements and expectations of their current competencies and objectives, or even to occupy leadership positions in the future. To know a person's potential, we must measure the competencies related to that new position or their new responsibilities, as well as the skills that may be related, such as interpersonal skills.

3. Create an action plan. An Action Plan is a guide to correctly plan the management of each person in an organization. It serves to define goals and deadlines, to achieve the objectives of a project and to optimize performance at an individual and organizational level. This is exactly what feedforward is all about. And at Hrider it is as simple as how we explain it in this post. In the Hrider Action Plan, each objective or improvement challenge can be divided into small actions to make these goals more manageable and easier to achieve, in addition to tracking each of these milestones and verifying progress.

4. Analyze the historical ones. Tracking the history of an employee's evaluation helps us draw conclusions about which actions carried out effectively achieved an improvement or, on the contrary, which ones we should rethink. That is, they are essential for future feedforward and feedback processes. If we do not have the evolution of a person throughout the different evaluations, we will not know if we are making the strategic decisions we should and it is possible that we will forget important information when making the next evaluation or action plan.


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