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Cultivating a Culture of Excellence with Feedback

Feedback must be a part of every organization's culture. Supervisors must be equipped with the skills to effectively provide feedback and supervisees must receive feedback appropriately. Unfortunately, feedback is not always provided when it should be. This post reviews what feedback is, who should receive feedback, and how to provide it effectively.



What is feedback? 


Feedback is information about performance (e.g., the integrity with which a program was implemented). It is one of the most frequently used and studied interventions in the OBM literature. Feedback can function as an antecedent or a consequence. Most often, both positive and corrective feedback is provided. When providing feedback, there are several characteristics to consider: 


  1. What content should be delivered? Should the feedback be provided about the individual's integrity in relation to their previous integrity scores? Should the feedback be in relation to some standard or group's integrity? Research suggests that most often feedback is provided in relation to that individual's previous integrity or in relation to some standard

  2. At what frequency should feedback be delivered? Should it be provided daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually? Research suggests that weekly feedback is provided most frequently. 

  3. Where should the feedback be provided? Should it be provided in public or private? Surprisingly, most often, feedback is delivered publically

  4. What is the medium in which the feedback is provided? Should it be provided verbally, written, or graphically? Most often feedback is provided in writing

  5. Who should be the feedback deliverer? Should it be a supervisor, expert, or peer? Research suggests that most often feedback is provided by a supervisor

These underlined research findings may not be the most effective characteristics of feedback; however, they are reported to occur most frequently in the literature. 


Who should receive feedback?


Everyone! Newly hired staff, stellar tenured employees, and everyone in between. Supervisors must ensure that all providers receive feedback regularly. It is their job to catch providers performing well and provide positive feedback, as well as provide corrective feedback to address integrity issues that occur. 


Providing feedback is tough: A personal experience


Providing feedback is not easy, or always preferred. I used to despise providing corrective feedback. And I wasn’t very good at providing positive feedback. Until one day I realized what the impact was for each time that I avoided providing corrective feedback when it was necessary. The procedure continued to be implemented incorrectly and my lack of action was impacting the client's progress. In that moment I realized I needed to figure out a way for me to be comfortable and confident in providing feedback.


To assist in being more comfortable and confident, I would write out the feedback (positive and corrective) I was going to deliver and practice it. I may have practiced with a mentor, colleague, or in front of a mirror. This practice was very helpful as I was able to revise what I would say to make sure that emotions were not impacting the information provided and that I was clear in my delivery. 


I’ve found that most people truly appreciate receiving feedback when it is delivered in a caring manner with the goal of repertoire enhancement. Creating an organizational culture where feedback is normalized and embedded into processes is so important. We all have the same common goal: to provide high-quality services to those we serve. Without providing feedback, it is hard to accomplish this goal. 


How to provide effective feedback


Shuler and Carroll (2019) outline the steps to providing effective feedback. I recommend reading their article to learn more about the steps outlined below. 


  1. Collect accurate integrity data

  2. Provide positive feedback for correct performance

  3. Describe incorrect performance

  4. Provide a rationale for changing incorrect performance

  5. Provide instruction for correct performance

  6. Provide demonstration of correct performance

  7. Provide an opportunity for the supervisee to practice

  8. Provide an opportunity for the supervisee to ask questions

Here is access to the feedback inforgraphic I created earlier this year:

It provides a framework for how to become a feedback warrior.


Reference:

Shuler, N., & Carroll, R. A. (2019). Training supervisors to provide performance feedback using video modeling with voiceover instructions. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 12(3), 576-591. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-00314-5

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