One of my favorite formats with which to provide feedback is Start, Stop, Change and Continue. It’s a common change management tool, but I like to repurpose it for employee feedback. In short, feedback is presented thus:
Yearly performance review time is a period of anxiety, overtime, half-assed reviews and information overload. But we all want to know how the boss feels, right? And while true feedback should be an ongoing process that’s baked in to every day work, leaders and peers rarely take the time to provide constructive help. That’s why a model as simple as this works so well.
This model can’t take the place of a 360 degree performance review, but because it’s so easy to use, it can happen more frequently. Like every quarter. Even if there’s only one bullet in each category, and as long as that comment is thoughtfully included (and not written in just to get something down on paper), this is an immensely effective way to provide feedback and open a dialog between employees and leaders.
In fact, I’m this close to recommending only one point per category, because it forces adherence to the rules. I’ve seen some where the Stop and the Start were reworded versions of the same thing. For example: “Start asking your team for help when you’re in unfamiliar territory,” and “Stop trying to do everything yourself without the help of your team.” That’s not the spirit of the tool. Here are some better examples:
Start job shadowing Chris to get a feel for how he handles client meetings.
Stop using email to update our senior leadership. Voicemail or face-to-face are more effective tools to gain their support, and we need better exposure.
Change the reports you run every week. We don’t need that much detail, and I think you’re spinning your wheels by trying to get everything perfect.
Continue helping our extended team understand the new tool we’re implementing. You’re the best at training them–they trust you.
So if, as a new employee, you find yourself not getting the feedback you want, feel free to suggest this method. Bring it to your next one-on-one, and ask if your leader has anything they want you to start, stop, change, or continue doing. Maybe it’ll catch on!