Hopefully, you have designed a good exercise containing well defined behaviours and desired results and collected a lot of data through measurement.
Feedback is much more than reporting of the data you have accumulated.
Reporting data alone will achieve nothing other than blank looks.
Feedback must allow an individual to adjust his or her performance.
If it can’t then it is not feedback.
Many performers are told by management that they are doing wrong without any feedback.
This can be very demoralising. For good motivation you must have good feedback.
It is not unusual to see ‘performance charts’ up on walls that provide information but zero feedback to the individual.
In this fashion it is of little individual use.
The use of feedback will promote a modification in behaviour and hence is an antecedent.
There is no guarantee that the individual will carry out a behaviour that you want as there will be a choice based upon their perception of the consequence they may receive (or already have experienced).
Good feedback will give a boost to performance but will only be maintained with good positive reinforcement.
If not, old habits and behaviours may resurface.
What form should the feedback take for improved motivation?
Verbal feedback would seem to be the avenue of choice because of the need for personal communication.
The trouble with this is it is often delayed till all of the data is in and thus may not seem to be current.
If you give someone their feedback even just one day after the task it may feel irrelevant to the individual.
Also, the exact meaning of what you are trying to convey may be lost and even forgotten within a short space of time.
This is not to say all forms of verbal feedback should be avoided, clearly not.
It is just that there may be complications in interpretation.
Feedback must be able to alter performance this would not be the case with simple verbal comments, like ‘well done’ or smiling. These would be positive reinforcements.
The best way of showing trends in performance and supplying immediate feedback is graphically.
They allow you to see historical data and trends to where you are heading. Rapid collation of data allows you to intervene quickly if there is a problem.
The more frequently you can provide feedback the more opportunity there is for positive reinforcement and hence the easier it will be to maintain higher performance levels.
It is a fairly easy process for individuals (or groups) to generate the required graphical data.
What would you do in terms of feedback graphs for a group?
For the individual the graphical record is required.
In addition, if you provide graphical feedback for the group performance you will gain positive reinforcement that will help to bond the group and hence, improve teamwork and overall motivation.
Individual feedback should remain private but group feedback can go public.
If an individual speaks about their own performance that is different to posting it publicly.
The larger audience for the group performance will foster good team performance.
Once you go higher and start to communicate graphs that are beyond the group activity the results may cease to matter in terms of a positive reinforcement. This is because the graph will not reflect any individual performance and almost certainly masks factors that groups and individuals will have no control over.
If there are peaks and troughs in the data this could be due to any number of factors.
For example, a lack of raw materials will reduce output but not necessarily reflect performance.
If you are working hard to reduce costs and you have raw material usage you might expect costs to halve.
This will not be the case if the cost of the raw material doubles.
When a graph is moving in the right direction this itself can be a positive reinforcer, particularly if there is confidence in performance improvement with the subsequent reinforcement.