Feedback Will Help Turn Employees Into Ambassadors for Your Company


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I recently posted an A as the final grade for one of my students. I’ve had other students earn top grades before, but this situation was a little different. First, let me say that the grade wasn’t the result of a bell curve grading system. In fact, I don’t use bell curves as I prefer to use grading rubrics. In general, a rubric is a way of explicitly stating the criteria for assignments. Rubrics not only lead to a grade, they are part of the grading process. They are more specific and detailed than a grade as they provide feedback showing the strengths and weaknesses in the students work. What I really like about rubrics is that they are criterion-centered, rather than norm-centered. They allow me to consider, “Did the student meet the criteria for the top level of the rubric?” rather than “How well did this student do compared to other students?” I find this is more compatible with cooperative and collaborative learning environments than competitive grading situations.
The student to which I referred earlier carefully leveraged the feedback I provided after each assignment and was able to continually improve their performance over time.

Timely, consistent, and specific feedback is the key to performance improvement. Do you provide timely, consistent, and specific feedback to your employee’s? A recent article in the WSJ stated that “nearly half of 20,000 employees surveyed at 100 large global companies … said they don’t receive enough feedback from their managers to help them improve their performance.” The article went on to state that “employees who lack guidance and opportunities to advance are more likely to quit and look for jobs elsewhere, even during shaky economic times …” It’s difficult to develop company ambassadors if your employee tenure mirrors the life span of a fruit fly. Now, you probably don’t have time for constant employee hand-holding, and that’s not what I’m suggesting. However; let me provide just a couple of ideas concerning the qualities of effective feedback.

• Be committed to providing feedback that is more than a ranking. Evaluative comments can range from noting mechanical errors to lengthy discussions and explanations of the performance review.
• Even when the feedback is not positive, it must always be constructive and respectful. As with all messages, it is the listener who dictates what is actually received.
• Prompt feedback can serve as a valuable motivator at all levels of performance. It also serves to help improve performance on subsequent assignments.

I’m sure many of you have additional ideas you would add to this list. Will a rubric guarantee an A performance? No, unfortunately within that same class I also posted a final grade of D- for another student. In my role as VP of Marketing I do leverage the rubric concept to build, coach and mentor my team. We experienced over 30% growth last year … so; I believe it’s a concept worth exploring.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


  1. Alan, since our names are almost the same, I couldn’t help but comment on your article. When I saw the term “feedback,” it brought back some memories for me . . . back to my days in retailing. I found myself managing three floors of related merchadise and the same departments in one, then later two branch stores In the main store, I could be visible to my staff just by walking around. So if there was feedback or inputs about problems,it was easy for my staff to bring them to my attention. But, when the branches opened up, I found that this was no longer possible.

    The solution, which came about because I needed these inputs, was to come up with a list of questions or topics I wanted my staff to give me feedback on. While it took some time for them to realize that becauss it was written, it would not be a negative in their file, it began to work. In reverse, they wanted to know what happened to their comments.

    When I went into consulting and giving workshops and seminars, I formalized these into “Business Calisthenics Exercises” which now are in the articles on my web site. With my clients, I suggested that these exercises become part of the management-employee dialog. Often I found they did not use all of the exeercises as outlined but tailored them to their business culture. The result was that there were less employee griping or taking internal problems outside to family and friends.

    So, yes, feedback is very important . . but it has to go in both directions if it is to be effective.

    Alan J. Zell, Ambassador of Selling, Attitudes for Selling
    [email protected]
    Winner of the Murray Award for Marketing Excellence
    Member, PNW Sales & Marketing Group
    Member, Institute of Management Consultants

  2. Alan

    What a great comment. And it applies much more broadly than just customer service. It applies each and everytime someone, an employee, a customer, or a partner, provides feedback. Having received feedback, there is a ‘social’ responsibility to act upon it and to show how it was acted upon. That is the premise upon which feedback is given. Nobody provides feedback if they thought it would just be ignored and tossed in the bin. But that is what management so often does. It solicits feedback. It looks at the results. And then it ignores those that don’t suit what it wanted to do anyway. How could recent customer service disasters at Dell, Sprint, Comcast, British Telecom, Ikea, JetBlue, DirecTV, (the list is almost endless), even Starbucks, have got so bad otherwise.

    We shouldn’t delude ourselves. Management generally doesn’t want to know what we think. Not as employees. Not as customers. And not as partners. But it plays the game anyway. It must. How can a company not have a customer satisfaction survey. But you shouldn’t expect anything to happen as a result of filling one in. So why not save yourself the bother of filling it in in the first place. Just toss it in the bin and cut out the muda in the middle.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

  3. Graham, Yes, it seems that management does not solicit feedback or if they do, it seems to get lost. Yesterday I had lunch with someone who ran the HR department for a Fortune 500 company and we got on the topic of feedback. Our talk started with performance review programs and related problems and it morphed into the arena of management’s attitude towards inputs from the rank’n’file.

    Now, where does this attitude stems from? Is it that in the business schools’ management programs, if it is brought up, it is touched upon and not emphasized? I can assure you that in the marketing and sales courses, feedback is thought of as what the sales figures represent.

    I should not be so negative about what academia teaches, but if the feedback aspect of managing were given more emphasis, maybe what we are discussing would not be such an on-going topic.

    Alan J. Zell, Ambassador of Selling, Attitudes for Selling
    [email protected]
    Winner of the Murray Award for Marketing Excellence
    Member, PNW Sales & Marketing Group
    Member, Institute of Management Consultants


  4. Hi All,

    Really thankful for this post and comment’s . it helped me while working on my research work. only thing i can add here is …we need to choose the sample size smartly which can really a additional to the feedback process. this can be done by using sample size dividing techniques … your experience can be a vital advantage to do so .

    Mukesh More


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